Zermatt, September 19, 1909

The railway station and the Alps

My dear boy:

We arose this morning at 7 o’clock, and my first glance out of the window showed me a clear sky and, in the distance, the grand Matterhorn, 14,780 feet high, which was ascended for the first time in 1865, on which occasion two Englishmen and the guide, Michel Croz, lost their lives by falling 4000 feet towards the Matterhorn Glacier.

The ascent is not now considered one of unusual danger or difficulty and takes about 8 1/2 hours from the Schwarzsee Hotel. We concluded, however, not to make the attempt, but to take a walk towards the Schwarzsee Hotel.

After a good breakfast, we started. The sun was shining, and we had a fine view of the grand old fellow and the mountains surrounding Zermatt. The Dom, 14,942 feet; the Breithorn, 13,685 feet; and some glaciers, but our eyes always returned to the gigantic Matterhorn, standing out clear against a bright blue sky.

As we climbed upwards, new peaks would appear on the skyline, some of them with a solid cap of snow on them, others showing nothing but the bare rock. It was a wonderful sight, never to be forgotten.

Our road took us along the banks of the turbulent Visp and across the Zmuttbach, another lively fellow. On the bridge, we had a fine view of the Zmutt Valley with the Matterhorn towering above it. We returned in time for lunch, resting on the way and singing “O, welt wie bist du wunderschoen.” [O, world, how beautiful you are.]

A short rest after lunch, and we took another walk to the Gorner Gorges which led us through fine pine woods. The sun has been shining all day and, as we returned home, we could see life as it is on a Sunday in a Swiss village.

We took a look at the monument of the guide who lost his life in ascending the Matterhorn. We also walked to the garden of the Hotel Mont Cervin and saw the monument erected in honor of Alexander and Catherine Seiler, who first took care of the tourists coming to Zermatt. It has their bust picture cut out in relief on marble slabs, which are introduced in a high pyramid of rocks. On the side stands the figure of a guide with a rope slung over his back and an ice pick in his hand, holding out a branch of laurel.

We had enjoyed this day very much. Mama was in excellent condition for climbing and felt good all the way. We have had a good opportunity to enter into the heart of the Alpine world and to stand, so to speak, in the sanctuary of the “Spirit of the Alps.” It was an unusually bright day, so every body says for this time of the year.

To bed at 10 o’clock.

Good night.


Realp. Hotel and Pension.

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