When a Trinidadian, a Russian-Swede, a Greek American and a Greek-Cypriot decided to meet and spent New Years together, Zermatt, Switzerland suddenly became the destination of choice. We were going to have the full Swiss chalet experience in the Swiss Alps complete with Swiss wine, Swiss cheese fondue and Swiss chocolates! Well except for the vegan amongst us, the rest of us would be overloading on cheese.
We chose Zermatt because the Matterhorn was on our bucket list. We had no intentions of going skiing…especially this Trini who tried it once and once was enough to say never again! We settled on Chalet Weidji in Gasenreid, which is a mountain village 20km north of Zermatt. We wanted quiet and were sold on it being peacefully located on the outskirts of the village, high above the Zermatt valley. The owner mentioned it was only 0.1km from the woods where we could enjoy beautiful walks. There was potential for that bit of exercise yes!
Getting there was a hike from Geneva, one we did not think about beforehand but once at the chalet it was all worth the trek!
We took the train to St Nicklaus and local bus to Gasenreid (we soon learnt to get our “G’s” right, getting on the “Grachen” only bus meant we had to walk half hour uphill to the village and then trek up the mountain to the chalet!) Yes we just had to choose a chalet at the top of the mountain! Who needed skiing with this workout up and down?
It just so happens our dear Greek-Cypriot slipped and fell on his scenic icy walk to Grachen, a town 4km from the chalet on our first day there! One broken arm, two nights stay in a hospital in nearby Cornavin, he was all braced and ready to return to the chalet where we let him hibernate till the trip was over!
Waking up to these views made the trek up and down the steep hillside from the chalet worth it. It felt like waking up in a fairytale. A very white one! It must be equally beautiful here in the Summer, all those walks I can just imagine.
Our first day at the chalet, I admit after more snowfall and ice, I was scared of going down the steep hillside (after all we were on the side of a mountain, one slip and down the mountain I would tumble…well so it felt!) but I quick learnt the best way was to sit on my butt and slide down on the icy bits. This is why I will always love my snow pants! And if we missed the bus, we had to walk or wait another hour for it. Got our exercise in by walking and taking in our surrounds.
One could easily become one with nature up there, albeit it was freaking cold and sow filled in Winter! I would sit and stare outside, taking it all in with some hot Swiss chocolate in hand.
We spent many days going to town in Zermatt and coming back to the chalet in the evenings but honestly, spending time in this secluded chalet at the top of the mountain was a relaxing getaway in itself. New Year’s Eve quietly spent with friends in the chalet was definitely a memorable one.
Toasting to another year down, another year ahead and making the Swiss Alps vacation a reality. It’s not only about skiing, it’s about what you make it and with whom.
And on New Year’s morning we were different, nothing like a girl power snow woman….creative no?