I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
Trip to Switzerland
In 1997, when I planned to visit with my girlfriend that lives in Germany, we decided to take a little side trip to Switzerland.
Getting to ride on the famous Glacier Express train up to Tasch and then seeing that town along with Zermatt and the Matterhorn was quite a treat!
I took many photos of that journey and will share some of them with you in this post.
My friend and I originally got to know each other when we both lived in the nurse's dorm in the middle of the Texas Medical Center in the early 1970s. Working as operating room nurses at Methodist Hospital and living in the same dorm, we became friends. Our friendship has lasted all these many years, I am happy to say.
Planning Our Vacation
Although she went back to Germany after her work visa expired, my friend would regularly come back for visits because her sister, brother-in-law and their children lived here. That was a big drawing card. Most often we would get together on those trips with her coming this direction.
More than once she encouraged me to travel her direction. So one year I decided to become her guest and fellow traveler.
Much time and thought was put into planning our sightseeing sojourns with her doing most of the scheduling. Since I was new to that region I told her to plan the trip to suit herself. Everything would be new and different for me.
Visiting the Matterhorn was one trip that my well traveled friend had not yet done and she asked whether I would be interested in pursuing that.
Warning me that if clouds or inclement weather rolled in, we might not be able to see a thing was a chance we would be taking in making those reservations. It had been a dream of hers to visit that locale. I told her let's go for it! And that we did.
This post will address the portion of our trip starting with our being dropped off by bus in the mountain town of Tasch.
Tasch is a very scenic town located at a height of 1,449 meters above sea level. Located in a valley surrounded by mountains, it offers cross country ski trails and golf among other things.
The location is only 6 kilometers from Zermatt and the Matterhorn. Prices on hotels are a little lower on average than those in Zermatt. After arriving at our Hotel City Tasch Bei Zermatt one hour ahead of time, we checked in and took our luggage up to our room. We then decided to go for a walk prior to dinner.
The construction of the buildings,especially the roofs got my attention. Thin slabs of stone comprise many of the roofs in this area. Quite unique! At least I had never seen that type of roofing previously.
I wondered if the stones when heated by the sun help to melt the snow?
The time of year was May 23rd and many wildflowers were to be seen blooming on that scenic walk overlooking the valley below us. I felt the altitude! Coming from near sea level the air was much thinner for me.
The cemetery in Tasch had quite unique grave markers as you can see from my photo. Pansies were commonly planted at the gravesides.
Meals were included in the price of our hotel package and we were seated with another couple at our table. Most of the people on this tour were from Germany and other than my friend, no one spoke English. Thus my friend got to do quite a bit of interpreting as the tour progressed.
I conversed back and forth with our table mates with gestures, smiles and Martha's help.
Dinner that night consisted of a soup, salad, pork schnitzel, buttered rolls and dessert. It was very good!
After dinner was completed, the wait staff brought plastic envelopes to the tables and asked us to save our napkins for the following meals. A number was put on the envelopes to note our seating arrangement at the table. We all obliged.
As noted in my earlier post regarding Freiburg, Germany, Europeans are much more attuned to living in more environmentally friendly ways. This was a new one for me however...that of saving napkins from one meal to the next. It makes sense if the napkins are not overly soiled.
After a good nights sleep and a wonderful buffet breakfast that included crusty breads and Swiss cheeses we boarded the Glacier Express train to go to Zermatt and get a closer perspective of the Matterhorn.
The day was bright and crystal clear! Just what we and the others traveling with us had hoped!
Scenery going up to Zermatt from Tasch on the Glacier Express.
We talked to some fellow travelers who had come here several times previously and had never had the luxury of viewing what we were enjoying on this day. This truly underscored how very fortunate we were!
Cog-wheel Train Ride up to the Matterhorn
Once we arrived in Zermatt we had made reservations for the cog-wheel train ride up to Gornergrat to see the mountains at closer range. Elevation at that level is 10,132 feet. It was 3 degrees Celsius.
This cog-wheel train ride takes about 40 minutes and runs both directions two to three times each hour. It started operating in 1890 and it is 5.9 linear miles from Zermatt.
It was Switzerland's first electric cog-wheel railway and also its highest outdoor one.
The pictures that follow show us at the top where there is located an International Foundation High Altitude Research Station.
The views are absolutely breathtaking and we truly were fortunate that the weather had cooperated in giving us this bright and sunny day.
My friend and I gloried in the crisp and clean air and indescribable beauty of the day.
Many people chose to sit on the outside patio of the research station and just soak up the atmosphere with an order of something to drink and eat.
