Saturday, 22 August 2009

Camping in Zermatt

Last weekend we packed the car for our first weekend of camping in Switzerland. To reach this point we'd invested quite a bit of money in equipment: a new 4-man tent, camping stove, cook set, head lamps... all for one night of camping!

Actually the plan is to do quite a bit of camping around Europe, it's cheap and it's fun and you get to see some interesting parts of the countryside.

Anyway the decision was made quite late to go to Zermatt - the rationalle being that we were going to be leaving Vevey soon and so it made sense to go somewhere we would be significantly further from in the near future. Plus Linda hadn't seen Zermatt properly last time we went (with my parents) since she was stuck in the hotel room working the whole time!

Anyway, we drove up to Randa, which is one of the last towns you can drive to before car-free Zermatt, and found ourselves a nice patch of grass to set up our tent.

We headed into Zermatt, and spent a bit of time wandering around the town and shops, but since we'd had a relatively slow start we headed back to our campground before it got too late.

We made ourselves a delicious dinner of pesto pasta on our camp stove and read our books by headlamp before crashing for the night. We were caught a bit surprised by the cold at night, since it had been a scorcher of a weekend and the day-time temperature was actually really hot. Anyway, we survived our night of camping quite unharmed.

(above: view from the front of the tent)

(below: view from the side of the tent)

Another delicious camp-stove breakfast of tea, boiled eggs and caramelised apricots (they're in season!) and we were ready for a day of hiking. The sun rising on the mountains around the campsite was amazing.

From Zermatt, we caught a lift up the mountain to Rothorn Paradise, at an altitude of around 3100m, with amazing views of the Matterhorn and the Findelglescher.

We also saw lots of flowers and butterflies, and got quite distracted taking lots of photos. As a consequence it took us quite a long time to progress on our hike, and it was a long time before we reached Stellisee, a lake that looks over the Matterhorn.

Since we were running behind our schedule, we cut our hike short, heading back down the mountain to Zermatt, and caught the train up to Gornergrat.

From there we hiked down the mountain to some more of the mountain lakes - we were on a mission to capture an image of the Matterhorn reflected in a lake! This is actually quite difficult to achieve however, since even a slight breeze will kick up ripples on the lakes. In the end, we did manage to capture some decent pictures.

In fact we took so many photos of the Matterhorn I'm quite sure our pictures will be quite boring, but you can't escape the sight of the Matterhorn looming over the other mountains, and its distinctive triangular shape is really incredible.

By the end of the weekend we'd hiked ourselves out. We bought ourselves souvenir SIGG bottles and headed home after a very successful first camping expedition in Switzerland!


Amanda said...

What amazing photographs! We've done some camping in the Lago Maggiore/Locarno region, but haven't seen anything as magnificent as what you captured with your camera. Would you mind sharing some information about your campground? Name, or website link if you know of one?

Mark said...

Well thank you! I added a link in the post - it is Camping Attermenzen.