July 3, 2015
Matterhorn, Zermatt or Cervina?
The name is for the same place. The Swiss use Zermatt. The Italians use Cervino and Walt Disney uses Matterhorn to describe this magnificent place. We are approaching it from the Italian side although if it weren’t for the flags, you would have no idea that we are in Italy.
The weather forecast called for afternoon thunderstorms a top the Matterhorn. We left Bergamo hoping that we could get there in time to at least see the mountain. We arrived by noon to bright sunshine. Knowing that things can change quickly in the mountains, we checked in and hustled to the rope cable. That doesn’t sound too safe but I knew it was term that we would apply to gondolas on cables.
It took 45 minutes to ride three different cars to the Plateau Rosa at 3500 meters. It is as high and as close to Cervina as you can get without climbing it. Cervina was in full view the entire time. On top we joked with the gal at the “Refuge” for a beer and a sandwich. We told her that we brought some California sun. People are still skiing on top of the mountain although the conditions didn’t look great.
The lift ends at the Swiss border. We found an actual corner that was placed in 1938. Peggy hammed it up. They also have yellow paint on concrete that lies on top of the border. Of course, her family still insists that they come from the Italian side of Switzerland. We covered all the bases while on top. We got plenty of pictures. We were somewhat embarrassed to see many of our age peers walking down the mountain. It didn’t look too tough, but we didn’t need to throw a knee at this point in the trip.
Plenty of crazies with their bikes to careen down the hills. Didn’t see any bike accidents. After returning to the village of Brueil where we are staying, we witnessed a rescue helicopter taking a climber off the Matterhorn. We were watching as an avalanche took place near the top. One of the local spectators explained that this is a dangerous time of the year to be climbing as the ice and snow are melting. Since the mountain is largely shale it is soft and crumbly. Granite like the Sierra Nevadas is much safer to climb with the proper equipment and skill levels.
We managed another Lemon Soda at the top of the first lift and walked around and admired the trail signs. We were not ready to do the 2 hour climb to where we left the lift. We were ready to walk around town. No suitable goodies to purchase other than some snow flake jewelry for Peggy. This is primarily a ski area. This is low season so there are rooms and mostly empty bars.
We can watch the sun go down over the mountain from our room. We might not see it since this is our last night in Italy. We some good Italian food before we try to find a good meal in France. Just kidding. Maybe we can find some Freedom Fries but will stick with Bourgogne cooking if necessary.