Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 4 – Zermatt, Hotel Mirabeau, alpine residence, wellness & spa

The Swiss do amazing tunnels, and bridges, and trains, etc, etc. Some of the tunnels were being done around 1890, before WW1, in times of global mass migration. Yes, the Swiss were having a jolly good time opening up their health resorts, and making fondue, while many places on our planet were quite inhospitable. Today we took the Lötschbergtunnel from Kandersteg to Goppenstein (towards Zermatt). This was a drive-on, drive-off car tunnel that took about 20 minutes. You sit in your car, and plunge into darkness at high speed which is quite disconcerting at first, but moves you under the Alps with incredible efficiency. Of course now, they’ve recently completed another tunnel (the Lötschberg-Basistunnel), right under the Lötschbergtunnel, which is even longer and even more efficient. How very Swiss.
Zermatt is a car free town, so you park your car at Täsch, just down the valley, and take a shuttle train up. You can even park your trolley full of luggage on the train. Again, incredibly efficient. Something about all this efficiency reminded me of Disneyland – I get the feeling Walt modelled the whole thing on Switzerland!
Now, the "Hotel Mirabeau, alpine residence, wellness & spa". Quite a mouthful that. This was the biggest treat on this “End of Europe” fling. I’d booked a package with room, breakfast, dinner and spa treatments included. This was the sort of place where there were slippers & robes in the cupboard, lovely white doonahs, a well stocked mini-bar and a full view of the Matterhorn. Even candles in the bathroom. They call themselves 4 star, but I might even call it 5. Clare had a facial in the spa while I took some snaps of the Matterhorn. The dinner was 5 course – rather superb. The hotel owner, Sepp Julen came to our table to ask how things were, which was a nice touch. When we returned to our room our bed had been turned down with chocolates on the pillows. Zermatt twinkled like a fairy tale town under a blanket of thick snow. Nice...

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