Zermatt was our first stop of our 1 week jaunt into Switzerland after having spent 3 weeks in Italy. It was the beginning of the end of our sabbatical travels.
I had been to Zermatt on 3 other occasions. After my freshman and sophomore years in high school when I had the opportunity to attend a ski camp and then 34 years ago when I traveled around Europe for a month with a buddy after our college graduation. In my humble but accurate opinion it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Not only is the town of Zermatt an idyllic Swiss village, but the Matterhorn stands as a magnificent sentinel, casting its iconic presence over the entire valley.
I had been telling Linda for 34 years that I wanted to take her to Zermatt. And I was hopeful that our pilgrimage there would live up to my memories and expectations. We arrived midday on Monday, settled into our hotel, and it promptly began to rain. It rained through the night and all day Tuesday, and the weather report was calling for more of the same on Wednesday – our last day there. We did not come prepared for rain and cold (and were not willing to spend $75 dollars for a sweat shirt and/or a rain jacket) so we mostly stayed inside and read and rested and reflected on Wednesday. All of which was profitable but not what we had come for. At this point we had not even seen the Matterhorn as it was shrouded by a thick layer of low lying clouds. And while we rested my wife was praying that the weather would break and she could at least get a glimpse of the Matterhorn.
So when we wake up Wednesday there is a heavy cloud cover but no rain. So we decide to take a skylift ride up the mountain and hike the 4 hours back down, knowing there was good chance we would get rained on. When we got to the top we were above many of the clouds and there was the Matterhorn from top to bottom. And my wife cried. And I was happy.
The hike down was incredible. It sprinkled on us a few times but nothing too bad. We wound through several little pristine hamlets, saw waterfalls, got up close and personal with some cows, and then hiked through the Gorner Gorge – which is a spectacular crevice in the earth through which a river runs. For many reasons, which I won’t go into, the hike was a very spiritual experience for us and perhaps will be the highlight among many highlights of our journey.
As we were exiting the gorge we saw a plaque with a Scripture verse on it that read, “All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.” (Psalm 66:4)
Indeed! And may that be true for us as we continue our pilgrimage – long after our sabbatical journey is over.
Next Stop: Luzern