Zermatt Part One

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And here they are, the first photos from Zermatt! The town itself is tiny, clinging to the high mountains that suround it from all sides. Zermatt lies at 1.620 m (5.310 ft) and all around it you can see the highest peaks in Switzerland: Monte Rosa, Switzerland's highest peak at 4.634m (15.203 ft); Dom (4.545 m, 14.911 ft), Lyskamm (4.527 m, 14.852 ft), Weisshorn (4.505 m, 14.780 ft) and the Matterhorn (4.478 m, 14.692 ft). Breathtaking. 

Above you can see the Matter Vispa river, the tourist apartment houses and the imposing silhouette of Matterhorn in the background.


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Matterhorn dominates the town in more ways than just its' physical presence. The small mountain village was "discovered" by mid-nineteenth-century British mountaineer Edward Whymper, whose conquest of the Matterhorn in 1865 made the village famous.


Zermatt is a tiny town with about 5.000 inhabitants, and several times more tourists, whose economy is mainly based on tourism. Most of the apartments are vacation apartments, and its' three streets (!) are lined with tourist shops and restaurants.


The town is famed as a mountaineering and ski resort of the Swiss Alps. Zermatt is the starting point for hikes into the mountains, including the Haute Route that leads to Chamonix in France. Cable cars and chair lifts carry skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer. As the town is surounded by high mountains, it's possible to sky even in the summer, which makes it a very populat destination for the sky fantasts.


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Clocks are to be seen everywhere, of course. Swiss clocks.


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Combustion-engine cars are forbidden in the city to prevent air pollution, which could obscure the town's view of the Matterhorn. Almost all vehicles in Zermatt are battery driven and almost completely silent. Since there are hardly any pavements, they creep on you silently so you need to be carefully when walking in the town. You simply can't hear them until they are very close, so caution is needed before crossing the street or changing direction.


Almost all hotels have their own electric shuttles to carry visitors from or to the main train station. Most visitors reach Zermatt by cog railway train from the nearby town of Täsch.


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Hotel Romantica


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The few streets of the town are picturesque, with cascades of flowers on the balconies and on the lamp posts.


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Souvenirs - Zermatt cow bells in a tourist shop on the main street.


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A food store on the main street.


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This is our apartment hotel, Suitenhotel Zurbriggen. The hotel is owned by Pirmin Zurbriggen, the former alpine ski racer and one of the "All Times Great" of the alpine skiing. We were very happy with the hotel and the service, and can recommend it if you're planning to staying in Zermatt. Bonus: only a few meters to the cable car station.


We had a two rooms apartment, with a combined living room and kitchen (fully equipped), bedroom and bathroom, and two balconies. It's much more practical to live in such an apartment rather than in a traditional hotel. If you want to go hiking or skying early in the morning, you can have breakfast in the room, then when you're back in the afternoon/evening, you can prepare dinner - you don't have to go out to eat. After spending the day hiking in those high mountains, going out to a restaurant is the last thing you want to do. What you do want to do is to take a long, hot bath, then have something to eat in the room and go to bed early so that you can get up early the next morning for more hiking.


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Our room with a breathtaking view of the Matterhorn, and the Matter Vispa river. 


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The apartment had two balconies, both with Matterhorn view (if you are in a hotel in Zermatt, you want to be able to see Matterhorn!). Perfect to relax in the evening in one of the chaiselongues, listening to the cicadas and looking at the stars - there are no many lights out there, and you can only see the stars and the ethereal silhouhette of the snow topped Matterhorn.


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Breakfast is served in the room.


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Flowers on the balcony - of course.


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Zermatt viewed from one of the Matterhorn Express cable cars.



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