Monday, January 11, 2010

Saas-Fee and Blue Snow

The months of November and December have left me in a daze. With all the people visiting and the bundle of day trips and overnight trips taken, I am starting to lose track of where we have been and which stories I have already covered with y'all. I think they would call this "traveler's brain", kind of like "pregnancy brain" where your brain turns to complete mush and you forget which tram takes you home or the dog's name (at least that's what I hear -- don't get your hopes up, people). So, one trip I think I forgot to mention was to Saas-Fee when Marc-ie Marc was in town.

I have no valid excuse for forgetting this city. I think it was the highlight of Marc's visit for me. Saas-Fee is in the same region of Switzerland as Zermatt, close to the Italian boarder. This trip might never have happened without my procrastination on booking a hotel room in Zermatt. If no one has told you yet, you have to book out rooms well in advance during ski season and especially between Christmas and New Years when we were going. You would think late September would have been enough time, but you would be wrong. I ended up finding a place in Visp, which is where you switch trains to get to Zermatt. Just makes sense that we should go the other direction the next day after spending a day in Zermatt and then sleeping in Visp.

The bus trip to get to Saas-Fee is not for the weak. You are driving along cliffs of a mountain, staring down I don't know how many hundreds of feet (a lot), on icy streets that either fit two teeny cars or one gigantic bus, and you are hauling it through tunnels where the driver has to sound a loud horn because he can't see what is 6 feet in front of him. It's intense, but if you can handle an hour of that, you are good to go.

Once we got to town we made our way to the Alpine Express to catch two gondolas and one train up to the top of the mountain range at Allalin. This time I don't think we were the only ones wearing jeans and not skiing. If you go to Saas-Fee, you go to see the blue snow. Not yellow snow, but blue. There are massive glaciers under heaps of snow and they give off this blueish glow to the snow. Ridiculously beautiful. It was worth standing in the freezing cold, feeling like the wind was gonna swipe you off your feet and off the mountain at any given second. This might just be the most beautiful spot in Switzerland. It is so hard to compare it to the Matterhorn or Jungfrau. All are amazing and all should be seen. It's more than that. All should be experienced.

Hard to get that glowing effect in the pictures, but see the greyish-blue areas...that is all glacier, baby.

After freezing our fingers off from snapping pictures, we grabbed lunch in the "World's Highest Revolving Restaurant". Cracks me up. Everything is something here. Food was nothing special, but it was a cool way to take in the views warmly.

One last thing to do before heading down the mountain. For 5 CHF we had to check out the Ice Pavilion -- the "World's Largest Ice Pavilion". It was pretty fun running around an ice cave, in and out of little tunnels, and going down the kiddie slide. I had to. I fit. Why not? The craziest thing was having to walk out of the cave. Going up maybe 50 stairs was tough. I was definitely having a hard time breathing. You sometimes forget how little air there is from that high of an altitude. No worries though, we all made it out safe 'n sound.

Looking forward to our next trip there sometime. I have to get my ski on here.

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