TRIP: Grand Tour of Switzerland Pt1/4 (Schaffhausen – Furka – Zermatt)

Since our original vacation plans in norway got cancelled, we had to re-organize ourselves. Me and my wife decided to visit some places in switzerland that were on our bucket-list, and i conviced her to take the EK9 for the first part and include some mountain-passes which were on the way. She happily agreed. We divided our tour into two parts. the first one was more mountain oriented, the second one more lake-oriented. But the plans for part two changed (read that in a later post). Because of the many pictures i took, i decided to break the story into 4 parts. Welcome to Part one. Schaffhausen to Zermatt.

We packed our stuff into the EK9 and started at our Homebase in Schaffhausen towards Zürich and Lucerne on the A4 Autobahn.
Since the EK9 preferes curves, we decided to leave the Autobahn around Zug and take the “Axenstrasse” wich is an alternative route around the city of Zug with nice views of lakes (Lake Zug, Lake Lauerz and the Vierwaldstädtersee) and the upcoming mountains:

Once you start to see the Mountain pass signs, the climb upwards beginns…

The first mountain part was between Göschenen and Andermatt, which is a lovely road but often quite crowded, since it also leads towards the Gotthard pass and the city of Andermatt, which is a famous holiday destination.

Nevertheless, it’s a fun and beautiful road:

On the way there is a stop at the “Devils Bridge” (Teufelsbrücke). A bridge with a famous swiss Saga about locals winning over the devil, and a rich history in Wars and of connecting the south and north of the alps. You’ll also find a 30minute walk, which leads you through some WWII army bunker tunnels, which there are plenty of in this area and is surrounded by nice smelling alp flowers, wild herbs and a waterfall…

After the hillclimb to Andermatt, the Realp road starts with a valley…

Which then slowley gets steeper and steeper and leads you to the famous Furka pass road:

On the top, we had to take some pictures and enjoy the view:

This is what to expect on the road down 🙂

Just a few hundred meters down the road from the top viewpoint, there is another place you should definitely stop by. Belvedere. It’s an old, now defunct “belle epoque” hotel, where the rich and famous (some Sean Connery, etc.) used to stay. The area was also used to shoot parts of the 007 “Goldfinger” movie in 1964…

Because a look out the hotel-window, you used to see the Rhone glacier. Unfortunately due to climate warming it has melted and is now not visible anymore from the hotel. Still you can do a short walk from the parking lot to have a look at the remaining glacier and the lake. There’s also a cave in the glacier where you can walk around inside the ice. Pretty impressive.

There’s also a little restaurant on the other side. Don’t buy the pre-packed sandwich stuff. I recommend having a “Wiener” sausage pair and homemade potato sallade along this incredible view, for a little brake.

We also spotted a couple of historic Postal and transportation busses in the parking, which were used in the past to bring people and goods over exact this pass:

After our little lunch, the road went meandering back down on the other side of the mouintains

And through the valley of Goms, which is sprinkled with old mountain villages. Lovely… We drove on to the village of Täsch, were we had to leave our car in a covered parking lot…

Because we went to the famous skiing and hiking spot of Zermatt. Which is car-free and only accessible by a short train shuttle from Täsch. But it’s worth it all. Because you get greeted by one of switzerlands world famous views. The Matterhorn (aka the Toblerone Mountain :D)

We stayed two nights there and went sight-seeing and hiking. Interestingly there’s a strong connection between Zermatt and japanese mountaineers, as different signs showed:

The next day we took the famous Gornergrat cogwheel train, high up the Gornergrat mountain:

To have a lovely look at the Matterhorn, the many surrounding glaciers and everything around it.

The Flora and Fauna is amazing up there and while the matterhorn tip was cloudy when we were there, we had the luck to see the cotton grass bloom and see all those rare Mountain animals… (Marmots, Chamois, Capricorns, Valais Blacknose mountain sheeps,…)

And we also saw the “Air zermatt” (famous of netflix documentation “The horn”) doing some incredibly crazy manouvres. Those air-rescue and mountain transportation guys sure know how to fly a helicopter. Insane!!!

We then hiked down an entire day back to zermatt, which i can not recommend if you have troubles with your back or knees. But you get rewarded with amazing views, clean air and the joy of hiking. I also definitely recommend to try a “Zermatt beer” in one of the intermediate train stations or small cottage restaurants along the way. And maybe some food like a “Wallisser Platte” (a cold plate full of local cured meat and mountain cheeses with some bread). Heaven

The next day we spent shopping, eating and checking out zermatt itself and the Famous “Ricola” (of coughing candy fame) herbs garden, which is definitely worth a little hike. There’s also a cable car, but despite the pain from the previous day, we still decided to walk. Excellent food, good (local) wine, lovely people and those small mountain cottages from the 17xx’s are just amazing…

This is it for pt. 1. stay tuned for pt. 2 where we hit the road again for some other mountain passes….

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