Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Zermatt: The Village

For our last day in Lenk, we decided to go to Zermatt (hah! So no Lenk after all). We had one day left on our Swiss Rail Passes, and Dad said even though it's super touristy, Zermatt should be seen.

This is what McDonalds looks like in Zermatt.

I'm not sure why, but I got a little bit nervous on the train ride, and was still feeling a little anxious when we arrived in town. So while Andrew, Dad and David went up the Gornergrat (one of the mountains here), Elisabeth and I explored the village.

We found a friendly marmot.

She was much happier taking her picture with the marmot than the giant bratwurst.

There are lots of carriage rides in Zermatt.

And dad was right. It's super touristy. Swatch stores, Lindt stores, all kinds of tourist and rich people stores..

But kind of beautiful too.

Even in Zermatt, any of the stores I was interested in perusing were all closed for two hours over lunch.

So we posed by the giant ice cream cone.

And then found an interesting alleyway to wander up.

See how the houses are built? With the little toadstools of rock under them?

Dad says that's to prevent rats and mice from running up into the houses.

We found a spot where we could glimpse the Matterhorn.

And this adorable patio, complete with the carrot garland.

Then we stumbled upon this quaint little church.

There was a little cemetery in the grounds, so Elisabeth and I went to explored.

We were very confused, all the graves were for British people. But then we realized they'd all been killed in climbing or rock fall accidents here in Zermatt.

Turns out this church is part of the Church of England Diocese and they have parishes for English speaking peoples abroad. Makes sense now.

See that little house up there?
I can't even.

We continued on through town, in pursuit of the perfect picture of the Toblerone peak.

By now we were ignoring the stores and only stopping for photo ops. Like here, with this goat.

This was a pretty good spot, but after I got this picture  I said, now let's go to that balcony and see if we can get a better picture.

So we did. But then I said, let's see if we can walk to the end of town. I wonder how the pictures would be there...

And we could see the mountain even better. But then I said, let's walk along the river and see where that takes us.

And we wandered up along this trail.

Where I said "Let's just go to that corner."

And it was incredibly beautiful.

But eventually my ploys only worked for so long. And Elisabeth lost patience with me (yes, that's what she said. MOM I'm LOSING PATIENCE with YOU).

So reluctantly (and because it was almost time to meet the guys) we turned around.

*sigh* just heavenly.

I rewarded her for all her hiking by buying her an icecream cone.

And she obliged me by posing with the first ascent crew.

And then we waited for the men.

Schloss Thun

We're kind of castle freaks. I mean, we can never get enough of them. We had one day left to do a family trip. Originally we had thought we might go to Lucerne, but because we hadn't managed to see Schloss Thun last week, we decided to go back yesterday.

After being accosted from someone from Radio Energy and asked to greet Thun from Canada, we made our way up the stairs.

It was another opportunity for me to take some pictures of the kids.

And play with my HDR app on my phone. Sometimes it works a little better than others...

Then, using our Swiss passes, we went into the castle museum.

These are bones they found when excavating...probably from the massive feasts that used to go on in the castle.

A shadow box in the first exhibit played this scene on the wall.

Interestingly enough, Castle Thun has changed immensely since the last time we were there. They've condensed their old exhibits (which is a shame, we really loved them), and added some new informational sections. In this first room, we read about the history of the castle and the city.

Guess what animal this bone is from, then stick your hand in the shadow box to find out if you were right. UH NO THANKS.

The one thing they really did improve was all the interactive stations for kids. Like in this hall where they had this knight gear.

And a place to sign your name to the Thun Charter.
(notice the date?)
And a little dress up section.

She's not just an imperial queen.

She's a lethal knight. Watch out!

We really loved the floor in this hall.

And all the colourful crests and tapestries.

Then we climbed up another floor and looked at pottery. These are made especially for tourists with cities depicted on them. Even Edinbrugh!

The kids really got into the prison rooms. They set up all these photos.

Look at the locks!

Then David and I went up another floor. This room was only accessible if you'd bought the Knight's Pass and then you could do Knight Training.

David was really disappointed he couldn't train to be a knight.

Even after he was shot by an arrow.