After about 5-minutes in the Italian Alps, I knew that I had to make it to the Swiss Alps, Torino was so close. I had originally wanted to go to both Zermatt and Chamonix, but a bit of research made it very clear that would be a big endeavor for a weekend trip. Zermatt was a bit easier and faster to get to, and to be honest, I was leaning towards the Swiss Alps vs. the French Alps all along.
I had a 6:00am train out of Torino on Saturday morning and despite three trains and two transfers, I was in Zermatt before 11:00am. Zermatt is car free and the train station is right in the middle of town. You step out and you’re in a picturesque Swiss mountain village.
This is literally the train station!
As I was walking to my hotel, I crossed the bridge, looked to my right and BAM, there’s the Matterhorn towering impressively over the town. Even partially cloud covered, it was an incredible sight; it’s just so big and it’s the only snow-capped mountain peak you see between a couple of green hills.
My hotel was perfect. Right in the middle of town and a wonderful little balcony.
I dropped off my stuff, grabbed a quick lunch and headed out on a hike recommended by the hotel owner. Downtown Zermatt feels a bit like other mountain towns (except obviously authentic) but as soon as you get off the main street, it’s pure Swiss.
All hiking paths are clearly marked with difficulty level, direction and time to destination.
So even though I was hiking by myself, I really didn’t have any concerns about getting lost. Additionally, I passed a ton of people, all of whom would say “hi”. Within the first 30 minutes, I had heard English, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, French, Swedish and a few others I couldn’t distinguish.
The views were just incredible. I’ll let the photos explain:
The best part about hiking in Switzerland is you happen upon random 400-year-old towns, most of which are still occupied by restaurants or cafés.
When I got the Zmutt, I stopped for a café latte, enjoying the brisk weather and the fact that I wasn’t sweating…for the first time in two months.
I had brought a bottle of Nebbiolo wine that I picked up at Mustela Winery when we visited and I enjoyed a few glasses on my balcony, watching the sunset.
I glanced down at one point and saw a huge crowd on the bridge. I hurried down and saw that the clouds had dissipated from the top Matterhorn and we had a more clear view of the mountain in all of its glory.
I took a few selfies then asked a woman if she would mind snapping a quick picture of me. Her husband did it instead and took a few very unflattering pictures. He was from Zermatt although he and his wife now live in Bern. He really wanted to share some pictures of the Matterhorn with me (obviously proud of his hometown) so here are some professional pictures he AirDropped over:
What first day in Switzerland is complete without fondue? I enjoyed a traditional cheese fondue with potatoes and bread.
When the waiter came over to ask if I was done, he grabbed my pot and said, “You’re leaving the best part! Let me show you how Swiss do this.” He proceeded to scrape up all the burned cheese so I could enjoy the last few bites. Thank goodness he showed me the ways!