Stewart Goes Walkies is very pleased to have the latest installment of Allen Lai’s amazing adventures in Europe.
Switzerland, Furka Pass, Rhone Glacier
Once in Switzerland, apart from the change of beautiful alpine scenery along the way, one thing that struck us is the cost of living. Everything is so expensive. A Mcdonald’s hamburger is over double the price in Canada, and they charge extra for ketchup and condiments! A three-course lunch at a roadside restaurant cost Swiss Franc 49.- (CAD 70).
We stopped at Davos, A alpine ski resort town, but also famous today for hosting the World Economic Forum—often referred to simply as “Davos”—an annual meeting of global political and corporate leaders. We checked into the 5-star landmark Alpine Gold Hotel, enjoying the hotel facilities and a nice dinner. The room is beautifully decorated, and what I love best is, the mini bar is on the house.
The next day was spent driving from Vaduz to Tasch, where we boarded the train to Zermatt.
It was over a six-hour drive. In the first part, we fully enjoyed the countryside. The amazing mountains, heaps of crystal clear lakes and beautiful villages, endless pastures, and grazing, make for the most beautiful scenery in Switzerland.
Then from Obergoms. We started zip zap climbing the mountain on the alpine road to Furka Pass, which is recognized as the most Scenic Ride in the Swiss Alps. It twisted and turned all the way. Most parts are barely wide enough for two cars to pass. Add to that, today is cloudy, so we were in and out of the mist. One moment, we could barely see 10 meters, the next we saw over the 1000 feet sheer drop on one side of the road. It made my Disney ride looks like baby stuff.
Swerving precariously around switchbacks, the road tops out at the 2429m (7969ft) Furka Pass, where we could peer across the lunar rockscape of a wind-battered plateau.
After all the full-on, hairpin-riddled drama and views of austere peaks and glaciers that drew constant gasps. I felt like James Bond behind the wheel, and of course, it is this very same road that starred in the car chase scene in the 1964 movie Goldfinger that brings out the 007 in everyone.
On the way down, we stopped by Hotel Belvedere, an iconic Alpine hotel set on one of the many hairpin turns along Furka Pass. It was built in 1882, the Hotel is now abandoned but was a popular spot for exploring the Rhone Glacier. Even Sean Connery was a guest during the filming of Goldfinger.
The Rhone Glacier
The Rhone Glacier is only 200 m away, we took a few photos before the long, sweeping descent to Andermatt. Breathtaking views of deep valleys, small Swiss villages, and twisting hairpin turns to iconic hotels and the oldest glacier in the Alps, Furka Pass is an unforgettable driving experience.
In order to prevent air pollution that could obscure the town’s view of the Matterhorn, the entire town is a combustion-engine car-free zone. From Tasch, we took the 20-minute train ride to the town. It is the mountaineering and ski resort of the Swiss Alps. The narrow streets were packed with hikers, and tourists, and I was reminded of my days in Namche Bazar, a mountain village in Nepal.
That night, we stayed at Hotel Albana Real, a 4.5 stars boutique hotel with 5 stars deco, service, and food. We are keeping our fingers crossed for the weather for Matterhorn tomorrow.
Allen’s adventure brought back childhood memories of vacationing with my parents in Switzerland. I must have been around five years old at the time and recall that it was the very first time I had ever seen snow. In Part Five of his amazing adventure, Allen was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of seeing the Matterhorn in all its glory. We will be bringing you that report soon SGW
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