|Thanks Barb for this photo and your insider's knowledge of Zermatt.|
Zermatt lived up to its reputation as a winter paradise. It is nestled high in the Swiss Alps, below the Matterhorn, which looms over the ski fields and provides endlessly spectacular views.
Reaching the ski slopes is a model of Swiss efficiency. As well as cable cars and gondolas there is also a rapid funicular train which feeds two huge elevators opening directly onto the Sunnegga ski field. Skiers reach the chairlifts and gondolas high on the mountain in less than six minutes.
While the Sunnegga funicular seems almost space age, the Swiss also take great pride in their old-fashioned railways. The Gornergrat Bahn is a cog railway that has been operating for over a hundred years. It runs all year round and in winter it is included in the price of a lift pass.
This love of old and new transport modes isn't restricted to the mountain. The traditional character of Zermatt has been carefully protected. In 1966 the town made a decision to protect its unique mountain environment by banning all conventional motor vehicles, permitting only electric buses, taxis and a few private electric vehicles. Horse-drawn drays and bicycles are also part of the transport system ensuring that the spectacular views of the Matterhorn and its surrounding peaks are never draped in a polluted haze.
Swiss traditions like fondue,
and curling, that cold weather version of lawn bowls,
are still important parts of life in Zermatt, alongside fast trains,
|Thanks Beth for this great shot.|