Day Five....First Day InSwitzerland

12:42 AM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

Not much sleep last night. As I mentioned before, I am lactose intolerant so after eating all that cream and cheese I was up all night with an upset tummy. Of course, breakfast was awesome so I couldn't help myself despite not being hungry and the fact that we had a very special lunch reservation at noon. By the time I rolled down to the breakfast room it was 9am. I will only have a nibble, I thought...derrr. how soon I forget where I am. I had french bread with ham and cheese, homemade yogurt with pineapple, a croissent roll with butter and homemade berry jam and orange juice. I tried to justify it all by having some soothing chammomile tea. I was stuffed when we left the hotel at ten but wasn't feeling sick anymore so I was pleased.
Once again we rose and rose in elevation. The drive was incredible with more surprises around every corner. Vineyards on steep cliffs, little cottages clinging to mountain sides, green pastures with happy, cute, clean cows...just perfect scenery. We drove across the Swiss border and on into a town called Sierre. This town houses a restaurant that is famous for Raclette. I love that dish so I searched the internet for the ultimate and came across this place. Château de Villa is nestled in the hills above Sierre, the restaurant was serving outside on the shaded patio. I ordered the regular Raclette which is what they are famous for and consists of five different cheeses brought to you in five servings then it is all you can eat of any of the cheeses you like most. There was a chef working the raclette station which was also situated outside so we. Would watch him at work. And work he did. There had to be 50 to 70 people eating there for lunch, most of who ordered the raclette.
For those who do not know what raclette is, it is a type of cheese. It usually comes in a half wheel that is placed under some sort of heating device. As the cheese melts you or the chef scrapes the melted part onto a plate. The dish is commonly served with little boiled potatoes, cocktail onions and cornichons. We had our meal with a bottle of Fondant, which is a local type of light, spritzy, white wine. The meal was perfect. The experience quite memorable.
After lunch we drove on to Tasche. Tasche is where you leave your car to take the train to Zermatt. In regular Swiss efficency, the train was right on time, quiet, clean and comfortable. Our hotel the Alpenrose, is on the north side of the valley that is Zermatt and faces south....right down upon the town and the Matterhorn that looms above. My room is so awesome. I can lay in bec and see the iconic mountain. Right now I am sitting on my porch in the sun looking up at the Matterhorn listening to the church bells ring out that it is 5:15. It rings every fifteen minutes. To get to our hotel, we walked our baggage across the square and to a door that is the entrance to a tunnel leading into the hillside. We followed the tunnel to an elevator that took us to our hotel. This made it very convenient to move our luggage. To get into town once we have settled, we choose to take the 15 mi Ute walk down the road because the exercise feels good and the scenery is unbeatable.
The town of Zermatt is dominated by the Matterhorn and has a glacial river flowing through it. Everywhere you go you can see the Alps and hear the rushing water. The town is relatively quiet though, despite the population of residents and tourists. I this k this is because there are no cars here. The only vehicles are electric golf carts but there are only a few of those. Another interesting thing about the town is that some people have chosen to build their little brown huts waaaay up on the steep hillside. These people have a major hike if they want to get to town.
We settled in then took a walk into town. It took me all day to acclimate to the altitude. I kept feeling like I was on an invisible elevator. This made shopping difficult because I kept fearing I was going to break something. We decided to head back to the hotel for an afternoon drink. I had a campari soda which always really makes me feel like I am in Europe. I think that helped me feel a little less woozy from the elevation. We went up to our rooms to freshen up and headed down to dinner. We are at a cute little wooden hut at the top of town called the Cafe du Pont. Inside it was cozy and they served authentic Swiss food. Dad had sausage and rosti potatoes (which is similar to a buttery, creamy has brown) and mom and I split a cheese fondue. It was....so good. Once I had thrown my stomach into the lactose deep end, I was able to eat two main meals in a row that featured cheese with little reprocussions. My parents had beers but I wanted wine so I ordered a half liter of a local fondent. The fondue came with chunks of bread and little potatoes. The bread was nice and soft which I like because the cheese really soaks in. The fondue itself was a blend of cheeses but not the normal blend I am used to having at home. This was milder but they put a bu ch of cracked pepper in it to punch it up. The old chef that had worked at the restaurant for so many years....at least 11 yeas ago when I last ate at this restaurant when he was pretty old even then....came out to greet us. This is a good thing because he gave my parents a scare when he didn't come out when they were here last October. This is the man who taught us the proper way to eat fondue: you dip the bread then rotate it ten to es. This ensures that it will. Not be too hot when you eat it. Of course, we have been eating fondue for decades but it is cute that he teaches us.
We took a little walk up into the hills before we steered ourselves home. I had a nightcap of my pear eau de vie and slept pretty well. Tomorrow: a full day in Zermatt




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