Wednesday 3 October 2012

Walking Matters: Zermatt 8th – 19th Sept 2012 – Day 7

Five Lakes, Flue & Findeln – 11.00 miles / Ascent = 562m / Descent = 1,519m

Today was a special day for us: our 22nd Wedding Anniversary. So we wanted to do something special to mark the occasion, combining two of our favourite things: a good walk and a nice lunch!

It was another beautiful, bright morning – a little on the cool side, perhaps, but full of promise for warmth to come. Our plan was to do the Five Lakes Walk (5-Seenweg) from Blauherd, but to add a bit on mid-way round, get something to eat at our favourite mountain restaurant in Findeln afterwards, and then round it all off with a walk back to town.

We caught an early trip up the Rothornbahn to Blauherd (the middle station, at a relatively lowly 2,570m) and picked up a wide track towards the Stellisee – the first of the five lakes. It can get quite busy round here, but at this time of the morning there were few people around, the lake was calm and still, and the air quality crisp and clear. All of which helped in getting photographs like these.

From here we left the “official” Five Lakes route, heading further up the valley towards the mountain restaurant at Flue where we planned to have coffee. Just coffee, mind: in no way were we going to have any cake. No, sir! We didn’t need it, and we hadn’t earned it yet, so we wouldn’t have any.

I think it was Oscar Wilde who claimed he could resist everything except temptation. As we were waiting for our coffee, three enormous plates of freshly baked, still-warm-from-the-oven cakes were paraded past us, flaunting their charms. Sad to report our willpower crumbled in the face of such provocation as readily as the subsequent cake did.

As penance for our sins, we decided to push on a little further up the valley before connecting to a wonderfully narrow and insubstantial path running along the crest of the lateral moraine high above the Findeln Glacier. Care is required, as the path has a habit of crumbling away as easily as willpower does when confronted by cake. Here, Missy G estimates how big a chunk has collapsed into the void since our last visit.

Soon we were heading for the Grindjisee, the second lake of the day. Like the Stellisee, it is famous for reflecting the Matterhorn in it’s still, clear waters, but the reed-fringed, tree-lined pool has a very different character to the open aspect of its predecessor.

It is rare to get such a stunning combination of still waters, sunny weather and clear, cloudless blue skies, but today conditions were nigh on perfect, and we spent a few minutes taking photos as we circled the pool.

Lake three – the Grünsee – was reached after about half-an-hour of easy walking on stony tracks. Looking back, we could see the face of the moraine we were traversing earlier in all its insubstantial glory.

By now, the fine, warm morning had drawn people outside. With walkers and picnickers out in their droves, the beauty spots were fast becoming crowded – like here. We stopped for a quick rest on a handy bench then hurried on, past the busy Berghaus Grünsee and into the woods, where a fine path descended towards lake number four.

The Moojisee is blessed with waters of the most gorgeous turquoise-blue: the kind that usually can only be found in glacier-fed lakes, and that glitter alluringly through the trees on the descent. Unfortunately, the lake itself it is a man-made concrete-and-metal affair of considerable unloveliness, and not really worthy of a photograph.

So we carried on along a track contouring the hillside towards Findeln. At Eggen, we cut up towards the Sunnegga gondola station (where the walk officially ends) to find the fifth of the five lakes, the Leisee. Sadly this is now a theme park, dedicated to the cartoon sheep we encountered a few days ago, Wolli. It’s busy, noisy and messy, and we didn’t like it: the camera remaining pocketed once again. A “gondola” lift descends all of 15m from the Sunnegga area, so we secretly re-christened the lake “lazy” and turned quickly away.

Having completed the Five Lakes walk, we now had a new goal in mind: Findeln. Findeln is an attractive, traditional hamlet widely spread across sunny hillside about a twenty-minute walk below Sunnegga. More specifically, it is home to Chez Vrony, an excellent restaurant in lovely surroundings, serving good food and with a wonderful view from the terrace.

We had set our hearts on eating here, although information we had was ambiguous as to whether it would be open. As we approached from the rear we could see building work being carried out, and feared the worst. But we needn’t have worried: the place was open and buzzing, and we quickly snuck into one of the few remaining available spaces.

Missy G opted for ravioli of goat’s cheese with caramelised pear and thyme nut butter, while I followed the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall approach of “see the wildlife, eat the wildlife” and opted for jugged Chamois with red cabbage and noodles. Both were excellent, and made for a memorable meal on our special day.

By now it was 3.45pm, so we trundled back to town through the woods alongside the Findelbach. All in all, we’d had a fantastic day – just as we had planned, perfect in every detail, and a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary.

1 comment:

  1. The Matterhorn reflections are stunning, as is the view from that cafe. As you say, the weather and the views all coming together - beautiful.