Thursday, January 19, 2017

Europe Adventure: Day Twenty, part Two- Zermatt, Switzerlan

We checked into our lovely chalet style hotel, The Hotel Antika
 This place was great. The people were friendly, the place was pretty and clean, they had a free breakfast, and we got a room with a view of the Matterhorn for just over $100. 
Such a pretty setting. 
Also, the outlets were different from my adapters. I had some for England and some that were generic European that worked in France and Germany. Neither fit here. I went to the front desk to ask if they had any for purchase but they gave me some to borrow for free. 

Our room:

Our little patio with our amazing view. 

View of the river...

Our view of the Matterhorn didn't pan out too well as it was shrouded in clouds. 
Every once in a while we would get a little peek of it but for the most part we couldn't see the peak. 
Still gorgeous though. 

After settling in we went out to walk around town. 

Just up the road from our hotel there was a church with a graveyard. 
It is called the Mountaineer's cemetery. 
It is filled with the graves of those who have died in the mountains around this area, most from the 19th century.
One of the gravestones is for two climbers that died of natural causes, not on the mountain. It is that of a father and son, both named Peter Taugwalder. They were the guides for the first person to climb the Matterhorn, Edward Whymper. They were the only three that survived that first climb. They made the ascent on July 14, 1865 but on the way back down the other four members fell.  All are buried here except one that they couldn't find. 
On some of the headstones it tells you how they died whether it was falling, an avalanche, etc. 
One headstone says, "I chose to climb." The climber's red axe is on his stone. 
There is also a memorial to accident victims in recent years. 
It was really interesting to walk around looking at the different headstones and memorials.

The church that watches over the Mountaineer's Cemetery

We did a little shopping as well. 
While we were in this little shop I started feeling like the ground was moving when I was standing still. My mom mentioned feeling the same way. We realized over the next few hours that we were experiencing something normal to people after long train rides where it makes you feel a bit dizzy and like you are still moving for hours afterward. It didn't really go away until I went to sleep that night. 

We stopped in at a cool two story McDonalds to get ice cream. 

We then walked back to our hotel to warm up a bit and make a plan for dinner. 

We really wanted to have fondue for dinner as that is kind of an iconic dish for this area. 
We looked up reviews for a few places and then set out to find them. 
We walked through Old Village.
This old part of Zermatt is known as the "Hinterdorf" which means rear village. 
The old houses, stables, and barns were built between the 16th and 18th century. 
The buildings are made of larch. The roofs are big slabs of rock which were supposed to make the structure more sturdy. The wood in particular was supposed to be resistant to pests and would turn black through the years which made it better at storing heat. 
Many of them were built on stilts to keep out pests, especially mice. Also, the animals would often live on the ground floor or under to provide heat for the above floor.

The places we went to eat were not open so we walked back up by our hotel and found a little spot in a building up the road. It was an interesting place with a very laid back vibe. They seemed surprised to see us and we were the only women there besides the workers. We wondered if maybe it was mostly locals.
They had fondue so we were happy to try it out. 

I told my mom that in her striped shirt and cap she looked like the hamburgler and she did this... so funny.

There were a few kinds of fondue. It was crazy expensive. I think about $25 a person if I am remembering right. 
There was the basic cheese fondue and then one that was more expensive that said "with herbs". I assumed that meant herbs in the cheese but it actually meant vegetables. So ours did not come with veggies like I thought it would. 
It was only the cheese fondue, chunks of bread, and little baked potatoes. 

It was really good at first, especially on a cold evening... but after a little while it got old. 
It was a fun experience but I would recommend if you are trying to keep cost down to just go ahead and eat at the McDonalds and then use your cash for some of the other things like the yummy Swiss chocolate shop. However if you want the fondue experience and don't mind spending the money, it was fun. 

After dinner we went back to our room, relaxed for awhile, and went to bed. 
I bought three souvenirs in Zermatt....
I got these St. Bernard beanie boo stuffed animals for the girls and a Zermatt keychain to use as a Christmas ornament. 

It was a very long, exhausting day but ending in such a beautiful place was a wonderful way to get over the stress of the trains. 
We wished that we could have gone up the mountain on the little train or tram but we knew we didn't want to spend the money (it is expensive) when the Matterhorn was hiding in the clouds anyway. 

1 comment:

The Kings said...

Thank you for the pictures and the write-up! So fun to see a place such fond memories and beauty!!