At 5 o’clock, we were called to arise and, at 6:50, we took a train for Visp where we arrived at 7:18 and changed cars for Zermatt. The weather was pleasant, but the high mountains were covered by clouds.
We ascended alongside the rapid and turbid river Visp partly by means of the “Rack and pinion” system. The first station, Stalden, is a very pleasant looking village situated in a very fertile region on a mountain spur. On the steep hill sides are vineyards, not in regular order as on the Rhone, but in spots, where ever there is enough soil to plant a few vines.
We passed through a rock cutting, several tunnels, an imposing viaduct and several smaller viaducts in a deep gorge and came to two gorges where the road runs close to and alongside the brawling Visp, which here forms a series of falls among huge blocks of gneiss. It was a grand spectacle.
Further up, we saw a lofty waterfall dashing in several leaps in to the valley. We kept on ascending and had a good look at the Festi Glacier. Passing through a defile [narrow valley between two mountains] scarcely broad enough for both road and railway, we reached Zermatt, which is said to be one of the most frequented spots in Switzerland. It is situated in a green valley and surrounded by steep mountains of which the huge rock pyramid of the Matterhorn is the boss.
At the hotel, Mont Rose, we were received with the pleasant news that they have been advised of our coming by Mrs. Imhof, the sister of the proprietors, the Seilers, and the children of Alexander and Catherine Seiler, the founders of the tourist resort of “Zermatt.” We were shown into two cozy and comfortably fitted rooms, and all three lay down and took a nap.
We then took a walk through the tourist city with its many shops. I am sorry that the Matterhorn has not been advised of our coming, so that we might have had a chance to look at him, but better weather and a good look at the old fellow is promised for to-morrow.
Just before dinner (7 p.m.), I took a walk along the road which leads to the Gorner Gorge. I had a fine view of the mountains covered by clouds. The sun was taking a farewell shot at them, and, as I watched, the bright clouds in the east, I noticed one particularly silvery spot which proved to be the snow covered peak of a mountain.
It was a beautiful spectacle to watch the shifting of the clouds around the mountain tops and along the sides, with a perfectly clear sky above me. But the Matterhorn failed to uncover. I could see the Riffelalp Hotel at 7227 feet and also the Schwarzsee hotel at 8495 feet, but the old fellow remained behind a cloud at 8000 feet. I went home.
A good dinner, one of the best which we have had at a hotel, an hour’s writing and to bed. The stars are out.
Good night, Dad.