We chose to sludge through the snow and get up to a high point overlooking the station where one felt as though one were sitting "on top of the world." True mountaineers might scoff at this but this is as close as we are ever to get and it felt like the "top of the world" to us.
The cog-wheel one way train runs often enough that most people can catch a ride either direction when they wish. When we had soaked up as much of the ambiance as we desired, we took the train back down to Zermatt where we wanted to do more exploration and enjoy a bite of lunch.
Zermatt attracts skiers from all over the world as well as mountain climbers. In fact about 3,000 people attempt to climb the Matterhorn each year.
The Matterhorn was first conquered in 1865 by an Englishman whose name was Edward Whymper. He led 7 people on the climb with him. Unfortunately 4 of them perished.
One sees many people on the streets of Zermatt carrying and transporting their skis and gear.
The Matterhorn is a height of 14,692 feet high and has the company of many other mountains of various heights
It is Switzerland's most famous of landmarks, and rightfully so. The Matterhorn dominates the landscape!
This area has 9 of the 10 highest mountains in all of Europe in rather close proximity. No wonder this area attracts mountain climbers and tourists alike!
One can normally ski in Zermatt from late November until mid-April. But as already noted we saw some skiers and this was closer to late in May.
There are 9 ski lifts and 25 runs according to the official Zermatt guide.
Zermatt allows NO motorized vehicles of any type on the streets.
It is strictly limited to pedestrians and horse drawn carriages. The exceptions are a few electrically operating vehicles but those are far and few between.
The streets are cobblestone.
Most all the restaurants post their menus with prices on the outside of the buildings.
We selected one after perusing some menus and decided to sit at a table outside so that we could keep an eye on the ever evolving street scene while we had a bite of lunch.
After lunch we heard music emanating from the Catholic Church in town which was one of two churches in Zermatt. We walked inside and found out that the music was in preparation for a wedding that was to take place within a few hours. It was lovely.
Outside the church was the cemetery. We walked among the many gravestones and found it to be very interesting.
Many mountain climbers from all around the world that died attempting to climb these mountains, chose to be buried here. The markers read like an assembly of the United Nations!
A large monument dedicated to the guides who gave their lives had this inscription: "HERE WE LOST OUR LIVES; THERE WE FOUND IT AGAIN. ON THE HOLY MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD."
Another cute sculpture involves some playful beavers scampering among the rocks and water.
We did not get to see the bride and groom as they were still in a hotel and had not yet come out to get in their black open aired carriage with a pair of white horses harnessed up and ready to escort them to the church for their nuptials. Many people were hoping to see them and some probably did.
It would be fun to have had more time to go into some of the many shops and linger a bit longer. But alas! We had to catch the Glacier Express for the next leg of our journey.
So with a fond farewell to Zermatt and with great but brief experiences and memories we departed.
One person's experiences in and around Zermatt
We boarded the Glacier Express Train from Tasch and traveled through beautiful countryside to a stop at Disentis.
The following photos show some of what we were getting to view from our train window.
We get closer to Disentis in these photos shown here.
The Glacier Express train makes a regular stop in the town of Disentis.
Our tour guide directed us to the Benedictine Abbey which is the largest structure overlooking the town.
The church is beautiful adorned with all kinds of rich embellishments such as the following:
- Arched ceilings.
- Side altars
- Hand carved and painted statues.
- Huge pipe organ.
- Frescoes on walls and ceilings.
All of this and more capture one's attention when visiting this site.
Outside the monastery are deceased Abbates who have been buried here dating back to the year 1614 and on up to the present time. Filigreed crosses mark their graves.
We had time for lunch and found a place where we could sit outdoors at a cafe. Bundner Garsten Suppe was ordered by both of us. It was a very delicious barley and white bean soup flavored with grated carrot, onion and parsley.
My friend introduced me to Radler Beer which we enjoyed drinking with the soup. It is a beer combined with a sparkling sweet lemon flavored water. It is quite refreshing and light. I know of nothing that compares with that taste here in the United States.
We wandered the streets a bit after lunch and then it was time to board the train again.
The train ride was quite comfortable and the windows offer great views. The windows can be lowered and we often did so as the weather was quite nice and it also offered better chances to snap photos of the passing scenery without reflections from the glass.
Pastoral scenes as viewed from the Glacier Express train in Switzerland.
From Disentis to Reichnau
After leaving Disentis we once again got to enjoy seeing scenery from the comfort of our seats in the Glacier Express. Much of the time the train followed the young Rhine River.
