Thursday, July 31, 2008

From Summer to Winter in 24 hrs!

Sooooo-de-li (That’s Swiss-German for: Soooooo).

After a hearty breakfast of fresh bread, cold-cuts, cheese, jam, butter, yoghurt and fruit (insert a couple of eggs for Orange-X here) early the next day, we made our way to the cable car station that would take us up to the Klein Matterhorn Station at 3’820 meters above sea level(12’533 feet) where we bought our tickets.

Unfortunately, the weather was doing pretty much what it wanted (not what we wanted). At Zermatt’s 1’862 meters, the sun was shining and the temperature was about at 24-26°C (high 70’s°F). However, the skies up in the heights were covering up fast. They said: “-1°C (30.2°F) at the top." … Brrrr! Since Chris had not brought any closed shoes - and in this case, even a pair of sneakers would have not been safe - we had made sure that both had adequate footwear before we left Basel.
Half way up we were told that we had to wait because the winds were too strong. We had already had rain and wet snow, and it was getting worse. So, we went for a hot chocolate and waited. After 20 minutes, the skies cleared up again (how fast it can change) and we could continue our ascent. It was breathtaking to see all the crevasses, the steep, rocky and sometimes icy slopes. You really have to know what you’re doing if you climb up here by foot, even in summer.

However, once we reached our destination, the Klein Matterhorn station, we realised two things: a) the panorama platform was closed for repair and b) we had a freeking snowstorm up there! It was like a Canadian blizzard. Look!

And we wanted to show them the Matterhorn?? HA! FOR.GET.IT! The best the weather would allow us to take was this. We saw only the lower part of the great mountain!

Anyhow, we walked to a provisional kind of “restaurant”. While we were warming up and recuperating from the thin air enjoying a coffee, we noticed that Chris was not doing well… at all. During her first visit back in 2003, the heights had been no problem for her, but in the meantime, she had her thyroid gland taken out because it was hyperactive. And then, Chris’ heart started pounding like crazy (low oxygen, probably) and she panicked – which did not help. So, we had to get her down again and fast! However, the winds had stirred up a storm in the meantime and we had to wait. Luckily, after about only 15 minutes, we could start our descent and at mid-way, she felt better again and the weather had changed to friendlier skies. Look at those views! Isn’t it beautiful up there?

By the time we were back in the village again, Chris was fine and we were back to a sunny, warm 26°C (78°F), so we took a few pictures in Zermatt and had a late lunch. We then made our way to the hotel to pick up our things, took a taxi back down, paid our parking fee in Täsch: a whole CHF 7.00 for 24 hours! Not much by Swiss standards, and drove back to Basel.

Once at home, we threw in a few washes in and were ready for the next adventure: the following day, we were off to Amsterdam.

So, folks. That’s where I leave you until the next entry. We're going on holidays to Egypt this Thursday for 2 weeks (Yippee!!!!!)and I doubt that I'll find much time to catch up, so have an excellent time!


Expat Traveler said...

Ok - that little swiss house at the end of the post is so adorable!!! And yes The matterhorn is always so hard to capture.. But it looks like a great time!!! :)

Have a safe and relaxing trip and most of all, don't get too much sun.. laughs...

CanadianSwiss said...

ET: LOL! That might be difficult considering that Egypt has maybe 2 days of rain during the whole year!

Xmichra said...

wow CS... that is quite an excursion! I think you are all nuts going into winter when it is summer... but that is the true Canadian in me shouting YOUR NUTS. lol...

I have always wanted to go to Egypt! I am very jealous :) take lots of pics and have a great time!

Jay said...

So idyllic!

CanadianSwiss said...

Xmichra: LOL! That was the Canadian talking in me, too! But I have to admit that once the skies cleared up, it was well worth the short stormy gushes we had.

And many pictures of Egypt is a promise :)

Jay: It's like going back in time when you see the small mountain villages. Even though Zermatt is very touristic, it did keep its charm, but you'll really notice that only once you speak to the real Zermatters.

Shammickite said...

Those mountains are beautiful! And how nice of the weather man to provide a real snowstorm just to make your guests feel at home.
Have a great time in Egypt. I was there for 2 weeks back in '93... ages ago. We did a Nile cruise, and Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Pyramides... all kinds of temples etc. We had a very knowledgeable guide (named Mohammed, what else??), but I found that it was best to read every book that I could find about Egyptian history and then all the places that Mohammed took us to made so much more sense.

Ginnie said...

You could write a book, CS! And with your photos, it would be a wonderful read. I love it...all of it.

Now I'm wondering exactly what day you get back from Egypt? The stories and pictures will be...a dream come true, I know!

Maya said...

I'm a Swiss expat living in coastal Rhode Island. Even though I love it here (and everything coastal) I still have a thing for Switzerland and seeing pictures of Zermatt where I used to go ski as going hiking in the summer, just makes me want to give that country a big hug and cozy up a bit. Yes, Zermatt is touristy (but tourists without cars!) it is a very special place, and the Matterhorn, what can you say, magical.

CanadianSwiss said...

Ginnie: Oh, and there is much more to come, not to mention out trip to Egypt (from which we have just returned) :)

Maya: Thanks for the visit :)Zermatt IS very magical indeed.

Expat Traveler said...

Welcome home - I figured out you were back by the TBF comment on facebook..