Europe, Switzerland

Zermatt’s charm

No Comments 16 October 2010

Zermatt’s charm

In January 2007, the Monkey made for the high peaks of the Swiss Alps, planting himself in the swish village of Zermatt. Famed for the jagged Matterhorn and its ski scene, Zermatt is also a charming mountain town.


View from bridge in center of Zermatt, Switzerland
Set in the base of a valley, the village of Zermatt is bisected by a stream (which no doubt resembles a river when warmer weather melts the snow from the surrounding mountains). Here, the Monkey takes in a view of the stream and the peaks from one of the bridges that span the stream.

Detail of a Swiss chalet, Zermatt, Switzerland
Climbing the steep slopes that encompass Zermatt, one can’t help but happen upon a chalet or ten. These simple, rustic dwellings combine a steep roofline with a sturdy wooden construction, and are something of a symbol of the Swiss (and alpine) way of life. Historically, chalets were summer residences for dairy farmers who brought their cattle to graze in the alpine hills, preserving their produce in the form of cheese and butter. Nowadays, the term is also applied to far ritzier affairs, but here the Monkey admires the workmanship of a traditional chalet.

Schlepp and Monkey on chalet balcony, Zermatt, Switzerland
The Monkey and his pal Schlepp chillaxing on their balcony in Zermatt. While the temperature was brisk, they couldn’t resist the chance to breathe the fresh mountain air.

Monkey in James Bond tunnel, Zermatt, Switzerland
This is not your everyday entryway… The Monkey prepares to take the 200 meter dash up the bizarre tunneled entrance to his Zermatt digs. The apartment was atop a good-sized dollop of alpine rock, and rather than building an elaborate stair-based ingress, the developers opted for the classic “huge-tunnel-bored-out-of-solid-stone” approach. The result: holiday accommodations a James Bond villain would be proud of.

View of Matterhorn from Zermatt, Switzerland
Try as he might, the Monkey couldn’t escape the dominating presence of that Toblerone-shaped rock in the distance. Here, another view of the Matterhorn from a snowy street in Zermatt.

Skiers in Zermatt, Switzerland
It’s a safe bet that many of the visitors who arrive by train in the car-less village of Zermatt come with visions of a skier’s paradise dancing in their wool-capped heads. And, fair enough: Zermatt is one of the world’s premier ski resorts, offering an endless variety of pistes and terrain, stunning views, excellent apr├Ęs-ski opportunities, and all the alpine idyll anyone can handle. Here, the Monkey watches some skiers arriving back in town after a day tearing up the pistes.

View of Zermatt and Matterhorn, Switzerland
While finishing his last run down the piste, the Monkey stumbled upon this unforgettable view of Zermatt and the Matterhorn. Breathtaking.



This Monkey adventure has been viewed 1141 times since the 2010 website relaunch.

Switzerland

   FAST FACTS


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Population:

7,581,520 (2008)

Land area:

39,770 sq. km.

Capital:

Bern (pop. 129,423; 2005)

Economy:

In 2006, Switzerland ranked 7th in the UNDP Human Development Index and 20th in total GDP, with a per capita GDP of $51,032.66. Public debt accounts for 44.2 percent of total GDP, while no figure for the number of Swiss beneath the poverty line is available.

Main language(s):

German, French, Italian, Romansch

Monkey's name:

Der Affe (dare off-uh), Le Singe (luh sonzh), La Scimmia (La Sheem-yah), La Schimgia (La Sheem-yah)

Fun fact:

During the Cold War, all Swiss homes were required to have a built-in bomb shelter. For those unable to comply, the community provided public bomb shelters.



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