Whoa – Where to even begin? To say that the past week plus has been action-packed would be an understatement! It also seems unreal that I’ve been in Zermatt just over a week. And, to be honest, just the fact that I’m here and that this is my view in the mornings is unreal:
To backtrack to last week, I flew to JFK last Thursday and met up with the other teachers and the students to fly to Geneva as a group. Once we arrived Friday morning, we took a bus and then a train to Zermatt, and we hit the ground running, as they say. Saturday and Sunday we hiked and played a lot of get-to-know-you-games (it’s a bit like summer camp, but with an academic component and, well, it’s obviously not summer). Saturday we went to Klein Matterhorn (via chairlift) and spent plenty of time ooh-ing and aah-ing. I also spent a lot of time shivering and thinking about all of the warm clothes that I left in storage.
I am lame and have zero photos of my own from our Sunday hike – in large part because it was grey and rainy in Zermatt when we left, and I had zero expectations that it would turn out to be a lovely day. It did, so I cursed myself the entire time. But, we took the train to Riffelberg, a charming little… hamlet? (it certainly isn’t much of a town!) and then hiked from there to Rotenboden (no joke, that is the name of a… place). It was a stunning hike, and I couldn’t stop dropping the superlatives. It gave me a sense of the scale of the Alps, which are sharp and rather unforgiving but beautiful. At the same time, the Swiss have ‘civilized’ the mountains in a certain way, as you pass through tiny villages or hamlets on the side of a mountain or take a chairlift right up to a peak.
We finished the hike on Sunday with dinner at the Riffelalp Resort which, while an amazing place to dine because of the view and good food, wasn’t overly formal. It was, I think, the most beautiful place where I’ve ever eaten because of the scenery – I felt incredibly lucky to watch the sun set over the Alps while eating dinner. The only way that it could have been a more perfect day is if I could have shared it with Michael rather than with 50 students and 13 other faculty members!
As for Zermatt – I am getting to know the town and already have a few favorite bakeries. It is small, set in a valley, and is accessible only by train (although, yes, there are locals who have cars). It hasn’t blessed us with perfect weather, but maybe I appreciate the sunny days even more, especially when we can see the Matterhorn towering in the south. The program is fast-paced – we started class on Monday and we keep the kids busy, which means that we stay busy! I do appreciate that I’ve taught before and have the experience to “wing” certain things, but on the whole, I like the students whom I’m teaching and the faculty with whom I’m working. It’s also hard to complain when this is where I’m working:
And this was my “office” over the weekend:
This seems a bit patchy – there are gaps to fill in, and I’m not sure that I’ve explained well at all what I’m doing here (other than it’s a mid-life crisis) and what life is REALLY like. But I’m still trying to take it all in myself!