Zermatt and the Matterhorn
Zermatt is an amazingly beautiful ski town. We got in around lunchtime and checked into our hotel. It was a great hotel room, much nicer than we have been staying in lately and the Girls got accidentally upgraded to a bigger room. Awesome. We sun baked on the balcony in the brilliant sunshine with the below amazing view!
We aren’t staying directly in Zermatt we are staying in a town outside it called Randa. So we headed into Zermatt on train which took about 15 mins. It was freezing in town so we had a quick coffee and then a wander.
Everything is crazy expensive here food wise so we went to the supermarket and bought cheap food for dinner. Got all good and comfy in our hoodies and were all chilling out on Heidi and Carmen’s bed watching a dvd eating our 2 min noodles when the crazy psycho hotel owner burst into the room going off about how we hadn’t come down to eat at his restaurant and we weren’t to be ‘picnicking’ in our room. It was so bizarre, he fully yelled at us and told us his room prices were really cheap so he expected us to eat at his restaurant so he could still make money off us! We had paid $55 each for a room and the average cost of a main was $60! He then told us because we were eating in our room he would have to charge us to take out the rubbish from the noodle packets around $25-$50!! Needless to say we all had a massive argument and then we were very afraid for Heidi’s credit card.
The next day Jono had a J-day and us girls went off up the mountain. The Matterhorn is amazing!! We got a ski pass for the day and wearing most of our clothes (except Heidi who thought she’d be right in 2 singlet tops and a very light jumper) headed up the 2 hours of cable cars to the mighty Matterhorn! We went right up to the viewing area over in Italy!
The viewing area is 3883m above sea and you could see 38 peaks over 4000m or something crazy! This last cable car had been closed most of the morning because of strong winds and low low temps but we managed to get up in the window it was open. It then shut again and we had to be evacuated. It was -28 degrees which is, in case you cant even imagine how that feels, is bloody crazy freezing! We lost a lot of feeling and had to be herded into a small staff room where there was a heater. One lady got really badly altitude affected and had to have oxygen etc. Some nice Canadian people saved Carmen’s feet by giving her some feet warmer things as they were dying. Heidi and Carmen got altitude effected but I was happy to note I didn’t as base camp is still a lot higher! People kept looking at us like we were crazy, everyone on the mountain was wearing snow gear and one lady said to Carmen she looked like she was ready to go out in town!
They finally got every person up there ready and we were able to head down again in an unheated cable car. Heidi’s face went purple and she started laughing hysterically. The lady in the wheelchair with O2 was hauled in and on the way down everyones breathing made sheets of ice form on the windows. What the hell. By the time we got down I could no longer feel my feet below my ankles and my hands were a weird red/purple colour. We did a celebration dance.
Caught a cable car back down to Zermatt with a lovely old English couple from the midlands who were in Zermatt for their goddaughters wedding. They showed us photos and a video of the beautiful bride skiing down to her wedding with boutique in one hand and wedding dress train in the other! What a cool wedding!!
Grabbed a quick bite at Zermatt and raced up the Gornergrat Railway which takes you up the other side of Zermatt to a lookout area at 3088m with great views of the Swiss side of the Matterhorn, which all Swiss people swear, is 100% better than the Italian side and they are correct! They call the Matterhorn ‘The Queen of the Alps’ and “38 of the 76 European four-thousand metre peaks rise to the heavens in this unique Alpine landscape”. Wow! There is over 300 days of sunshine every year.
Heidi and I hired sleds from this Italian railway guy who was pretty funny, he took a picture for us and then we asked how long it takes to get to the bottom, he shrugged and said “5mins for some 1hour for others…I gave you the fastest sleds though so 5 mins for you” and then he pushed me down the hill without warning and off I flew!
It was a groomed ski run and was so steep. Few important things to note for next time, probably won’t do sledding in -17 degrees wearing jeans and inadequate boots for stopping. I had to at slow down so I dug my heels in sprayed myself with ice and crashed into the snow wall on one edge. Heidi practically cried with laughter behind me and I pulled a sheet of ice off my face. At one stage there was a super steep drop that ended at the train line where there was a train crossing and a sign that said STOP…oh yeah thanks buddy would you imagine I’ve been trying to slow down ever since I began all I could think of was I was going to hit the train and everyone was watching me so I practically lay down and just managed to stop before the line.
Heidi tried to take a photo of me but her hand was so cold the iPhone wasn’t recognizing it as human and when we got to the bottom and she literally ran off. Heidi? Inside with her frozen claw on a heater where it no doubt sizzled. I couldn’t see properly because of the amount of ice on my face, after trying to wipe it off for a while I realized my eyelashes had frozen together!! We ditched the sled and got back on the train where Heidi pointed out my face looked like it was raw and I had ice in my hair and just about everywhere else.
Were a bit freaked about going back to the hotel with old crazy mate so we sneaked in and tiptoed up to our rooms and avoided confrontation. I was so wind burnt and sun burnt but what a day!! Heidi, Jono and I caught the train back into town to see Zermatt at night, such a cool place would love to come back here again when I become a millionaire later in life (ha!). Had a nice glass of wine and wandered around a bit (or jogged as it was so cold) and then caught the last train back to Randa for the night…at 1013! Randa you are not a party town.
Carmen was still alive when we returned which was a relief and we all went to bed hoping that when we checked out in the morning we wouldn’t be charged for all sorts of made up things and have to sell our last kidney. Turns out telling the friendly tourist lady at Zermatt about the psycho helped because the tourist office called him and told him his behavior wasn’t on and we got away scott free in the morning! Strees and anxiety gone…next stop Lausanne.