On this sunny morning we started with a short lecture about the high mountain passes by Beatrice Wüst. In the middle ages people were “climbing” over the passes of the Alps (pilgrims, merchants even the pope). The controller of Simplon Pass was Mr. Stockalper who built the castle in Brig. From Brig to Rome it took 35 days on foot. There were hospices on the way, where the poor got free food and accommodation. Napoleon constructed a road. By 1906 the Simplon tunnel was completed and it was the longest tunnel in the world till the 60’s, although it was nearly blown up by the Germans during WWII. This photo is from an old post carriage from the Stockalper castle.
After the introduction we went for a guided tour in the Stockalper Castle which was the largest private castle. He was obsessed with the nr 3, his castle had 3 towers, 3 sections and he also said the ideal life should have 3 parts: 30 years of education, 30 years of work then 30 year of retirement. He had a long life, so he could fulfill this in the 17th century.
We got on a train to Zermatt, which is one of the oldest and most elegant mountain resorts. If you are arriving by car you need to leave your car in the previous village and take a train. In Zermatt there are only horse drawn carriages and electric cars to keep the air clear.
The most famous sight of Zermatt is the Matterhorn (4478 m – ca. 15000), which is not the highest mountain in Switzerland, but since it has a very characteristic shape, many people wanted to climb it. You can find the graves of some of the unlucky climbers in the local cemetery. We took an underground funicular to the Sunnegga (2288 m – ca. 7550 ft). Once we got up there we had an amazing view of the Matterhorn.
Tonight we tasted a local specialty Cholera – a pastry filled with potatoes, apples, cheese and onion. It was delicious! We also had a story telling evening tonight with Beatrice.