Thursday 4 October 2012

Walking Matters: Zermatt 8th – 19th Sept 2012 – Day 9

A Leaf Every Day – 10.00 miles / Ascent = 670m / Descent = 637m

After yesterday’s exertions we decided on a bit of an easier day today. A gentle amble round the low level, picturesque villages of Blatten, Furi and Zmutt (eschewing the various lifts) would be followed by time in Zermatt for shopping, reading, generally tidying up – and planning another full day for tomorrow, our last full day.

So it was slightly later than usual that we trundled through town, the early cool having already dissipated. We chose a different way up to Furi this time: via the hamlets of Blatten, where the small chapel is worth a look inside, and Zum See. It’s no more than a steady climb, but even without rushing we were pretty warm by the time we’d reached Furi, and down to shirt-sleeves already.

As we’d promised ourselves an easy day, we stopped for an early coffee break at the Restaurant Furi. It’s surprising what sort of a thirst you can build up if you try. We’d considered aiming for Stafelalp, but a sign informed us that “Montag ist Ruhetag”: closed on Mondays.

Instead, we took the easy road trail towards the dam above Zmutt, crossed the stream over the dam itself, and turned for home. Our lazy start and relaxed pace meant it was already nearing lunchtime, so we picked a grassy spot at the side of the path and sat in the glorious sunshine to eat our sandwiches.

Fifteen minutes further on, we pottered into the charming hamlet of Zmutt. The opportunity to catch a bit of shade in delightful surroundings proved irresistible, so we quickly rustled up another thirst and pulled in for a beer.

Although Zmutt is little more than a chapel, a couple of nice restaurants and a few wonky, wooden houses, it’s a hub for many of the area’s paths that seem to radiate out in all directions. For example, there are four different routes to Zermatt alone.

Today, we picked one we hadn’t used before – and what a revelation it proved to be: plenty of interest; good views; part woodland, part open hillside; an interesting narrow bit with a drop off to the side; even keeping to a high line right until the last minute descent into Zermatt.

One unusual point of interest: we passed by a house sporting a number of poems hanging on the outside walls. This one is entitled “The Book Of Life”.

My translation skills are not great, but roughly speaking it appears to say the following:

When we are born, God gives us all a special book – a diary, so to speak – to record what we do each day. Each day has a clean page, and through our actions we write clearly what we have thought or done, each in our own way. And, when the time comes and we are called to account, God will judge each of us according to what we have written. So don’t waste the pages: and make sure you write well – a leaf every day.

We liked the sentiment in this: each day is precious, a clean slate waiting to be filled with words and deeds. So make the most of it, stand by your principles and live life to the full.

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