Alpine Sojourn-2

Continued from here.

August 13th, 2009

Glacier ViewToday, 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.Tablelands

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.

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AtopClimbing 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.

More later.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. You should check out the besthike blog. Their contributing writer did a similar trip a while ago and posted about it. Perhaps it could be of use.

    1. Madhuri says:

      Hey – thanks for suggesting the blog. Found some good pieces there. Although I am back from Switzerland for now, I think I can use suggestions on some other hikes.

  2. harinair says:

    Wasnt it somewhere here that Sherlock Holmes fought with the Professor Moriarty and fell off a cliff to his death (and eventual reincarnation)?

    1. Madhuri says:

      Hi Hari,
      Sherlock Holmes died in a place called Meiringen – a small place near Interlaken and is closer to the Swiss center. The region I mention here is near the Southern west part of the country – near the Matterhorn glacier.
      I crossed Meiringen on train while on my way to Engleberg from Interlaken, but couldn’t stop there due to time constraints.

  3. harinair says:

    Hey Madhuri, thanks for that info. Am in Zurich in Nov and now I guess Meiringen needs to be on the itinerary.

    1. Madhuri says:

      Hari you are welcome. A friend stopped by in Meiringen sometime back and quite liked the place. Hope you do too.
      BTW – you may want to try Riffelberg as well. Mark Twain wrote a short piece called ‘Climbing the Riffelberg’ in A Tramp Abroad. I have yet to read the piece, but it is a lovely walk from Riffelalp to Riffelberg and then to Riffelsee. The view from Riffelberg is especially enchanting.

  4. travelgal says:

    If you could only take one of these train rides which would you suggest: the Glacier Express or the train from Zermatt to Gornergrat .

    1. Madhuri says:

      The ride to gornergrat is relatively short, and slow. It’s worth it to go there for the views. Glacier express has couple of very scenic stretches, but other than that, u can skip

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