Apr. 7th, 2010

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When we'd travelled on the Bernina Express on Monday, I really didn't think that anything could possibly top the views that we'd seen that day.  Today, I realised that I'd been wrong.  It was an awesome, awesome day.

We started with breakfast and then we gathered outside the hotel to walk to the nearby train station, where we caught the train to Zermatt.  From Zermatt, we picked up another train, called the Gornergratbahn, which took us up to a height of over 4,000m (just over 13,000 feet).  We'd been told that if the weather was clear, we'd be lucky and would have a view of the Matterhorn, and I'd had visions of it being off in the distance and us needing binoculars to have a proper look at it.  But actually, it was almost right in front of us!  And it's beautiful.  Seriously, just so beautiful.  It's no exaggeration to say it's one of the most perfect things I've ever seen, and when I caught my first glimpse of it, I actually had a lump in my throat. 

When we'd been outside the hotel I'd been feeling the cold a bit and I was worried that my cropped jeans would leave me feeling freezing up at the top, but it was ludicrously warm - so much so that when we had a coffee, we drank it sitting out on the terrace, overlooking the mountain and the glacier.  It was crazy to think that we were that high up in the mountains, surrounded by ice and snow, and yet it was warm enough to sit out!  We had an hour up at the top and initially I'd thought that would be too long, but I could have stayed up there a lot longer - I just loved it!

We met an actual St Bernard when we were up there, as well.  We were allowed to take photos of her for free but if we'd wanted our photos taken with her, it would have cost us.  Good job I hate having my photo taken, hehe!  We also saw something which surprised me by being very cute - a bunch of tiny kids kitted up in their ski gear, singing a song and doing their warm up exercises before setting off to ski down the mountain.  They start them young over there!  Flo was telling us that from the age of 6 it's compulsory for kids to learn to ski when they're at school - they all go off on a trip once a year for lessons.  I was really envious of the people who were skiing, but not so much that it's made me want to learn myself.  I just know that I'd be the person who falls and breaks their leg on the first day!  It does look incredibly exhilerating, though!

After an hour of being at the top of the Gornergrat thing it was sadly time to head back down and we then had some free time in Zermatt, which we used to have a delicious omelette in a restaurant on the high street.  Zermatt is a very stereotypical ski resort - all wooden chalets and the like.  It's lovely, though.  I can see why it's so popular - it's a beautiful place, and I'd definitely go back if I had the chance.

We left Zermatt after lunch on the train, heading back down to Täsch, where we picked up our coach and drove back down into the Rhone Valley towards Lake Geneva.  We had a brief stop at a service station which was like the one we'd visited in Heidiland, and then it was on towards Lausanne and to tonight's hotel. 

The hotel is just outside Lausanne itself, but Flo told us that it was easy enough to get in by train if we wanted.  We were both pretty tired though, so we decided instead to eat at the hotel's restaurant.  Some of the others had had the same idea - the South Africans were there (we never did learn their names and they only spoke a few times), as were Joe, Virginia, Dick and Sue, and we sat with Dick and Sue to have dinner.  I had a chicken and shrimp risotto and it was blooming gorgeous!  We then had a drink in the bar after dinner, but only one because the drinks were stupidly expensive.  And then it was time for bed!

It will not surprise you to learn that there are photos. Lots of photos... )

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