After leaving Lake Como we traversed from Milan to Zermatt through a series of train rides that began on flat terrain up into the ever increasingly steep inclines of the Alps. We passed through charming Alpine train stations, over rivers of glacial runoff, past jewel toned window boxes of summer flowers, and past clumps of edelweiss in full bloom. Our final stop was the alpine station of Zermatt (population 5,775).
We were on the second half of our trip celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of my parents. After unloading our luggage from the train onto the platform we were immediately impressed by the cool, crisp alpine air. After a week of summer temperatures on Lake Como the twenty degree drop in temperature was welcomed. We decided to roll our luggage to the hotel which was within walking distance from the train station in the central part of the village so that we could stretch our legs and also begin to get familiar with a new village. Zermatt in the summer is a ski town without snow but its alpine architecture reminds you of its distinctive charm.
After settling into the Hotel Daniela we set about to explore the village further, eager to take in its essence. Spotting the beautiful Grand Hotel Zermatterhof we decided to stop in for a glass of champagne to celebrate our arrival into this famed village. After inquiring the Maitre D seats us on the outdoor terrace in a prime spot to watch as people walked by the front of the hotel. As we sipped on bubbles we watched hotel guests arrive from the train station in the Zermatterhof’s carriage, disembarking for their stay in this quaint village.
Our second glass arrived and in this memorable setting we began to hear bells, lots of bells! And over the next few minutes the bells became louder and louder until finally a herd of goats being driven by a young girl and boy appeared in front of the hotel. We excitedly asked our waiter for details and they explained that the flock of goats were being moved to a different pasture for summer grazing. We suspected that this was a regular occurrence for the benefit of summer tourists but didn’t say anything to our waiter! And he went on to explain that the bells are utilized by the shepherds to find their animals once they are released into the alpine mountain pastures and ravines.
Whether the goat herding is a routine event in Zermatt didn’t matter because the sound of bells on animals of all types became the soundtrack of our stay in the Alps even when we had moved on to Wengen.
Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.