IM Swiss Tour 2015 # 5 ; Glacier Express

Trees were painted white, hills huddled together under a coat of pale fur; winter had

simultaneously taken all of the color out of the world and given it a new spectrum. Too bad

I couldn’t see any of it, since I was at that moment squinting my eyes shut. Light was

reflecting off of the snow replicating the sensation of staring into the sun. While commonly

known as “snow blindness,” Photokeratitis is an eye condition caused by insufficient

protection of the eyes to ultraviolet light. Fortunately, I doubt I was ever in any real danger

of getting this condition, but even under the protection of my sunglasses the brightness of

the reflecting light was a bit overwhelming. It’s ironic that for a place in the dead of winter I

was constantly wearing my sunglasses. Glancing over at my brother, I could see he was

doing his best impression of a newborn pup, squinting his eyes while taking in the view. His

wrinkled demeanor made it seem as if there was a funny odor in the air. Laughing smugly

to myself, I returned to reading my book on the Glacier Express.

The Glacier Express is an express train connecting various railway stations to the

two major mountain resorts: St. Moritz and Zermatt. The name is a bit of a misnomer since

there is nothing express about it. It’s known as one of the slowest express trains and offers

a leisurely ride through the countryside. Occasionally the conductor will announce certain

points of interest and slow down at popular photo spots. Sitting in second class, our group

ordered a lunch, offering a taste of local specialties, and was able to enjoy a lovely meal

served by a wait staff, which did not seem fazed at all by rambunctious tourists. As the hills

started escalating towards mountain ranges our group desperately kept our eyes out for

the Matterhorn. Every time a mountain peak would pass by someone would yell out,

“Matterhorn!” Unfortunately, no one was correct. Cameras were at the ready, but at the

sight of them, the conductor calmly told us we wouldn’t be able to see a good view until we

arrived at Matterhorn village in Zermatt.

Finally arriving at Zermatt all we had to do was look up and see that familiar

silhouette: Matterhorn. Like a thumb pointing skywards, like the shadow adorning

Toblerone packages, and like the much-loved ride at Disneyland, Matterhorn jutted

upwards revealing a steep rock face, spearing through the wind. What a sight for sore eyes.( Stacey Irawan  / IM )

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