Σάββατο, 21 Ιουλίου 2012

Day 2: Milano - Tash - Zermatt - Randa

Very early in the morning I woke up, ate my pizza for breakfast, got my back pack and got out.

I needed a coffee, so I was so glad to see a coffee place open at 7 in the morning in a street corner.

Only locals were on the streets at this hour so I had my capuccino looking at people going to their work on bicycles and early trams doing their routine.

Milano Centrale
It reminded me of Athens on a hot summer day.

Cafferine and nicotine running in my blood, I headed to the Mussolini train station.

Took the train to the airport, waited for the girls to arrive.

I was told there would be a guy waiting with Sylvia's name on a plate.

Italy from the car
I waited long to see her name and my mind was playing games of disaster as always: "You will not find them. You are at the wrong terminal. You will have to take the train to Zermatt."


Finally, I saw the plate, the name, the guy... Water on my mind's fire...

He gave me the plate with the name so he could go out and smoke a cigarette. Here I was, holding the plate! When they saw me, they thought I was their driver! Being the gypsy that I am, I looked like a damn alternative driver!

switzerland from the car
Made the aquaintances, lovely ladies, lovely driver...

Three hours to Tash, the final station before Zermatt.

We passed many lakes before the Italian border, the biggest is Lago Maggiore, which means Big Lake in Italian.

As we drove north, bigger, taller mountains came into our sight. The tallest ones still had snow on their tops!


typical swiss arcitecture...
noone could tell me why
they make houses like this
We reached the Italian-Swiss border and the landscape started changing. Waterfalls, rivers, tunnels... The Swiss have tunnels with rivers running above them! You could see the cows eating grass on green fields and small wodden villages on mountain tops. The Alps.... Heidi would surely be somewhere around here!

Majestic and grand. A sense of power overwhelmed me. I was finally there.

Mountains give me a sense of freshness, a sense of power and I usually get emotional on mountains, I cry a lot. Who knows why...
goats in Zermatt
Now make a picture in your mind. A valley with a river running through and three villages in a row. Randa is lower (1406 m), Tash is a bit higher (1449 m) and Zermatt is the last one in the row and higher above (1620 m). I had booked a hotel in Randa which I will talk about later.


When we arrived in Tash we took the train to Zermatt. It was sunny and warm. A stop in Sylvia's hotel and then out to see the village. Wooden houses with flowers on the balconies, the river with white (freezing I imagine) water from the glaciers... Again very touristic, very expensive and full of Japanese bless them....


After a delicious sandwich from a local bakery and some talkng with the rest of the friends who where already in Zermatt, it was time to go back to Tash and on to Randa to see my hotel and eat a proper dinner.

Trains in Switzerland are like clocks. They work perfectly and you can enjoy the scenery from the huge windows.

I even saw a camping site next to the river and thought they must be freezing at night! These people must be very well equipped to camp in the Alps, co sidering the temperature goes to 0 degrees at night and rising up to 10-15 degrees during day time...

Randa was 15 minutes away from Zermatt. The hotel is one of the last buildings of the village. When I got off the train I thought that this is EXACTLY where I wanted to stay. In a non touristic place. And this village was perfect! On my way to the hotel, I met one old person who smiled and said hello. I greeted him and went my way.

The hotel was fantastic. The owner, Italian Maurizio showed me to my room which was a delight. Would I need a duvet in July? I most certainly would! As soon as I left the room, I went out in the open. Rain was drizzling but it did not stop me.


There was a forest behind the hotel and I walked in the paths which were endless and very well singed for the hikers. I sat on a bench, smelling the trees and listening to the sounds of the forest. Big rocks behind me formed the infamous Alps. Squirrels. Birds. I sat with my back against the tree.



How on earth did I manage to get here? It was a miracle, a dream come true. A dream I believed so strongly, it became true. I wished Freeda was here with me! She would happily run among the trees and chase the birds she could not catch...



My stomach started rumbling, so I went to eat in the hotel's reastaurant. A wooden trattoria with Italian food.  I cose the tagliatelle with wild boar. And a glass of wine. This is where I met Elena, Maurizio's wife. A tall lady with a big smile. She made sure I was ok. She even brought me a salad Maurizio had made because I would wait for the main course. He had put a rose inside... Such a beautiful gesture...



The day had come to an end. I went to bed early and set up my alarm for 6.30 the next morning. The reason I was here would be fulfilled tomorrow.


2b continued...


ps blogger is giving me a hard time with the right lining of photographs. So I decided to change the format a bit. Do you prefer this one, or the previous one? I'd love to hear your feedback...

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