Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Day in Zermatt

Out luck turned against us today, at least weather-wise. The sky is cloudy and gray. The rain is very light, just spitting, as we say, but it is enough to cloud the extrodinary views that we know are around us. It is very rare that Trace and I have bad weather, but today was one of those days.

We did our best to make the best of it. We started with a nice breakfast at the Hotel Romantica. I don’t think our reservations on Expedia.com mentioned a free breakfast, but it is available.

Next stop was to do some shopping that Tracey had promised a coworker. Our object was a Coo Coo Clock. At the second shop we stopped in, she found the clock that she wanted to buy, and I decided to have a little fun. To hear Trace tell it, she was looking at the clock when she heard laughter from the girls that worked at the store. She turns around to see me taking pictures of the Matterhorn, or more precisely, taking pictures of the pictures of the Matterhorn. I had decided that I had come to Zermatt to take pictures of the Matterhorn and I was just following through on my intentions.

After the shopping, we headed out hiking. We hiked to such places a Z’mutt, Furi, Moos (we were thinking of you, Rich), Winkelmatten, and Schuluhmatte. What we could see of the scenery was very nice, but the clouds stayed low all day and the grand scenery that we had seen the day before stayed hidden.

Zermatt is an interesting place. Some of the buildings look extremely old. Those look like ole houses or ski chalets. They are build on stilts with a cap on the stilts that is designed to keep the varmints out. All of them in Zermatt are surrounded my very nice and very new building. There are hotels on every block. Every block also contains restaurants, ‘gift’ shops, watch shops, and one or more outdoor gear store. It is touristy beyond belief. Anything you want with the image of the Matterhorn on it is available in Zermatt. Were it not for the scenery that we had expected, we would probably not have come here. But everyone is so nice and the town comfortable once you get used to it, I hope to come back one day.
Switzerland, one the other hand, gives me an unusually good feeling. In just one day I have felt that this place is a great mix of the old and the new. Everyone we have met has been as kind and helpful and friendly as I have ever seen. The scenery across the entire country is spectacular. It is a place that is old enough and confident enough to not worry what the rest of the world thinks. It does what it does very well, whether that is watch-making, banking, herding sheep, or running a hotel. On that note, I would highly recommend that readers come to Zermatt and work with Michelle at the hotel Romantica for your reservations.
I think we made the best of a bad day, filling in the rest with a nap, beer, burgers and pizza. Tomorrow, we head out early for Venice. Just looking through the book on Italy, Venice looks like it has a ton of things to go see, architecturally and artistically. The weather can slow us down, but can’t steal it completely.

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