Alps log: day 15-16

Daylight. I’m sleeping soundly in my tent. It’s a beautiful clear day, but I have already decided today would be a rest day. After walking kilometers for every day for over two weeks, a day’s rest would be nice, thanks.

Breakfast made after a supermarket run. I have been eating a bar of chocolate a day, trying as many types of this Swiss specialty as is nutritionally permissible. This tasting strategy is probably negating all my gains (or rather, my losses) from hiking, but it’s alright, I can continue to get by on my boyish charm still, right? That never gets old.

Find a cafè with wireless and settle down for a while. Hot chocolate. I finish Revolutionary Road. 3 dL of beer. I try to digest the meaning of the book. I try writing a few more posts. I pen a few emails.

I go for a walk, camera slung behind me. This town reminds me exactly of Lijiang, with its old town charm hollowed out and served into a distinct neighborhood to the cartable masses, with a pretty iconic mountain in the background.

I visit the climber’s graveyard, where fittingly, one of the best views of the Matterhorn can be had from town. Each headstone tell a concise story. “Michael 1968-1985, Died on the northern face,” one reads. The members of the first party to ascend the Matterhorn (half died tragically on the descent) are there.

I check out the souvenirs shops, debating whether i need more junk. Got to say, the Swiss have a great design to work with. Take anything, make it red, slap a white square cross on it: instant Swiss gear. Unfortunately they don’t stop there; they also slap an elegant “SWITZERLAND” on the front too. Must everything be so obvious? A
small logo above the breast, a wink, an inside joke. We were there, we know, you weren’t, you don’t, you’ll have to ask (“oh this old thing? Why Johnny and I got this in Zermatt, Switzerland, hey honey, do you remember when we went to zermatt, yes, zermatt. Zer-matt. Two T’s. No, that’s in Spain. Zermatt. You lost your glasses there. Yes. Yes. That was Zermatt. Anyway, I got this in Zermatt.”)

Somehow it’s dinnertime. Tonight is my dinner date with Paul and Kate. We dine at Chez Gaby and swap final tales of our last few days. We do some more Brit-American comparisons. On the menu is something called “Chinese Fondue” which instantly has my defenses up. Google tells me this is, in fact, just hot pot, but I still suspect it involves something with gongs and ching chong wing wong. Anyway, we all have röstis (this now my third). We talk smack about the Dutch. They head back on a train to Täsch, where they’re staying, but not before we exchange email addresses and wish each other well.

I go to bed. When I wake up the next morning, I have a feeling in my bones. I half-unzip the tent flap. Clouds. Down to the trees. ugh. I go back to bed. Hike to Schöublehut (7hrs round trip) cancelled.

Arise again at 9am and make another lazy day in Zermatt. I walk the entire town, all the way to the suburb of Winklematten. I find a pub patio to settle into, Papperla Pub, whose name i didn’t understand until I heard a norwegian say it outloud, at which point I hated it.

By 11am, the sky is completely clear. My lunch arrives, a wrap, and a 5 dL of Kronenburg 1664. A line on my glass marks the exact volume. I am getting a very precise and scientific buzz. Read three of Nine Stories by JD Salinger. After this, I’m taking a break from 1950s American fiction. Everyone is a fucking lush. They drink like they lived through Prohibition and are afraid it’ll come back any day. Another 5 dL of Kronenberg 1664. I might just get quietly drunk here all by myself. The fine thing about drinking in alpine towns is that any flush can be attributed to sun exposure. Hiccup.

I decide the legs could use a stretch. Broad daylight, high sun, there I am, teetering down the glamorous streets of Zermatt, honking people out of my way. Honk. Honk. Hallo. Perdón.

Highly disappointed by the lack of Helvetica in the store signs. This font should be everywhere.

Supermarket. I discover these amazing “paprika chips”, which I’ve decided is merely barbeque flavour. I conjecture that barbeque is not a compelling notion to Europeans. See, I am learning much about other cultures on this trip.

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