We finally disembarked the train and boarded a large bus at Reichnau to continue our travels. But that is as far as I am going to take you on this particular post.
If you ever get the chance to ride the Glacier Express up to Tasch and then get to see Zermatt and the Matterhorn in Switzerland, by all means take advantage of it and do so. I can't help but think that you will enjoy it immensely as did the two of us.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Peggy Woods
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 08, 2019:
Yes, we certainly did luck out with regard to the weather and the ability to see the Matterhorn unobstructed by clouds. Switzerland is such a beautiful country from what I got to see of it. So happy you enjoyed my photos.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 07, 2019:
The photos are a delight to watch and I certainly would not miss an opportunity to visit this scenic country still retaining its old-world charm. Glad the weather played truant on your visit to Matterhorn.
Robert Sacchi on January 28, 2018:
Yes, considering my experience going from Dallas to Little Rock I can image how a Dallas to El Paso drive must be.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 27, 2018:
I know what you mean about the miles seeming endless as you drive through west Texas.
Robert Sacchi on January 27, 2018:
When I drove out of Texas I took a right at Dallas and after a couple of hours it seemed like an episode of The Twilight Zone. Would I ever get out of Texas?
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 27, 2018:
What truly amazed my friend was the one time that we were driving in west Texas for over an hour and never even saw another car. That just does not happen in Germany where she resides.
Robert Sacchi on January 26, 2018:
I can imagine. Something as large as the Grand Canyon must be overwhelming. In much of the U.S. people can drive for hours and not see a large city.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 26, 2018:
She considers that western trip of ours to be one of the highlights of vacationing in North America. What struck her most in addition to all the natural wonders was the vast wide open spaces. That is not the case in much of Europe where people live closer together and the majority of people's home as well as vehicles are smaller in size.
It is hard to compare one natural wonder with others but I can witness the fact that her viewing of the Grand Canyon brought tears to her eyes. She had so looked forward to it and was overwhelmed when she saw it for the first time.
Robert Sacchi on January 24, 2018:
It would be interesting to know how your friend would compare the wonders of the southwestern United States with the Alps.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 23, 2018:
It is one vacation that I will never forget. The good friend that was my host will also never forget the one we took together here when I drove from Houston to California and back with our focus on seeing national parks. It is memories for both of us that we hold dear.
Robert Sacchi on January 23, 2018:
That really was a fantastic vacation for you. That sunrise video is amazing. Thanks for posting.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 27, 2014:
I certainly had fun taking these photos and experiencing these glorious sites! Glad you enjoyed them!
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2014:
Hi Au fait,
I appreciate your sharing of this hub about the beauty of Switzerland as shared in the photos that I took while on this trip. Thanks for the additional pin!
JR Krishna from India on June 26, 2014:
Wonderful hub. The photos are excellent
C E Clark from North Texas on June 26, 2014:
Came back to share this article again and to pin the photo of the train to my 'Red' board. Already pinned this article to my 'Travel' board, so we'll see what happens with the Red board . . .
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 07, 2013:
Hello Anil and Honey,
Thanks for the compliments on this hub. Switzerland is indeed a beautiful country for tourists as well as those fortunate enough to be able to live there.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 06, 2013:
You got to see much more of Switzerland than I did, but we are in agreement that it is an amazing and also very beautiful country. Thanks for your comment.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 03, 2013:
Hi Au fait,
Thanks so much for pinning and sharing this hub with others. It was such a fabulous part of my vacation trip many years ago. The scenery is breathtaking!
Anil from Kerala on September 02, 2013:
what I say.. utterly beautiful I gives 100 marks, very very nice dear.. Switzerland is a beautiful place for tourists. Thanks once again,
Harry from Sydney, Australia on September 02, 2013:
I was in Switzerland in late 2009 and we covered Zurich, Geneva, Bern and Interlaken after a trip up the Golden Pass line from Montreaux to Zwissiman (I think that's how its spelt? lol).. Its truly an amazing country..we even did the train ride from Lausanne to Milan via Simplon and Brig ...Italy's sooo different in comparison!
C E Clark from North Texas on September 02, 2013:
Still an awesome hub full of fabulous photos and packed with useful information. Pinned to my 'Travel Board' and will share again!
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2012:
Hello Au fait,
I know! It was great getting to see this part of Switzerland (as well as many areas in Germany) with my friend, but having her as a willing translator also made it even better. So glad that you enjoyed the many photos & thanks for your votes and the share.
C E Clark from North Texas on August 12, 2012:
What a wonderful interesting trip! The photos are especially gorgeous!
You were so fortunate to have a friend to show you around and help translate. Great hub!
