What is your picture of Switzerland? Our picture is one of rolling green meadows, first class infrastructure and pristine. Now we can’t claim to have seen that much of Switzerland. We did see green meadows and beautiful mountains. We did however also see a lot of average roads and poor neighbourhoods. Not surprising given just how expensive we found Switzerland. A flat white coffee was going to set us back about 10 aussie dollars and a pizza about 50 aussie dollars. All we can say is good thing our accommodation included breakfast and unlimited coffee. It was also a good thing we only stayed 2 nights.
The main purpose of our visit was to see the Matterhorn. We stayed in a town a little way out of Zermatt which is where the Matterhorn is. After breakfast we took the train to Zermatt. It was a 30 minute train trip – this being Switzerland – the train trip was 180 aussie dollars return for the 2 of us – Ouch. The weather was cloudy and it rained when we arrived in Zermatt.
Given we only had one day and had come all this way, we arranged a cable car ride up to Trockener Steg at 2,910 meters. From there we planned to follow the Matterhorn Glacier hiking trail all the way back into Zermatt which is at about 1,600m.
The forecast was for more rain at lunch time. When we left to go up at least the rain had stopped. Still cloudy, so we only had partial views of the Matterhorn. All in all it was a very scenic walk. The first part is what is left after the glacier has been retreating. Further down we entered alpine forest. In the end it was only a 13km hike which we could do in 3 hours. We were fortunate that the weather held allowing us to get back without much rain. Time for a late lunch and with the price of food we bought some bread and cheese at a supermarket.
We ended up with dinner at our hotel. A good end to the day.
Leaving Switzerland we had decided we would go and spend some time at Lake Maggiore in Italy. It is Italy’s second biggest lake. On issue we had was that our mobile data plan covered the EU, but Switzerland is not part of the EU. We did not want to pay for roaming data so we did have to navigate without our normal google maps access. Complicating matters further was the need to avoid the toll roads (major highways). Switzerland has an interesting system where you buy an annual pass to access the toll roads. You don’t pay toll as such. Even to use a toll road for one day, you need an annual pass. For our short visit this seemed like an unnecessary expense. Better to just use the secondary roads.