Have you ever skied off a trail because the view was so stunning? In my case, I’m thankful there are no trees at 10,000 feet in Switzerland because I likely would have run into one while staring at the Matterhorn. Despite the number of times I’d been to Switzerland, I’d somehow never visited Zermatt. My cousin from Thun and I took the train after work on a Friday, switching three times until we arrived at the dead end of a valley: Zermatt.
Zermatt is unique in that it doesn’t allow any cars, instead small electric taxi-buses silently roam the narrow streets and horse drawn carriages parade by wary pedestrians. Although we arrived late at night, the town was still bustling with people and the bars were open and lively. How different from most Swiss towns. As we walked through town, I could see cliffs on either side of the town, but the tops faded into the black of the night and there was no sign of the Matterhorn. That changed in the morning when I looked out from the breakfast table to a clear view of Matterhorn as it turned from grey to pink in the rising sun.
In full transparency, I spent as much time skiing as I did photography the Matterhorn at different angles. Everywhere you went on the slopes there was a clear view of the mountain—sticking up like thumb among the others. The day was clear and sunny, so we had unimpeded views of the mountains for the full day of skiing. Lunch was Milano pizza at the top of the Rothorn and après ski was a glass of white wine before the final ski run down into town.
After the day in Zermatt, I enjoyed a raclette dinner in Thun with my cousins and fell asleep dreaming of Toblerone. The next day was an adventure into Bern, a town that despite the rain can be enjoyed thanks to the medieval overhangs lining the streets. We hiked over 200+ steps to the top of the tallest church spire in Switzerland in the Bern Cathedral (Bern Minster), the winding stairs and peepholes were enough to make even a person not afraid of heights second guess their decision. The view from the top was worth it though, and the journey back down included secret rooms and views of the centuries old church bells. After some hot chocolate and a mandelgipfel (almond croissant), I was back on the short train ride home to Basel.