Gornergrat (Switzerland)

Gornergrat was a wonderful snowy vista that probably the best view of the big rock, The Matterhorn. Since Gornergrat is accessible from Zermatt, one fine Swiss summer morning we reached Zermatt.
The picturesque yet sleepy little alpine village in the Valais region of Switzerland was a place that was totally engrossed in mountaineering and skiing. And for us, Zermatt was a place where we could relax and admire and feel the majestic presence of a little more than 14,500 feet Klein Matterhorn which loomed above, almost in the back yard of the mountain hamlet. 
We reached Zermatt by the graceful ‘Glacier Express’ from Brig. The narrow gauge railway continued up to the picturesque town of Zermatt. The train ride was breathtakingly beautiful and travelled through some of the most scenic vistas in entire Switzerland; ploughing up through the snow-encrusted Alps, the train reached Zermatt Bahnhof, (railway station). 
We were ready to visit Zermatt’s most talked about attraction, the Matterhorn Peak and visited the local Swiss Alpine Mountain Tour office to inquire about visits to Gornergrat that would take us much nearer to ‘The Big Rock’ as the mountaineers admiringly call it. 
Matterhorn has a dominating presence in the entire town and its visibility and attractiveness from all corners can make anyone crave for touching it.
We took a narrow gauge train that encircled the entire peak through the snowy tracks and wooden tunnels with glass windows; all flanked by snow and protected from avalanche by sturdy sheds, giving us absolutely superb views of the peak from all possible angles. We stopped at Riffelealp, where one could get off and trek up to the Gornergrat base station and after a while reached the snow clad base station of Gornergrat. 
Surrounded by the different peaks of Alps, mainly the Monte Rosa, the mighty and imperishable Matterhorn stood straight, unscathed by the ravages of time. The other attraction of Gornergrat were two charming St Bernard dogs complete with brandy flasks, that became the stars as they patiently posed for photos with visitors with the Matterhorn in the background, looking even more spectacular in the blazing sunshine. We made good time up there admiring the entire natural set up and playing in the snow and visiting the observatory.
Due to a very high altitude with the clean, dry air and the favourable meteorological conditions, Gornergrat is an ideal site for astronomical observations. Since 1974 the North Observatory has been rented to the Italian Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, and the south observatory to Germany’s University of Cologne. Both include cupolas, computer rooms, lab, workshop, living room, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms and a room with a liquid air machine with an infrared telescope. 
There is a very fine restaurant there that served good food, especially the Swiss delicacies Raclette, Rostii and of course the most popular Spaghetti Bolognaise. Finally, the skies were starting to get quite light and it was time for the last train to Zermatt. A little prior to sunset, the temperature dropped drastically and the strong cold wind took to Gornergrat.
We boarded the same cogwheel train to return to the hotel only to meet Heidi on a Swiss television channel. At that point I could quite relate to her feelings; the magic of the ‘mountains’ was too captivating.