Voted you up, awesome, and sharing!
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 08, 2012:
So nice to hear from you. Good to know that you liked these pictures of visiting parts of Switzerland seen from the Glacier Express train going up towards the Matterhorn.
Glacier National Park has not yet been visited by me personally and it is certainly on my bucket list of places that I want to see. Your saying that these views in this hub remind you of Glacier NP make me wish to see it even more. Thanks for your comment and votes.
mecheshier on July 08, 2012:
Fabulous pics and places of interest. Really makes me want to visit. This place reminds me so much of Glacier National Park in Montana US. Thank you for sharing. Voted up for awesome
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 03, 2012:
Switzerland is not an inexpensive country to visit but worth saving up to do so. I was celebrating my 50th birthday while I was over there traveling with my German friend. Glad that you liked this Glacier Express trip to Zermatt, the Matterhorn and more. With luck you will be able to go back and see more of it in the future. Thanks for your comment and votes.
Madeleine Salin from Finland on July 02, 2012:
Wow, wonderful hub and beautiful photos. I'd really like to do a trip like this some day. I could not afford back that in 1999-2000 when I lived in Switzerland. That country is fantastic! Reading this hub was a very nice experience. Voted up and more.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 21, 2012:
I guess it was a bit pricey but it was a once in a lifetime experience for me...so well worth it! We were not in the more exclusive cars nor did we need overnight accomodations...so the Glacier Express Train was merely a great means of travel for us on this arranged tour trip. Perhaps there was even a discount because it was part of a tour. As you can see from the photos...it is a beautiful part of the world. Thanks for your comments and votes.
Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on June 21, 2012:
I love trains in themselves, so having that wonderful scenery to view during the trip is icing on the cake. Had never heard of this train before so I looked up the website because of your article Seems a bit pricey but the cars look sleek both inside and out. Voting this Up and Interesting.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 14, 2012:
Not difficult to get good photos while in Switzerland. It is such a scenic country! Riding on the Glacier Express train was a great way to view some of that scenery. Thanks for your comment, the votes, etc.
Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on June 13, 2012:
You always have marvelous pictures. I especially like the train pictures.Voted uo, awesome and sharing.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 12, 2012:
It was a fantastic trip and we were so lucky to be able to view the Matterhorn on such a crystal clear day. Hope you get to see it also someday. Thanks for your comment.
Mary Strain from The Shire on June 12, 2012:
Peggy, this looks like so much fun. Thanks for sharing it with us! I hope to be able to see it for myself some day! Beautiful hub!
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 04, 2011:
Hope that your wish to visit Switzerland comes true in the near future and if you decide to visit Zermatt, hope you encounter a crystal clear day such as we had so that the Matterhorn is not enshrouded in clouds. We were really fortunate! Thanks for your comment.
Gordon Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on October 04, 2011:
I loved this Hub, Peggy. Although I have been to areas like this in Austria and Germany, I have never yet managed to get to Switzerland. I have wanted to visit for a long time and you have just made me even more determined :)
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 01, 2011:
Hello Kimberly Stauffer,
You sound like a very athletic person! Mountain climbing in Switzerland would be something! Just seeing the Matterhorn and other mountains and seeing Zermatt and Tasch as well as other sites from the Glacier Express Train will fill me with wonderful memories for years to come. Thanks for the visit.
Kimberly Stauffer on June 01, 2011:
Peggy, this a wonderful placed to lived in.A place where in i can see mountain and the fresh air,oh i love this.I am an adventurous person who wanted climb mountain with of course a href="http://www.mountainclimbersgear.com">mountain climbing equipment for safety.I also into swimming and volleyball.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 25, 2011:
This tour to Switzerland via the Glacier Express Train was arranged by my long time girlfriend who lives in Germany. I told her when I went over there to do and see things that she had always wanted to see because it would all be new to me. We lucked out on having perfectly clear weather when we got up to viewing the Matterhorn which doesn't always happen. It was certainly a memorable portion of our trip. Thanks for the visit and comment.
Cheryl J. on May 25, 2011:
Awesome. I love the photos and the videos of Switzerland. I really admire your tours and your knowledge of all the wonderful places you have visited. The Glacier Express had to be the best scenic ride in the world. Enjoyed the Switzerland National Anthem and beautiful photos. Another great hub, Peggy.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 20, 2011:
This is the only part of Switzerland that I have ever seen but it certainly was beautiful. Forever will I have memories of the Glacier Express Train to Tasch, Zermatt and the Matterhorn. We really lucked out on the weather.
