Mont Blanc stands proud as the highest Alp. However, one of the most photographically reproduced is the Matterhorn with the town of Zermatt at its feet.
When I first saw Matterhorn from scratch, I felt like I was looking at a solidified burning flame. A native who saw me looking at it in amazement said, “You can climb it,” like it was nothing. I laughed… not at him, but at me. I wouldn’t dare to think of trying it.
In Zermatt, as well as elsewhere, the locals show off their skill by the number of times they have climbed the Matterhorn; although, many fall numerous times. A local had climbed it more than 300 times. His wife shrugged: “Useless to say how many times,” he said. “The mountain is not going anywhere. It stays there and only the unemployed (which also means useless) make the climb.”
There are no cars in Zermatt. Transportation is possible using the cogwheel train and horse-drawn sleighs. Sitting on a horse-drawn sleigh in a lap robe, which is a small folded blanket, with everlasting snow around it is one of the most romantic things.
Zermatt has narrow streets, hotels and inns with a relaxed air of history, sports shops, boutiques, jewelers, and rows and boxes of the world’s best watches. A wonderful thing in Zermatt is the food. No matter how big, small, cheap or expensive the cafe or restaurant we stopped at, the place was spotless. Everything was spotlessly clean with flowers on every table. The food was of a very high quality and some Swiss wines were at least on a par with the French. Most of the lunchtime food among the natives consisted of soup, salad, sausage and potatoes, and of course “Bier” in long, thick cups topped with thick foam.
Unlike the other small towns that I knew from previous visits, Zermatt has a large tourist population throughout the year, with a good number of young people. You have to be young and agile as a mountain goat to dare to climb anything.
The Swiss are not just mountaineers. They also enjoy alpine festivals, William Tell plays, yodeling, Swiss wrestling, beer sausages, but they run a direct democracy with 25 sovereign states and enjoy great diversity from town to town. . In some places in Switzerland the language is French as there are places where the language is German. In a canton in the Italian Alps they also speak Italian. Don’t worry though, most Swiss speak multiple languages and quite a few of them are fluent in English.
Winter in Switzerland is like a fairy tale, especially at night. Falling snowflakes blur all other light as they accumulate everywhere, even on steep rooftops. Everything is soft, magical and gentle.
Like snow covering mountains, rocks, boulders, ridges and crags, perhaps people also need to deal and work with hard, sharp, puzzling things to smooth out the nervousness within themselves, especially when the magnetic pull of a mountain draws them deeper and deeper. deeper, and compels them to create something, anything out of a sense of elation and pride of achievement.
That is why Swiss women must have created such fine lace and embroidered clothes while their peers were engaged in making watches in Switzerland while counting the time while it was snowing. Someone had to tell something in the whitened solitude of alpine nights.