The Matterhorn is a very well known landmark associated with Switzerland and for good reason. While my entire exchange was filled with beautiful places and memorable experiences, Zermatt was easily my favorite memory and favorite place. Before being able to hike, I had to take a train from Zurich to Zermatt. While on the train, the view was unbelievably beautiful, I felt overwhelmed by the mountainous views, yet I was only getting a small taste of what Zermatt had coming for me.
Hiking and camping in Zermatt is easily one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. I had gone to Zermatt twice on my exchange. The first time I went on a day-long hike and was amazed, even though I felt so high up, I was still surrounded by even higher mountains. I had taken a funicular up and then began hiking for hours and yet by the end of the hike, I felt as though I was on the ground level surrounded by mountains. The entire hike was incredibly varied, across rivers, rocks, and forested areas. However even more beautiful than the landscape was the wildlife. In the middle of the hiking trail there sat a group of mountain goats. Seeing mountain goats with the Matterhorn in the background felt beautifully unreal and encapsulated a Swiss hike.
However the mountain goats were far from the only wildlife seen, I also got to see marmots for the first time. Marmots are incredibly speedy and quick to hide within rock structures. The second time I went I bravely decided to camp in the cold. Camping in Zermatt was incredibly freezing and worth every second of cold. Once the sun had set, the stars came out and lit up the mountains. I have never seen that many stars in my life. It was a gorgeous view that felt unreal. Waking up, the view from my tent was the iconic Matterhorn and the sun came out to warm me up, making for one of the most memorable mornings of my life.