The alarm went off at 6.30 a.m. We managed to drag ourselves out of bed and down to breakfast, after a disturbed night with fireworks going off, presumably because of the wedding taking place in the hotel.
Riviera operate a rather ingenious seat rotation policy on their coaches so that people get different views. Frederica puts a number on each row of seats and assigns a couple to each number, changing that number every trip. We were assigned Number 8.
Unfortunately, when we tried to sit there, my legs were well and truly jammed in. The prospect of a two and a half hour coach journey wedged in like that was too horrendous to contemplate. I’m not especially tall, but I do have disproportionately long legs. The ever-efficient Frederica arranged for us to move to Row 14, where there was more legroom. All a bit embarrassing, particularly as a solo traveller was displaced on my behalf. She didn’t mind, but I did feel the need to apologise.
We passed through some spectacular scenery on the way northwards.
The coach dropped us off in the village of Täsch, where we caught the 10-minute train shuttle up to Zermatt. The town is pedestrian only.
When we got there, Frederica had to explain patiently over and over again what the options were. 1) take the Gornergrat cog railway up to 3,000 metres 2) take the funicular up to 2,200 metres 3) stay put in Zermatt. It’s the first time I’ve seen her nearly lose her cool.
Riviera had provided 30% discount vouchers for Option 1, which we decided to take – along with the world and his brother. It was still bloody expensive – SwFr 77 each, and we had to bully our way onto the train when it turned up. Thankfully, we got seats, as it’s a 45 minute journey.
It was quite chilly at just over 3,000 metres, but we had some spectacular Alpine scenery to enjoy.
After looking around, we decided to get some lunch, despite the very long queues. We eventually managed to secure something pasta-y, at a truly extortionate price, and sat opposite a couple from Singapore, with whom we had a brief chat. They were actually facing the Matterhorn, so they offered us their seats as they left.
We were under sentence of death from Frederica if we weren’t at our rendezvous point at 14.45, and we’d wasted a lot of time just queueing for food. So we opted for the 13.55 train, which was scheduled to get back to Zermatt at 14.39. Loads of time.
Walking down to the station gave us the opportunity for more photos.
Getting on to the train was a very unpleasant experience. Lots of pushing and shoving. One guy was pushed to the floor. By dint of doing some shoving myself, I managed to get us both some seats, and took yet more pictures on the way down.
We arrived with Swiss precision in Zermatt at 14.39 and liaised with our group at 14.42. Apparently Frederica had been panicking a bit at our non-appearance. Don’t know what the problem was…..
Unfortunately, due to timings, we didn’t have a chance to look round Zermatt. Maybe just as well for the sake of our credit cards…..
Boarded the train to take us back to Täsch and joined our coach driver, Gianni, for the long ride back to the hotel.
We had a brief comfort stop on the way, so we got off to stretch our legs and take more pics.
We arrived back at the hotel at around 18:00 hours. Plenty of time to relax and enjoy a glass of our fizz before dinner at 19:30……
Which was a convivial affair. Far too much food, but great conversation.
Tomorrow we visit the town of Como. I vaguely remember a holiday spent on the shores of Lake Como when I was 13 years old. Ancient history. Looking forward to seeing how much I remember. Not a lot, I suspect.
Stick with us to see how it went.