Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th July
After a bit of discussion last night decided that Geneva doesn’t really float our boat so on the move again by late morning.
Have decided to stay on the French side of Lac Lemon (Geneva) and get back into France through until Saint Gingolph where we cross back into Switzerland. Yet again another straight through border crossing, we had been expecting to have been stopped because of GB plates on Miss Stella but another country entered without a passport stamp.
This was a lovely drive up beside the lake and all very busy towns and villages, especially the town of Evian.
Once back in Switzerland we continued on to Montreux with expectataions of seeing Chateau de Chillon, a castle that sits out in Lake Geneva, however parking a 7m camper in a town built on the side of a mountain and the mile long queue of tourists lining up outside plus the 30chf ( swiss frank) entry per person saw us eating our lunch lakeside in Villeneuve and deciding a new route.
We are off to see the Matterhorn, with the village of Tasch being our overnight objective. Having purchased a Swiss Vignette, ( a toll sticker that allows us on all motorways, class 1 and class 2 roads) we will utilise the motorways here a bit. Still only cruise along at about 90 – 95km/hr but nobody is concerned.
The mountains are getting higher each side of us, the villages are getting higher up each side and the vineyards are getting steeper and steeper, a lot of vegetable and fruit grown in this valley heading to Matingy.
At Martingy we turn left and follow the A9 motorway until it runs out into simply the 9. Still the mountains are getting bigger and the realisation that we are turning up one of these side valley’s is quietening the conversation a little. Anyway before we know it the town of Visp is in front of us and we turn towards Zermatt, the gateway to the Matterhorn.
As per Swiss standard the first 4km are a tunnel as part of the new motorway extension that is going on. After that though we are on our first mountain road, now the research I have done on these roads and motorhomes is that just about all the roads we will encounter including the passes are on the bus routes (40 -50 seater) so as long as we drive carefully should be fine.
This road through to Tasch is about 21km long with lots of little villages on the way and by about ½ way I have a bus on my tail and he is not muckinh around, fortunately he has to stop in a narrow to get past another bus and we are able to relax a bit and reach Tasch in our comfort.
Tasch is essentially the end of the line for vehicles and is about 6km away from Zermatt and the cablecars, gondalars and skilifts for the Matterhorn and Gornergrat Areas.
Camping options are limited to 2 choices both rather expensive.
Park4night, Municipal campground GPS 46.063801 7.7739 =38 chf, all services available.
Once parked up we decide to head to Zermatt to get a glimpse of the Matterhorn itself as the weather forecast for tomorrow isn’t flash.
This place has you cornered as far as spending money goes unless you are a fitness freak or true blue outdoors type who can walk up the side of mountains.
The Zermatt shuttle train is 16chf return for the 15min trip to Zermatt, and this is the ultimate Winter and Summer playground, Imagine a swiss version of Queenstown without any traffic except little electric taxi trucks.
However we are back in tourism central and the Asian tour groups are here in force.
Unfortunately the Matterhorn doesn’t give us a full view this evening, but we have a good scope of options available if we decide to come back for more. The train ride to Gornergrat and its basins (this is where all the picnic in front of the Matterhorn photos are taken from) is 120chf return/person so we are really debating as what to do.
Monday 16th July greets us with a clear day above the mountains so we decide to head back to Zermatt again for a potential clear shot of the Matterhorn, still not quite but has potential.
However we have a bit of a nosey at the local farms and their hay making, cool little gear, most of the hay is cut with walk behind mowers,
then Raked and baled with smaller than conventional bales or picked up directly and put into lofts or sheds above the cow/goat house.
The local dairy farm here is home to about 20 cows and a mob of goats.
However with a bit more wandering around we shout ourselves to the skilift trip the Matterhorn Glacier Palace.
What an experience (and 20chf cheaper than the Gornergrat Train) the first lift is from Zermatt through several ski run areas where it slows to let you off an then a final lift to Trackner Steg at 2939masl. Here you change onto the movie typical ( James Bond) red Cablecar for a massive lift to the Glacier Palace at 3883masl. The final climb up a vertical face and into a cave literally on top of this rock is incredible. And this is just a normal Swiss skirun !!
Decidedly chilly up here and perhaps a little underdressed in our shorts, fortunately we had decided on shoes this morning instead of the normal attire of jandals.
Off the cablecar and the obligatory photo off the edge before wandering through a “tunnel/cave” and arriving at the Restaurant/Shop itself before venturing out onto the top of the world.
Italy is now in front of us and Switzerland behind, with the Italian and Swiss ski areas also sharing facilities here.
Not really knowing what this Glacier Palace is all about we descend into the mountain on a lift to emerge in an ice tunnel that then leads us into the Palace itself with all its amazing carvings.
Spending a couple of hours up here it was time to head back down before the lifts close, the Matterhorn tried really hard to show us herself in entirety but unfortunately some stubborn cloud just held on.
A walk was in order so we got off the lift at the 2nd to last stop and walked down through the little farms and villages that sit above Zermatt. A truly memorable day finished with a pleasant drive back down to Visy where we staying the night.