We got up early on Saturday morning and drove approximately four hours from Zurich to get to Zermatt – destination The Matterhorn. The route we took included a 15 minute journey through the mountains. This requires you to drive your car onto the train. As we drove off the train we were offered a fruit bun, by a local woman, dressed as a king in celebration of Three Kings Day (6 January). Traditionally, whoever finds the plastic king cooked into the bun, is declared king for the day, complete with paper crown.
Zermatt is a car-free town, so we had to park the car at Tasch (about 7km away) and catch a shuttle train up the mountain. We arrived at the town centre to a bustling hive of electric taxis and horse drawn carriages.
Our hotel, though simple, had one of the best views of the Matternhorn from our balcony. It was such a lovely sunny afternoon, that we decided to go to the supermarket and get some antipasto, wine, bread and cheese and take it back to our balcony for a late lunch while the sun was still shining (sunset starts at about 4pm, dark by 5pm in winter). A magnificent way to spend an afternoon – beautiful view and weather. I was later told by a Swiss friend that it is rare to see the peak of the Matterhorn due to clouds – he was very impressed with photos.
After a quick afternoon nap, we headed out for a walk down the main street to find dinner, Italian this time. We then found a cute little bar with live music, but expensive drinks (in lieu of cover charge I suppose).
Sunday morning we awoke to more great weather (in contrast to Zurich) and headed up to Klein (little) Matterhorn by gondola (only experienced climbers can make the Matterhorn itself). I can’t describe the feeling of being at an elevation of 3820m – you really are at the top of the world. At the top you can also go into underground tunnels, built under the glacier – truly amazing. We spent most of the morning up the mountain, returning to Zermatt long enough to pick up our bags and grab a quick lunch, before getting back to Tasch and hitting the road. We took a different route home (about the same time though) and were home by 6pm.