The first time I came to Zermatt was when I was about 16 with my parents and two brothers. In those days taking the 45 minute ride up the Gornergrat rack railway was just far too expensive. So the only time I had been up before was about 7 years ago, and that was in the summer.
Everywhere you go the Matterhorn dominates the skyline. You can never forget it is there. As the train pulled out of the station there it was, towering over the village.
The track is narrow gauge and rack assisted. Gradients are often pretty steep. In the photo below the incline is real!
The track winds through the trees, through tunnels, and then out on to the snow fields. In the photo below, the black line from right to left is avalanche sheds and shows the route of the railway. The icy bits between the markers are pistes, forking near the centre of the pic.
This is, of course, a skiers paradise. There are runs everywhere, and cable cars and chair lifts everywhere. And over it all, the Matterhorn is always there.
The Gornergrat itself is a peak of a ridge. The station is about 50 feet below the top, with the hotel etc on the very top.
Views are magnificent: you can see 29 peaks over 3,000 m (about 12,500 feet) from the top, and look down on the Gornergrat glacier:
The train had been full going up, but was almost empty going down. At one point I took some pix looking across Zermatt and the Vispa valley and when I got back to the hotel I realised I had the whole of the avalanche track in one photo. I have added arrows to show the top and bottom. What the photo doesn’t show is that the lowest debris was only about 100 m from houses:
After all that fresh air I needed a hot chocolate!! I snapped Fuchs from the train:
So I had to go in. The lunch rush was over, and I was able to sit outside in the sun and watch the trains and the mountains. Oh, and have a raspberry tart with my hot chocolate….