And then as we entered Zermatt our hearts pounded in happiness as we witnessed the mountains in the brochures walk out of the pages and stand in front of us, all tall and exquisite, coming to life all at once.
With the majestic Matterhorn shining in white and the hypnotic beauty of the village below, all our grievances, all our tiredness came to rest. Kids gluing their faces to the tall windows of the golden express, folks running through camera specifications to capture what were at an eyes distance and the silver heads blankly gazing at the tantalizing sight of snow taking natural forms in pure bliss, Zermatt was like walking into a real life fairy-tale.
Located in the southern part of Switzerland, in the district of Visp, this German speaking village is nothing less than an alluring beauty to both mind and vision. Not a very commercial destination for tourists around the world (especially Indians), we were a family of four, and happened to visit this quintessential village on our way from Interlaken to Geneva. A two day stay in this beauty was all the rest we needed after all the thrill we experienced at Mt. Titlis and the Jungfrau Joch.
This car free village offers some of the best views of the high snow clad mountains of Switzerland right from the comfort of your bed. Just imagine waking up to fresh dew in the air, opening your eyes to shining white snow mountains and if your stars are shining in luck, then some fresh snowfall too. Offering non-stop mountain romance for all 365 days, this village has a population of less than 6000 inhabitants. Shops and boutiques shut at 5 pm and restaurants usually do not have more than three people working. The one thing I learnt from the people of Zermatt was to multitask. Hotels where the receptionist was also the chef and the house-lady, cafes where a man in his early forties was the owner and the gardener and the waiter and a lot more.
Zermatt lies under the exhilarating Matterhorn peak, which is where it gets its tag as a ski resort. Walking across the tiny bridges and into the narrow wavy lanes in this village, you will find some classy boutique stores and delicate cafes serving some of the best hot chocolate in the world. Also a paradise for stationary lovers (I am one, myself) Zermatt is filled with some insanely intricate stationary shops, offering some adorable range of paper crafts, books and journals.
My personal favorite experience in the village was my encounter with a local baker at a small German café. I was out there looking for a vegetarian cake to celebrate the eve of my parents 25th anniversary. I found myself running from café to café, bakery to bakery, just more saddened with failure to gather a vegetarian cake. One last bakery at the corner of Kirchstrasse street, had a kind old lady who cared enough to listen to my story and understood my absolute urge to find an egg less cake in the eleventh hour, offered to bake an egg less cake for my parents. I still cannot thank her enough for going out of her way to bake a cake for us. That was when I understood; people always want to help you, no matter where you go or who you are.
Zermatt gave me a whole bunch of memory lanes, rich culture, interesting food and enchanting snow loaded mountains. As extraordinary as every other city in Switzerland gets, Zermatt is one of the closest to my hearts. Sure, there isn’t much to do in the village, but just the thought of zero pollution, zero vehicles, zero traffic, happy faces and a load full of snow, is like living in a world before the Pandora’s Box!