Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Zermatt, Switzerland: June 28 (Day Two)

We spent the second day of our trip exploring Zermatt after a wonderful breakfast at our hotel.

Our destination was the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise for great views of the area and, of course, the Matterhorn.

We left the hotel and started on our walk to our first lift.
Once there, we found the ticket counter and purchased our very expensive tickets. Some advice: if you have a half fare card, don't leave it in your hotel room. It's useless there.

Anyway, we got on our first of three lifts. The first ride was fairly short and took us to the Furi stop on the mountain. From there, we transferred got on a cable car to the Trockener Steg stop. And finally, we took another cable car to the highest point you can get to by lift in Europe, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

Here's a diagram of our trip by lift and cable cars on a picture from our hotel room. The red dots show the location of the stops (click on the picture for a larger version).
Once we got to the top we were faced with another tunnel.
The tunnel took us to two different areas. First, the viewpoint, accessed by an elevator in the tunnel. There were some posters hanging in the waiting area for the elevator. I was struck by this little bit on one.
Wonder what that fee came too?

The elevator we took exited at the base of just a few stairs.
The view at the top was spectacular. The sky was clear and I absolutely loved the transition of the color from the horizon upwards. I took a lot of pictures. Here are just a few, the rest are on Flickr.
This cross was located at the viewpoint platform. One of many scattered among this area.
People were everywhere enjoying the sights, weather, and activities around us. Some were summer skiing but most were hiking. Brian wanted to join some people on a hike up this peak. Apparently he overheard it's a 2 hour hike, and the top is over 4000 meters high. Brian was optimistic that his high tops would hold up in 6 to 8 inches of snow.
After the viewpoint we headed to the Glacier Grotto to see some ice sculptures.

The lights inside the tunnel were covered in a blue plastic and, as a result, the ice was glowing a brilliant blue color.
We continued down the tunnel to see some sculptures and learn about glacier fleas. Brian was intrigued by the fleas. They prefer temperatures between -5 and 5 degrees Celsius and can survive being frozen but die at temperatures higher than 5 degrees Celsius.
This was all that was accessible due to construction in the Grotto. But I ask you, what is more interesting than ice sculptures? Why, construction in a Glacial Grotto of course!!!
They were removing ice. And Brian and I were fascinated.
After standing and taking pictures for probably longer than a normal person would, we headed out of the tunnel. On our way out, we noticed something carved into the side of the tunnel.
How fitting for our anniversary trip.

After making our way out of the Grotto, we headed back to the cable car stop and waited for our ride. I snapped a picture of it heading up to the stop. Can you find the cable car?
Once we headed down the mountain and arrived at the Furi stop, we decided to walk back to Zermatt, stopping at the town of Zum See for lunch.
Love the slate roofs here. Definitely not the kind you would see back in our neighborhood in Baltimore.
We found Restaurant Zum See and had some lunch. Great food, I'm getting hungry just thinking of my beef carpaccio salad. Yum.

When we were finished we headed back to Zermatt and our hotel. We spent the afternoon walking around Zermatt (eating a crepe and watching a sheep herd) and relaxing out our hotel (awesome pool).

Then it was dinner time. Brian was in the mood for Italian so we asked our hotel for a recommendation and were on our way.

We found the recommended restaurant, right next to a Tex-Mex restaurant. Well, since Brian and I had not seen a Mexican restaurant in Zurich, we figured we'd try it out. Besides, the Japanese restaurant the night before had been fantastic. And we figured we are so close to Italy we can find good Italian anywhere.

Hahahaha. So naive.

Let me start by saying we enjoyed our meal. It was very tasty. Brian had two Coronas- the only two he has seen in Europe since we've been here. But it was nothing like what we are used to.

We ordered chips with salsa and guacamole. The chips that came with it were very similar to Doritos.

I ordered a margarita. Something very clear, strong, and in a martini glass came out. Brian named it the "margatini". I still enjoyed it.

Then our meals came. My fajitas were fantastic. Brian's Tex-Mex burger came out on tortilla shells.

But we enjoyed our meal and had a good time. We just will wait until we return to the US for an authentic Mexican meal.

After dinner, we relaxed at the hotel again with a bottle of wine. A relaxing day enjoying our surroundings after a great day of sightseeing.


vudean said...

Are you using Firefox 3.0? Your photos look awesome on Flickr, and I was just looking at them with PicLens (a plugin for Firefox) (http://www.piclens.com/)... they look super cool through that :)
...just thought I'd share.

Anonymous said...

There is a Mex restaurant in Zurich on the Niederdorfstrasse, I forget the name, I think Desperados or something. There is also a chain called Tres Amigos in a few cities. But you might be better off making your own or waiting to go back to the US!

mrsmac said...

dean- not sure. firefox is a web browser, right? if yes, then no
:-) thanks though, i'll have to check that out!

anon- thanks for the tip! i'll look out for them!