We were aroused at 6:30 by the porter with the cheerful news “Good weather,” and upon opening the shutters we convinced ourselves of the truth of this statement. It did not take us very long to dress and eat our breakfast, and, at 8 o’clock, we drove off.
As we emerged from the village and gradually ascended, we had a good opportunity to see the lofty and almost perpendicular rocks at the foot of which dashes the Reuss and, after riding for about three miles, came to the “Devils Bridge” where the River Reuss falls into an abyss of 100 feet with such a force that it bedews the bridge with its spray.
The scenery around here is grand, and Emily and I got out of the carriage to obtain a better view of this wonderful spectacle. Our road continued to wind upward and took us through a tunnel 210 feet long. Above and below this tunnel strong fortifications have been erected.
After emerging from this dark tunnel, we suddenly came to a peaceful green valley watered by the Reuss which contrasted strikingly with the wild region just quitted. It is surrounded by lofty and barren mountains partially covered with snow.
Shortly afterwards we reached Andermatt, the principal village in the valley and, near it, the training camp of Swiss artillery.
Hospenthal, with an ancient tower on a hill, lies between steep grassy slopes furrowed by numerous ravines and over shadowed by the zagged pinnacles of the Spitzberge, which are more than ten thousand feet high and “Look it,” too.
In Realp, a hamlet at the end of the pretty valley, we took a cup of milk which somehow tasted better than the St. Louis article and, from here, the road ascended in long windings, giving us a good opportunity to view the valley just quitted.
Near Tiefenbach, we had our first good view of a glacier, the Tiefen Glacier, which is imbedded between three high rocky peaks, the Winterstock, the Galenstock and the Gletschhorn. They say that this glacier has enormous crevasses, some of them 200 feet deep. It looked from the distance like a lot of ice blocks packed on top of each other.
We took dinner at the hotel in Tiefenbach and a rest for both man and horses. We passed a fine water fall, the discharge of a glacier, and reached Furka, the highest point of the pass 7990 feet above the sea level. The view from here was so grand and impressive that I cannot possibly describe it. Not far from here, on our way down, we obtained a magnificent view of the Bernese Alps with the imposing Finsterahorn and other high peaks.The road descended in long zigzags and, suddenly, the fantastic ice masses of the huge Rhone Glacier came into view, another bend of the road and, presto, here is the necessary hotel with a chance for a good, nearby view of the glacier and the necessary refreshments.
Of course, we stopped and, while Mama enjoyed a cup of coffee, Emily and I walked up to the wonderful formation of the glacier and, from there, we went into a grotto which has been cut right into the ice and which gave us a good idea of the vastness and the beauty of this block of ice.
There is a wonderful blue light in the grotto which reminds you of the Blue Grotto of Capri. We took a piece of the ice along, and I told our driver that I intended to take it as a souvenir to America, and he quite soberly remarked that he did not think it would last that long.
We started, or rather continued, on our way down by long bends, with the glacier above us and the Gletschboden or valley of the glacier below us and reached our Hotel in Gletsch at 6 o’clock. We have descended 2240 feet from the highest point and continue to descend to-morrow.
I showed a card of introduction which Tante Lenchen has been kind enough to get for us from Mrs. Imfeld Seiler, a sister of the Seilers who run this and many other hotels. We were shown into two elegant and cozy rooms, and, a few minutes later, a bright wood fire in the grate warmed and cheered us up.
After a good supper, to bed.