5-7 & 8-19 Zermatt, the Matterhorn, Simplon and a night in Italy

Having viewed Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) from Geneva and Montreux, we journeyed south via coach to Tasch to ride the cogwheel train from Tasch to Zermatt.

The Zermatt Shuttle runs frequently bring ing day trippers to Zermatt to ski and explore

About 20 years ago, Zermatt realized they were developing a smog issue and all public vehicles (except outside construction) have been electric since the 1970s.

The station in Zermatt – all vehicles in the city have to be electric – no emission issues as a result.

After a short walk from the station we arrived at the Alex Hotel. We checked in and were assigned an elegant suite with balcony overlooking the iconic peak, The Matterhorn.

Just a short walk from our hotel was this view of the mountain. Could not have been a more beautiful day to take in the site.
A view of the ‘city’ the Matterhorn would be on the right of this range of mountains.

The next morning, a part of our group of 37 ventured up the peak for Alpine views and the remainder of us enjoyed sunshine, hot chocolate, and strolls through the town.

Note the building and see the rock on the top of the post between the two buildings? Used to keep mice and other vermin from gaining access to the area where food would have been stored during the winter.
Another shot of the old town – not much happening in this part mostly places to stay.
Janeen taking in the sun

Zermatt is at an elevation of 5,249ft and lies below the iconic Matterhorn peak. Its main street is lined with boutique shops, hotels and restaurants all with a lively après-ski scene.

Just a short walk from our hotel is the Matterhorn Museum.

The entrance to the Matterhorn Museum – all the historical stuff is underground.

The Museum has gathered cultural-natural displays of a Matterhorn village attempts to “conquer” the Matterhorn plus a number of significant artifacts are on display. It was an interesting place to spend an hour or so.

Inside the Matterhorn Museum they have recreated some of the historical structures that would have been around at the time of the first ascents of the mountain.
Various displays reflect some of the early climbers of the mountain.
This is a re-creation of one of the huts that would have been at the base of the Matterhorn used as a staging area prior to a climb.

Our evening in Zermatt included a delicious dining experience where we got to know members of our group and prepared for our morning departure that included a coach ride over the Simplon Pass into Italy.

Simplon Pass – a significant road over the mountains.
Just another beautiful view
The sites were lovely throughout Switzerland for sure.
This is a military installation at the top of the mountain to protect Switzerland from a land invasion during WWII still maintained however.

Napolean led his troops through Simplon Pass (6,578 ft.) on his grab for empire, but probably did not record the stellar views en route like our tour did. Our coach brought us to Baveno Piedmont Italy on Lake Maggiore in a cloud of rain. After checking into the hotel, a fairly large sub-set of the group boarded a boat for Isola Bella estate.

Isola Bella is a privately owned island with a Palace and lovely gardens.

Isola Bella – Owned by the same family since the early 1600’s.

Owned by the same family (bankers from Milan) since the mid 1600’s it was built to impress the guests and it clearly does that very well.   Originally we had been hesitant to sign on for this optional tour as we had visited the Palace during our trip to the Lake District of Italy a few years ago. However, even in the rain the tour was wonderful (fortunately our tour was primarily for the interior of the Palace) as our guide

Our guide did a wonderful job explaining the Palace.
There were a number of these curio cabinets around

was very knowledgeable and brought the place to life during our tour. and even the rain outdoors didn’t dim the experience. Having been owned by the same family for generations,

Here we are in the main bedroom

it has been decorated over several decades, and reflects decorative changes, but always with a focus on impressing.

The music room – lovely.
The ‘throne’ not used by the King but available should he visit.

Multiple Venetian glass chandeliers reflect the intent. The Grotto, constructed in the lower level of the Palace, gives the impression of sea caves and is very creative and imaginative.

Janeen pointing out an crab feature in the Grotto
One of the rooms of the Grotto with a gift statue of carrera marble
It took over 8 years to complete all the mosaic pebble  work of the Grotto

Despite a gentle drizzle, white peacocks roamed the gardens, and the dogwood and azaleas splashed color.

Janeen under the flowering dogwood
Part of the garden – note the white peacock on the head of the statue.

After completing the tour and visiting the gardens, we adjourned to a short boat ride to Fisherman’s island nearby, and a splendid Italian meal with music, wine and many courses.

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