Switzerland - Matterhorn

by Kimp 16. September 2012 00:48
Photo Blog
It took an act of God to create the Matterhorn.
The Matterhorn isn't the highest mountain in Europe nor even the highest in Switzerland. However it has one of the most unique shapes, so it is easy recognizable. It kind of looks like a Pyramid with each face, facing a due direction. One due North, one due East, one due South and one due West. This characteristic, makes for nice photograph. One side will be bright and the other in a shadow. It's solid rock without any grass at all and most people will know it by name, when viewing a photo of it.
There's a similar mountain in China, but there's another unique characteristic about the Matterhorn that makes it unique. Several angles of the Matterhorn, make it appear to be the only mountain in mountain range. All of the other mountains are hidden either by the Matterhorn or the surrounding hills. This characteristic gives the Matterhorn a very romantic appearance.
Because of the shape and since it's solid rock, the Matterhorn was one of the last mountains to be conquered. Even today only about 1/2 of the people who attempt to climb it, actually crest the summit. It don't think it's the climb that stops them, it's the fear of not being about to find a safe path back down. Lots of cliff climbers will only climb a cliff, because they know that they don't have to come back down it. At the Matterhorn, that which goes up, must come back down, one way or the other.
I meet a man a while back who was from Zermatt. I pumped him for information, not only on what to do there, but also weather patterns. He said that the Matterhorn was almost always overcast all year around. He also told me that I needed to be there early in the morning, cause around 2 P.M., the sun sets on the other side of the Matterhorn, and it isn't very appealing after that. That knowledge of the sun pattern, turned out to be critical, cause without that, I probably would have been in some other town the night before, and just drove in around noon. My eye's are old and driving at night in unfamiliar deserted mountain roads, doesn't appeal to me anymore.
I had read that, if the weather were bad, there wasn't much to do in Zermatt, that doesn't involve the mountains, and it isn't close to anything else. 
I had wrote of going there in a hurry, so I put that thought on the back burner. I figured that I would end up going there 3 or four times, and not get the full enjoyment, that I was looking for.
Zermatt hosts a very popular marathon every year, called the Zermatt Marathon. Which most people term as the Matterhorn run. A mostly up hill, cross country marathon. It's so popular, that they run that same marathon event, two days in a row, so twice as many people can run it. This year a thousand kids ran it. This marathon corresponds with the Zermatt festival, which is two weeks long. Several musicians from the Berlin Orchestra come to Zermatt for this festival, with classical music events held all over town.
I got an email out of the blue a month ago, from a hotel owner offering me a room for the Marathon weekend, at half price, if I booked it soon. I really wanted to go during the marathon weekend, but when I looked at the calendar, I made a mistake and thought today's date (which was like Aug 15th) was a week later (like Aug 22nd). So I asked him if the musicians were going to be there a week later. He confirmed and I booked the weekend after. This is where I made another mistake. He asked me when I wanted to check in and check out. I told him I wanted to check in on Friday and out on Saturday. But what I meant was that I wanted stay both Friday night and Saturday night.
I didn't realize, I had made that mistake, until two weeks later. When I figure that out, I called to ask him if I could stay Saturday too. He say's, "Oh dude, I'm sorry, I just sold out. But I'll tell you what. I've got a few friends and I'll make some calls around, to see that I can do.". The next day, he sends me an email which say's that he can get me Saturday night at the expensive resort and spa place just down the road for only $20 more then what he was charging me.  He wanted to know if that was OK? Freaking A that's OK.
So it took another act of God to get me the information I needed to have a great time and get me there on probably the most perfect weather day in Zermatt history. I ended up nailing it on my first try.
I also ended up not far (about 2 hours) from Zermatt the weekend before. I went to Interlaken. Interlaken is a small town between two lakes, and when the marathon weekend is going on, that place is hopping. Here's what's cool about Interlaken. I didn't take my camera, so you will just have to do with the words:
 They have several (I counted 5).  marching bands, made of of people probably from their mid 40's to 60's. It took me a while to figure it out, but what I think it was, are people who's kids have left the nest, and now they are going back and re-living their childhood. They dress up in amazing costumes. They aren't really uniforms, cause they aren't the same. They have a common theme, but are all individual.  Like one band wore elaborate jester looking costumes, complete with the hats.
What they do is, stand out in front of a bar and play a few marching band tunes. Then they leave their instruments on the side and go in and have a drink or two, or a snack. Then they pick up their instruments, march to the next bar that looks like it will hold all of them, then repeat. Most of them don't really sound that great, but the entertainment value is definitely high.
However, there was one band that was awesome. This band dressed up in Ancient Roman Armor (except for a cloth chest plate). They really had a good sound and they were playing all of the marching band tunes from my era. That's who I ended up following around town. A few of their drinks were on me as well.



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