Monday, June 30, 2008

Zermatt, Switzerland: June 27 (Day One)

What a wonderful trip. Brian and I had a fantastic weekend. Everyone should go see the Matterhorn!

The trip started out on a stressed, late foot. Our babysitter, aka my sister Colleen, was flying in from London. Unfortunately her flight was delayed a half hour. Then her train from the airport was delayed another five minutes. I thought the Swiss were always on time? Unfortunately this pushed my departure time back and Brian and I missed the train we were going to take.

No worries though, there was another one an hour later. And I was able to show Colleen where everything was and still make the connection to the main Zurich train station.

Once there, Brian and I had to meet up. I made it to the platform before the train arrived and started dialing Brian's cell phone. No answer. The train pulled up, people rushed to get on. I tried him again. No answer. I dialed a third time, wondering if I should just get on and find him somewhere on the train.

This time he answered. He had seats in the first car of the train. A mere 100 yards away from where I was.


So I ran down the platform, barely making it onto the car before the train departed. We were on the train, finally. But of course this was the popular commuter train leaving Zurich at 5 pm traveling to Bern. It was packed.

An hour later we arrived at Bern and the majority of the people on the train made their way to the exits. Brian and I stretched out and started to relax.

Then a conductor came to the front of our train car and starting speaking in German. Luckily, a woman I met a couple of weeks ago introduced me to the phrase "En-shul-de-gen". No idea how to spell it, but I know how to say it and it means "I'm sorry, my fault".

The conductor started his speech with this phrase and then everyone exited the train car. Didn't take much to realize that they were leaving this part of the train behind and we had to move to a different section of the train.

Remember how I mentioned we were in the first car of the train? Yep, we had to high tail it down to the other end of the train (the end I was originally near in Zurich- don't worry, I pointed this out to Brian) and find new seats. It was a workout to say the least. But we made it and the train departed for our next transfer station, Visp.

Bern looked fantastic as we left on the second leg of our trip. We will definitely have to go back. This part of our trip took another hour or so. Once in Visp, we transferred to the final leg of our journey, an hour trip on the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn. The scenery on the Glacier Express was fantastic and serene. We were struck by how clean the air seemed to smell.
We noticed a lot of high school aged kids on the train, going home after school we assumed. The train stopped at some very small towns on the way to Zermatt. We wondered where these kids were coming from, how long their commute took, and what life must be like in these small towns in the Valais.

The train we were on was older and it seemed like it wouldn't be able to climb some of the inclines we came upon. But, of course, it did and we arrived in Zermatt (a little late).

The electric car from our hotel, The Omnia, was waiting for us in front of the train station. Electric cars are fairly new to Zermatt, it used to be a pedestrian only town.
The ceiling of the electric car had paneling with an interesting pattern to it. This paneling was also in the lobby of our hotel.
The trip to our hotel was short. The hotel is situated on a steep hill just above the center of town. But we didn't have to climb it. The entrance to the hotel is through a tunnel.
Once inside, you take an elevator to the lobby. Very cool.

The front desk offered us a drink, gave us a tour of the hotel, and then showed us to our room.

The hotel itself is intriguing. Colleen and Zach, interior design student sister and architect friend, came to mind. They would love this place. It is supposed to be a Swiss take on a classic American lodge. Very clean lines, minimalist furnishings.

That's about all you'll get as far as commentary from me. I'm an engineer, remember?

Well, one more thing. I noticed exposed ductwork in the main elevator shaft (elevators were glass). The ductwork's insulation was also visible. The architects I've worked with in the past would never let that fly!

I think I mentioned this one too many times because at some point during the weekend Brian started poking fun at me for noticing this.

Anyway, we had arrived around 8:30 pm and we were starving. So we headed out to town to find something to eat.

Unfortunately, we were both so hungry we couldn't figure out what we wanted. Then we saw it. A Japanese restaurant.

Since we have not seen sushi since arriving in Zurich, we both jumped on this chance.

The dinner was awesome. The fish was fresh, the service was great, and the atmosphere was relaxing. It totally hit the spot.

Afterwards we headed back to the hotel, rested and full, ready to explore Zermatt on Saturday.


Grammie said...

So happy you had a great time. Still can't believe you found Sushi in one of the highest elevations on the world.
Amazing :)

Anonymous said...

The hotel sounds amazing.
I want to check it out now!
Glad you guys had a great time.

And, I will babysit whenever you need me. Give me a call, I'm there.
Or, come to London!

Love you guys :)

Libby said...

Sounds wonderful! Glad you guys had a great time!!!

Lisa said...

This really made me want to be there! Beautiful! I'm glad you're having so much fun!

mrsmac said...

thanks everyone, we did have a great time!