The Matterhorn Rebellion
[K-Team European Adventures 2014]
One morning in August 2014, I rose early to catch the sunrise on the mountains surrounding Saas Fee in Switzerland. My husband also woke early to organise the earlier-than-other-places’-check-out at 9.00am. A shadow of disappointment rested on us as we adjusted to the reality that we would miss viewing the Matterhorn—not as a result of the weather, the weather was perfect, but because certain members of our gang feared they could not afford the expense of travelling to the other side to see the Matterhorn. (In retrospect, in a large travel group there’s always going to be differing agendas and opinions where to go and what to do and plenty of drama to go with it.)
The fallout from the Matterhorn Rebellion had settled and we had made the best of our Saas Fee visit with the previous day spent up the Honig instead. An aside here, how family myths are created. One member of our crew, insisted for years to come that I had been stalked and attacked by goats up on the Honig. I was not stalked and attacked by goats. Although, the thoughtless person who left a plastic bag of waste tied to a bench seat, has a lot to answer for. Let’s just say, that anyone who sat on that seat was assured of company. Goats, that is.
Hence, the next morning, our last in Saas Fee, after catching the sun’s rays spreading over the mountains, we ate our muesli breakfast admiring the view…until the others in our party made an appearance.
However, for some members, the novelty of early starts had worn off. So, after some more drama, where the morning views of the mountains surrounding Saas Fee were not appreciated, my husband, his brother and I were left to sort out the garbage. Saas Fee being a green village, had a particular protocol regarding waste disposal.
I rang the hotel management. My Swiss-German being non-existent, and my German not much better, this was a challenge to understand what we were to do with the waste. We were meant to have an orange bag for the garbage. Where was that? My husband hiked down to the hotel reception, while his brother and I vacated the apartment. We waited in the courtyard for my husband to return. He did, just before the taxi arrived—and with an orange bag.
En route to the car (being a car-free village, all cars had to be parked in a carpark outside Saas Fee), with the loads of bags the others left for us to transport by taxi, the driver stopped at a humble wooden hut. He took our orange garbage bag and, after opening the door of the hut, tossed the bag inside. I marvelled that even the garbage-disposal sites were disguised as mini alpine huts.
After finding our car, and loading the baggage into it, we walked to the cable-car station. We caught up with the rest of our party at the Revolving Restaurant at Mittelallalin. We rode the two cable-cars and then cog-wheel train which went through the mountain tunnel to Mittelallalin at 3500m. The brisk but thin alpine air, the blue skies and bright white peaks of fresh fallen snow melted the misunderstandings of morning away and peace was made.
At 1pm, the younger members of our party decided to head down the mountain and start the drive back to Wattwil and the farm. Us “oldies” stayed to investigate the ice-caves inside the Fee glacier. When we prepared to leave the mountain, we saw the line-up for the cog wheel train was wide, thick and long with skiers who had the same idea. Maybe after some lunch the crowd would thin. Not so. Lunch did nothing to thin the crowd. Took us nearly an hour, crushed in by school-age skiers and their big ski gear bags whopping in front of our faces, and slowly inching forward as we watched three cog wheel trains cram skiers and snow-boarders in and then leave without us. There was even a “ghost” train. It came. It went. Without any passengers. Go figure!
‘Why the long face, son?’ his mother asked.
‘All this way, I’ve come,’ he muttered, ‘perfect weather, and we were so close…and I still couldn’t see the Matterhorn; thanks to the Matterhorn Rebellion.’
So, as the sun set on the Alps, disappointment settled in the hearts of certain K-Team members, who had missed out on their goal to see the Matterhorn.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2018; 2022
*Feature Photo: Dawn on the Dom © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2014
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