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Switzerland, day 6

It was not easy to leave Wengen yesterday. The Bernese Oberland region touched us deeply and we will always have a place in our heart for that part of the world. 

By early afternoon we arrived in Zermatt by train. I just love the trains in Switzerland. They are clean, on time and can bring you to so many places in this country. Like Wengen, cars are not permitted in Zermatt.  

Zermatt is a tourist destination even during this time of year which is their off season. I wouldn’t say it’s overflowing with people because that would be exaggerating but we were hoping it’s remote location and this time of year would thin the various tour groups that are also here. 

The best thing to do in Zermatt is take the train or tram out of the bustling tourist streets and up the mountain. We did that yesterday after checking into the hotel. It was easy and refreshing for our spirits. There were no crowds on the tram up the mountain. And we only spotted two people along our afternoon hike — a friendly Swiss couple from Geneva. 

The hike itself was peaceful and absolutely wonderful. We hiked over the pass and could see the Matterhorn in its full glory. The diverse hilly trail took us through grassy fields, a lush forest, rocky terrain and over some lingering snow banks. I shot twelve exposures which is an entire roll of medium format film. 

After our hike, we went back to the hotel to shower and change into clean clothes. We had a delicious dinner at Zermatterstübli. I devoured a plate of rösti with salad and tomato soup. And I had my second red Rivella of the trip. Lauren had the sausage and also a side order of rösti. I’m a vegetarian so I didn’t try her meal but the empty plate was a good sign. 

There are many more French and Italian speaking people in this part of Switzerland compared to the earlier places we experienced where people spoke Swiss German. And the number of languages the Swiss can speak is humbling. Lauren and I feel barely fluent in our native language and can hack our way through French. That is all we have. Meanwhile people here are speaking three languages or more with ease. Actually it’s not humbling, it’s embarrassing. 

This morning we are heading back to Zurich for one last night before our trip home. The week is flying by.