Day 1: Gornergrat - Zermatt

of colours and sounds

Woke up at 8, had breakfast, paid a visit to the tourism office, and took the cable train to Gornergrat. It’s probably the most touristy place in the valley of Valais, and a great spot to admire the Matterhorn from. Most of the people get into the train to Gornergrat, take a couple of pictures, and go back down to Zermatt in the next train.

The view truly is breathtaking and not only because there is not much oxygen at that altitude. Everything is just so big…! Gornergrat is right in the middle of impressive mountains, and you can spend long hours admiring the shape, size, and riskiness of the surrounding stone giants, daydreaming of how climbing them must feel like, not achievable for everybody.

Top: Gornergrat | Bottom: Höhtalli and Rifelsee

There is this very light slope from the train station to the main building, and it takes so long to most of the people, tongues out and panting heavily. Gornergrat is at an altitude of 3,135 m so the lack of oxygen will make you slower until you get used to it.

That main building hosts a very nice looking hotel, some stores (they were really nice to us), and it also is an astronomic observatory. But if luxury hotels or shopping are not for you, there are more options: we started going to Hohtälli, but it was taking us so long that we decided to turn back. Easy but boring.


Our second plan? Go back to Zermatt on foot. Unlike the path to Hohtälli, this one is busier, although most of the people won’t keep going to Zermatt but stop at the Riffelsee lake and take the train at the closest stop. Riffelsee reflects in its waters the Matterhorn and it’s a must-see for any photographer in any season of the year, although you’ll have to think long and hard to take an original picture.

The first half of the path hasn’t been that nice, as everything was stones and not much more. The second half has been more enjoyable: the trees have allowed us to shelter from the sun.

It has been a leg shattering 3,5 hours long hike, 1,200 meters of elevation gain, and much hotter than what we were expecting. Our winter clothes have remained in our backpacks all day. Even short sleeves would’ve been too much.

I was wearing new hiking boots and my fears came true. My ankles ended up swollen and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do much tomorrow. Also, the previous week I was bitten 30 times by the so called Asian tiger mosquitoes which didn’t help at all.

After a cold shower we have gone out for dinner at Alex, ice cream by the church, and off to sleep.

Picturing the landscape

Matterhorn through the window

Four colours on the palette would be enough to picture the Swiss Alps: the bright white of the snow, the grey of the mountains that are not fully covered in snow, the green of the valley below, and the deep blue of the sky.

The soundtrack includes the mumble of the people in a myriad languages, the wind, and the airplanes and helicopters that spoil both the sight and hearing.


  • 15 days and counting
  • Bilbao to Geneva
  • Day 1: Gornergrat-Zermatt
  • Day 2: Schwarzsee
  • Day 3: Klein Matterhorn
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