Continued from here.
August 13th, 2009
Today, waking up with recuperated muscles, we decided to extend the hiking experience. So today, to try some variation, we climbed to Gonnergrat in a train, which is at a height of 3094 mts and offers beautiful views of the glacier and the 25 peaks surrounding it. However, like most excursion points, it is quite crowded. A better view can be enjoyed by walking down a bit towards Rotenboden, where there are a few small cliffs that cn be climbed to enjoy the view in piece.
From Gornergrat, we climbed down towards Rotenboden, all the way down to Riffelsee, another beautiful lake in which Matterhorn reflections can be seen on quiet days. We then walked from Riffelsee to Riffelberg – a small village set in the meadows. The walk goes through the Riffelsee nature reserve, rich in diverse flora. Surprising, considering the height and the cold weather. The walk took us through a beautiful tableland, surrounded by peaks on all sides.
From Riffelberg, we climbed down to Riffelalp. However, we bypassed the Riffelalps and moved on towards Grunsee. My original idea was to go to Grunsee and then go to Sunegga via Leisee and take the train back to Zermatt. But on the pretty pathway to Grunsee, we took a couple of detours and by the time we reached the lake, we were quite tired. The lake was beautifully set. I have come to love these Alpen lakes, their blue shining between the browns and greens and whites.
So, in stead of going back to Sunnegga, we traced our way back to Riffelalp, intending to take the tram there (Europe’s highest tram apparently). However, on the way we got distracted again by a pretty pathway pointing to Zermatt. In a weak moment, the decision was made and our muscles paid for the weakness, with a rather sharp and rough downward climb to Zermatt. The route went through pine forests, often flirting with the river alongside. It was a nice walk, but by the time we reached our room in Zermatt, my body completely refused to move. I dragged myself to the sauna again, in an effort to appease the taut muscles. But three hours later, I am still unable to move my feet and am writing this ensconced in bed.
Tomorrow is another day, and I have promised my legs to only walk them uptp the Matterhorn glacier station and back. Tomorrow we leave this lovely town of Zermatt and move to Montreux.
Climbing up the Matterhorn Glacier Express was nice, though being a popular excursion, it was thronged with people. Even in August, there was abundance of snow, enough for people to ski. You could march over to the Italian side from there, and this transparency of borders in Europe amazes me.
We stayed up there for a few hours and then came down – all the way on the express, to keep my promise to my feet. We came back and boarded a train to get to Montreux, and by 5 in the evening, were in our hotel in Montreux.