After our Paris Extravaganza and a long restless night due to a girl in the group getting her passport stolen (NEVER wear back packs when transiting the Paris subway system) 3 of us got up the next morning and headed to the train station, we were off to Zermatt! Now one thing I would have never thought of but M did (Thanks!) was to do some extra research ahead of time and hire a shuttle service to pick us up and take us to the train station. It was extremely convenient and WAY cheaper than taking a taxi. It was also a large van so it would have been able to fit 5 people and all of our luggage including skiing equipment if we would have all been traveling together.
We arrived at the train station 45 minutes early, plenty of time to find our train line, get our luggage carried over, a Starbucks latte, and to get settled in. The train came right as scheduled and I checked the track lines every few minutes because I almost missed a train in London once because it switched tracks at the last minute and I almost didn’t notice.
We boarded the train in a complete rush because although we were there very early it only stopped at the station for a few minutes and we had some serious luggage, I had my skii’s for goodness sakes! Then there was the trouble of finding our assigned seats. Again thanks to M we got such a great deal. She called the Euro Train Lines 3 different times and they ended up giving her a great price for the tickets. We were in second class and it only cost us about $130 which normally it would have been nearly $400 when traveling through the Xmas season.
Once we were settled in we were all exhausted! I think each us had only slept for about an hour the whole night. M & E fell asleep right away but I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from the scenery so I stayed up for quite some time enjoying it. The landscape was so lovely and the farmlands were a familiar welcome to my small home town back in the states.
I started filling out my Paris postcards because I send postcards from everywhere I go. I have a pen pal back in the states 😉 and I send about 16 from every country I visit. Finally my eyes started drooping and I just passed out. It was about a 5.5 hour ride from Gar de Leon (Paris Central) station to Tasch where we had a connect on the Glacier Express.
When we arrived at the station we could see a train on the other tracks and the flashing light for Zermatt. We all took off at a spring, skii’s and all. My legs and arms were burning because we had to run down through a tunnel and then up and out the other end. We reached the train just in time not knowing that there would be anohter one just an hour later. haha. It was sweat and tears that got us there but we settled in easily. We sat by a Japanese man and I told him I live in Japan. He was extremely surprised! We talked about the food and where he was from in Osaka. He gave us charms from his town. He told us he has traveled the world to go skiing and loves Zermatt very much. It just fed to our anticipation.
As our train climbed steeply up the mountain none of us slept on this ride. It was only about an hour and a half to Zermatt Central station and we were all eyes the entire ride. I actually felt like I was on the Polar Express chugging up into the hills. The tracks passed dangerously close to huge ice drop offs and it was some of the most beautiful winter landscapes I have ever seen. I felt like a little kid. I smiled so big the whole way up!
Randa was a small small small town 2 stops away from the main station and that was where we would be staying. We took the train all the way to Zermatt because we wanted to buy some groceries for dinner and we didn’t even know where to go in Randa. At the main station I was so excited. They actually had horse and buggies waiting to take people to some of the hotels. The main street of Zermatt is so quaint. It was just perfect. Everything I could have dreamed up and more. I came pretty close to just lying down right there and thanking the lord with a look of stupor on my face. It was truly gorgeous.
We bought some groceries and a week ticket to ride the train from Randa to Zermatt unlimited, that only cost about 68 Francs, not bad for a 10 day pass. Once we got to Randa we had no idea how to get to our apartment so we stopped at the first place we saw to ask. Of course everyone knows everyone so the person at that place called the woman from the place we were going to and they came down and picked us and our stuff up in a car. This we were very thankful for. The place we were staying in was quaint and perfect. It had a fire place for us to make a fire in nightly, which of course we did. It even had a loft to sleep in. LOVE.
They left us bottles of wine and some candy bars which we of course scarfed down because we were starving. We decided to go to Zermatt to have dinner so we got dressed up and jumped on the train which goes through the station hourly and took it back to Zermatt Central. We found a restaurant just a few feet away from the station and decided it looked delicious so we went in and took a seat. I immediately tried the Switzerland pale ale, it was delicious. We ordered meat and potato dishes and it was just what we needed to warm our cold and stiff bodies. The more we ate, the more we drank, the more we drank, the happy we got. It was a grand night.
After dinner we walked up the street and checked out what all there was. We also did a little after hours window shopping in preparation for the shopping we would be able do throughout the week. After a couple more drinks and a lively bunch at one of the bars up the road we headed back to Randa so we could collapse into our beds. There was much to do and we needed some rest. Just wait for our next adventure!