Day #11,038: I woke up an hour and a half before the alarm because I was THAT excited to see the Matterhorn. I could feel sunshiney weather a-comin’ and just KNEW we’d see the peak. I threw open the curtains.
Like an angry old lady, I shook my fists skyward.
Food has a 99% chance of cheering me up, so we headed downstairs for the king of all breakfast buffets (I- just me, myself, and I- had: scrambled eggs with tomato, two slices of homemade bread with fresh butter & cherry jam, a bowl of muesli cereal, a bit of caprese salad, the thickest, creamiest yogurt I’ve ever eaten topped with gooseberries, and a magnificent cup of fresh-made coffee. I’m what mothers call “a good eater.”).
On the way into town, we happened upon a whole herd of shaggy alpine goats, adorned in cowbells, and being herded by children wearing leiderhosen. I was ecstatic.
Unfortunately, morale took a bit of a hit when we learned that the gondola ride we had planned for that morning (up to the very touristy Matterhorn Glacier Palace, the highest gondola station in Europe and the site of an igloo and ice slide- a freakin’ Ice Slide, peeps!) was closed due to the storms. Mr. M and I decided to give the weather a little while to get its act together and opted for a walk through the town of Zermatt.
As much as I wanted to experience the Ice Slide, the Matterhorn Glacier Express never ended up working out for us. Neither did seeing the actual peak of the Matterhorn- we only saw the bottom half. Like a sullen teenager, the Matterhorn seriously pulled itself further back into the thick fog as we turned for one last glance back. It was the weather’s equivalent of an F you. But no matter… our trip to Zermatt was magical, and now we’ll just have to come back. Right, Mr. M? Come back and stay in one of those kick-ass suites at the Coeur des Alpes? I take your silence as a most exuberant ‘Yes.’
Our host Thomas, who incidentally looked as though he’d be equally suited to appearing as the requisite dashing older gentleman in a Ralph Lauren ad, took us back down to the train station, and we were off to the Bernese Oberland, the central Alpine district of Switzerland.
We stopped along the way for one of the most famous rail trips and subsequent mountain views in the area: Schynige Platte (or S.P., as I have dubbed it… primarily because I have no idea how to pronounce it…).
There’s a panoramic hike you can take around the top of SP and we were all set with our hiking boots & canteens. Despite the dense and seemingly permanent fog obscuring the tops of the Swiss Alps, Mr. M & I knew we would regret it if we didn’t at least go up and have a look around. And up (and up and up) we went! Fifty minutes later, we arrived to….
Have a look around, indeed, because the immediate “around” was just about as far as we could see.
It was really quite funny just how big of an Epic Fail the S.P. trip was.
We knew we were surrounded by some of the most gorgeous landscape in the world… and couldn’t see beyond a few feet! There was nothing to do but laugh, hike in the rain, enjoy the still-beautiful meadow area that we could see, and seek solace in the S.P. restaurant over a scrumptious piece of apfelstrudel. C’est la vie.
Of all the places on our Switzerland trip, the Bernese Oberland was the area that I was most looking forward to seeing. Pictures of the mountain landscape looked impossibly stunning. We wound our way through damp, misty mountain cliffs to the Lauterbrunnen valley, then seemingly straight up the valley wall to the charming town of Wengen and the Hotel Baren.
I seriously do not understand the mechanics of constructing a railway that steep. Despite being perched right on the edge of this picturesque valley, we couldn’t even see beyond the edge of the hotel patio.
With the rain & general nastiness, and having used up our sense of humor in S.P., Mr. M & I decided to settle in with a warm cup of cocoa and to keep our fingers crossed for the next day.
Ahh, weather, you fickle creature.
To explore my next day’s adventures shocking a Japanese tour group and following in James Bond’s footsteps, click here!
Details of the Day:
Accommodation: For two nights we stayed in the Hotel Baren, which offered half board (breakfast buffet and huuuge, multi-course dinner), which was a great deal- much cheaper than purchasing dinner on your own. Bonus: they’re extremely vegetarian-friendly and made me up real entrees each night- not just the standard steamed mixed veggies. The hostess, like most people we met in Switzerland, was so gracious and obviously wanted us to have the most comfortable stay possible. Ask for a room facing the valley for fantastic views.
Tips & Tricks: There really are luggage storage lockers in all but the tiniest stations. We were nervous about finding a place to leave our bags in Wilderswil to take the S.P. train, but it was not a concern. Of course, no one else was silly enough to make the trip up, which is probably why the lockers were so available. :}