Glacier Express, Zermatt

The Glacier Express is a slow-poke train masquerading as an express. The journey from St. Moritz to Zermatt takes 4 hrs by car while almost 8 hrs on the “express” but, of course, the ride is for the scenery, not for the speed.
A view from the train is somehow better than a view from a car. Whether it’s the train’s elevation or the large windows, but Swiss countryside was even more akin to a postcard today. Nature must have played a role in shaping people’ psychic. This country’s nature is a study in perfection, and its citizens strive to also achieve it. There seems to be a symbiotic relationship between the villages and their surroundings. Nothing created by men goes against the grain, every structure fits into the landscape and complements it.
The journey started with “oohs” and “aahs”, but hours on a train dampen your enthusiasm and the beautiful scenery became redundant. Only when we were approaching Zermatt, our interest perked up again as the landscape changed from bucolic to dramatic, with rocky mountains and deep gorges replacing peaceful rolling hills.
Zermatt is located in a nook nestled amidst steep mountains. The tallest mountain is the Matterhorn, and it looms over a a mountain range not overshadowed by the big one.
While St. Moritz is a glitzy resort where the rich go not only to ski but to see and be seen, Zermatt is a true Alpine village. This town is also not for the impoverished, but the emphasis is on winter sports, not designer fashions. There is one street here, with the rest of the houses sitting on the steep slopes cupping the main street. No cars are allowed. Only little electric hotel shuttles zoom back and forth overtaking an occasional hoarse-drawn carriage. We were supposed to be picked up in one such carriage, but we arrived late and the horses went to sleep. So we had to be picked up by an electric car, like everyone else (boohoo).
We we compensated, however, on our arrival in the hotel. Since we arrived late, most of the rooms had been given away to a Japanese delegation, so we had to settle for, what we think, is a suite. Not only is it the largest room on the floor, it has four big windows and two balconies. All of the above have views of the Matterhorn.
I am now sitting on one of these balconies and typing away. The sun has set but the dusk is long and dreamy in this part of the world, so there is enough daylight at this hour to see what I am typing. But it is time to finish up for today. Gotta rest before hiking tomorrow.


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