What parts of Switzerland have you enjoyed seeing while on your business trips?
Tony McGregor from South Africa on January 20, 2011:
Switzerland is a lovely country. Only been there twice and for very short business stays each time so I haven't had the chance to do anytning like this. I really enjoyed your guided tour here! Thanks.
Love and peace
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 02, 2010:
This trip to Tasch, Zermatt and the Matterhorn in Switzerland via the Glacier Express was indeed "incredible!" I am so fortunate to have been able to do that trip with my friend and will forever have these wonderful memories. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Micky Dee on December 02, 2010:
I'm so awed I even hit your funny button. Wonderful hub Peggy. I reall liked the videos but especially the longer one that includes some "bluegrass Moody Blues". "Good to see you my long lost friend. Walk along with me to the next bend." Incredible!
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2010:
I've added some maps and videos to this hub about the Glacier Express trip to the Matterhorn via Tasch and Zermatt along with other Switzerland sites. I need to rescan and re-do the photos. Thanks for bringing attention to one of my earlier hubs and glad you liked it.
erthfrend from Florida on September 21, 2010:
Incredible hub, incredible pictures! I was oohing and awwing because the sites and things you described (the food and drinks) reminded me so much of my trips to Germany. Thank you for sharing!
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2010:
Hello A Travel Guy,
I'm happy that I got to visit Switzerland and the Matterhorn with my long term friend. It is such a gorgeous country. Glad that this reminded you of your fond memories.
A Travel Guy on July 21, 2010:
Wonderful. Some of my most fond travel memories are in Switzerland. Thanks for the reminder.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2010:
Lucky you to have spent a lot of time over there. It is truly beautiful! I really enjoyed this portion of a trip with my long time girl friend on the Glacier Express up to the Matterhorn.
As you say, Switzerland is so spotless and clean and I found Germany to be the same.
billyaustindillon on July 17, 2010:
Beautiful hub and brought back great memories. I have spent a lot of time in the Swiss and French alps and it is a beautiful as the pictures show. I remember those stone roofs too - hard to forget I guess. The Swiss have a way of keeping everything spotless too like the churches and even the trains!
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 06, 2010:
Hi ss sneh,
Glad that you could join us on this portion of our vacation via the Glacier Express to Tasch, Zermatt and the Matterhorn. The photos just capture some of the beauty. It is a bit of "heaven on earth" as you said. Thanks!
ss sneh from the Incredible India! on July 06, 2010:
Hi! Beautiful Switzerland! No wonder people attribute Switzerland as the heaven on earth! -- Thanks
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 25, 2010:
If I lived where you do, I would take driving holidays also. Nice that you got to visit Zermatt in Switzerland. We have something in common as far as shared memories. What I got to see of Switzerland was absolutely beautiful! Thank you for reading this and leaving a comment.
Tricia Mason from The English Midlands on March 25, 2010:
Thank you ~ I enjoyed that.
We have been on a couple of holidays which included Switzerland. It was lovely.
We visited Zermatt, but didn't go up the mountain.
Those Swiss trains are quite famous, but we didn't get to go on one, as we drove to our holiday destinations.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2009:
Thanks Elynjo. Glad that you enjoyed it.
Elynjo from Sin City on March 31, 2009:
Peggy this is really good! I enjoyed it, the pictures are all fabulous!
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 15, 2009:
C.C. Riter...Stay tuned! And thanks for reading and commenting.
C. C. Riter on February 14, 2009:
Great, looking forward to them.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 14, 2009:
Most of the nurses I have known truly are caring people. As to the "peripatetic nurse" comment..........no one has traveled as much as my German nurse friend! She is constantly on the move to interesting places. Of course, living in Europe with the many countries being so close together.......all that history and culture........and their built in vacation time.......it makes for the best combination of factors.
That being said, I am truly grateful for the traveling that I have gotten to do. Have many more memories and photos to share in the days (and hubs) ahead.
C. C. Riter on February 14, 2009:
Oh Peggy the peripatetic Nurse.How I envy you. What great pix. i wish I could travel like you have. Oh, and nurses are my most favoite people in the world. I've had many. I love them all the angels of mercy, males and females. Never had one I never liked. Now, doctors, well we got to have them too and mostof mine have been great.
Keep up that traveling. Great pix and a great hub.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 11, 2009:
You are most welcome MellasViews. Zermatt is charming!
MellasViews from Earth on February 11, 2009:
Simply gorgeous. The little town in the mountains -Zermatt---- ahhh.... I want to live there.
Spectacular hub,,, and ty for sharing all of these photos.