Next destination for our Columbus Day weekend trip was the Matterhorn. The town that people use to see the Matterhorn in Switzerland is Zermatt. Zermatt is a car free town. To visit you need to park in another town and either take a taxi in or the train. The closest town to Zermatt that you can actually drive to is Täsch.
We decided to stay in a hotel in Täsch and take the train into Zermatt for a day. The hotel we stayed at is called Aparthotel Monte Rosa. Our room had two rooms and a balcony. The decor is a little dated, but it is very comfortable and clean. The staff is really friendly and helpful. Breakfast was included in the rate and was very good. We had dinner in the restaurant Friday night and the food was good, but it was expensive. The hotel also has an underground parking garage that is free of charge. It was very convenient to stay in Täsch. Our hotel was just a short walk to the train station. There is a shuttle train that runs between Täsch and Zermatt, with trains leaving every 20 minutes. It was nice not to have to deal with luggage on the train and through Zermatt.
We had a bit of a surprise when we woke up Saturday morning… SNOW! It was the first snow of the season in town and took us a little by surprise. When we first got up we were very worried because it was still snowing and the clouds were really dense and low. We were starting to wonder if we were going to be able to see the Matterhorn at all. Before we finished our breakfast though it was clearing off and turning into an amazing day.
Saturday morning we took the shuttle train into Zermatt. Saturday saw the first snow in the town of Zermatt as well. It was funny to see the snow on all the flower planters in town with all the flowers still in bloom and so pretty. We first took a walk through the town and made a small stop to get Sam some boots since for some reason the only shoes he decided to bring were Converse which aren’t the best snow footwear.
I had looked up a few options for getting a closer look at the mountain. Decided to ask a local which one would be best, so while we were buying Sam his boots I asked the young man at the store what he thought. He suggested the Gornergrat bahn. We really should have stopped back in the store to thank him because it was an amazing experience.
After the Gornergrat bahn we decided to walk through town a bit more and then visit the Matterhorn museum. The museum has some really interesting displays and some fun interactive displays for kids.
Before we left Zermatt we had one final task to accomplish – fondue! I was determined to have fondue for dinner at least one night. We found amazing fondue at Cafe du Pont.
A note on getting to and from the area. I wish I had done a little more research on the mountain passes, but it never dawned on me that some of them would be closed already in early October. The fastest way to get to the area from Bern is to go through the Lötschberg tunnel which involves a rail car transport and a long tunnel. I had hoped to avoid the tunnel. On the way down we went a slightly longer route down to Lake Geneva and then up the river valley. The drive was beautiful. On the way back since we were going to Konstanz I wanted to take a different route, but unfortunately the Furka pass was already closed except for a car transport tunnel. We ended up taking the Lötschberg tunnel. It was much easier than I thought. I was concerned about fumes in the tunnel, but since you are on a rail transport there are no engines running, so it was fine. The transport costs 27 CHF each way. It takes about 20 mins of which you are in a tunnel for about 15 minutes. It is totally dark in the tunnel, and you just remain in your car the whole time. The website says the trains leave every 30 min with added trains as needed. We were lucky and arrived with only 3 minutes until the next departure.