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Published on Aug 6, 2009
So remote that you cant drive or fly there, the Alpine resort village of Zermatt is surrounded by some of Europes highest mountains that shelter it from the outside world. Like mythical Shangri-La in the Himalayas, this is a magical wonderland The train rolls along through more postcard scenery, past picturesque mountain pastures, across rushing torrents, and through steep-sided narrow valleys, which brings us to Zermatt. We settle into this popular village and look up to see the most famous mountain in all of Europe, the Matterhorn, which rises to an altitude of 14,070 feet in a distinctive vertical thrust—one of the most dramatic sights in the world! We will enjoy a variety of activities here, including pleasant walks on the easy trails that lead out from the village. There are no cars allowed in town, so we can really relax and enjoy the peace and quiet, amidst the spectacular setting of Alpine peaks all around us. Our orientation walk will take us through the village past the various shops and restaurants, and point out the cablecar and mountain rail lines. This first afternoon will be a good time to ride the comfortable Gornergrat rack railway, one of the highest in Europe, for stunning look at dozens of mountain peaks all around you. Here you will see dozens of snow-covered mountains reaching above 12,000 feet, displaying one of the most amazing mountain panoramas in all the Alps. This is the very center of the Alpine structure. Back in town for the evening, we see the daily migration of a large goat herd right down the main pedestrian lane, what a sight, then visit the Alpines Museum to learn some of the local history. Here we stay at the Alex Tenne Hotel, a charming family-operated lodge that has been here for decades, with two branches in town.