1st June 2012
Today was a lot of driving – but we did go to Switzerland so I suppose you’d have to expect a fair bit of driving.
We stopped at Simplon Pass for a quick morning tea break – another wonderful coffee experience, I just can’t get over how much I am enjoying all the different coffees (and the red wines). It was pretty chilly, mostly I think from the wind, it was really howling. There was quite a bit of snow around as well but if you got out of the wind it wasn’t too bad.
We stopped at a little town called Tasch and caught the train to Zermatt which is at the foot of the famous Matterhorn Mountain. There are thousands of car park spaces in Tasch because normal private cars are not allowed in Zermatt. Since 1947 they have only allowed electric cars without combustion engines in the village, I didn’t find out why but they’d be way ahead in the environmental stakes on that front I guess.
It was quite strange to see such a contrast in building style once we entered Switzerland, mostly timber buildings whereas in Italy everything seems to be brick and stone. I was blown away by the amount of snow there was and this was almost the middle of summer. Of course this is from someone who has lived most of their life in sunny Queensland and has frequented swimming pools, beaches and dams. Until this I have only seen snow a few times – absolutely never anywhere near as much as I saw today.
We caught another train up to the Gornergrat plateau, this was a rack & pinion train like the one they have resurrected at Strahan in Tasmania but much more modern of course as the Strahan one is steam-driven. It was just an amazing experience to be up amongst the peaks and the snow. I had lunch with Jan and George and we took a few photos of each other – saved me trying to do a sneaky selfie!!
Along our way we kept driving in or under these half tunnel things that reminded me of the opening scene of one of the James Bond movies, only we were travelling much more sedately than James. I googled this afterwards and found out the movie I was thinking of was Quantum of Solace and it was partly filmed in Italy – I love google!!
I also found something else out today, or maybe I should say I realised something else today – the picture on the Toblerone packet is of the Matterhorn – unbelievable but when you think about it the shape of the chocolate could replicate the shape of the Matterhorn! So of course I bought a toblerone and some other chocolates in Zermatt but they ended up making it all the way home and we shared the toblerone at work for morning tea one day.
It was a long day but again it made me sit back and think about how fortunate I am to be able to experience all this.