top of page
  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

The hummingbird hawk-moth loves the flowers of Zermatt

Off to Zermatt today. Took the train from Interlaken West to Spiez; from Spiez to Visp, and then from Visp to Zermatt. In Visp we have the narrow gauge until the cogwheel engages just outside the train station.

There is only one track, so the trains are precisely timed. The train traveling to Zermatt goes a short distance and then stops at a pullout to let a train coming from Zermatt pass. This goes on for approximately an hour.

The Lötschberg Tunnel is a 14.612 km (9.079 m) long railway tunnel on the Lötschberg Line, which connects Spiez and Brig at the northern end of the Simplon Tunnel cutting through the Bernese Alps.

Since February 2008, the Lötschberg Tunnel has been routinely used for normal InterCity routes. Travel time between Visp and Spiez is about 28 minutes, of which 16 minutes is spent inside the tunnel.

Warm groundwater continuously drains from the LBT. The warmth of this water flowing out of the tunnel is used to heat the Tropenhaus Frutigen, a tropical greenhouse producing exotic fruit, sturgeon meat and caviar.

The hummingbird hawk-moth is a species of hawk moth. The species is named for its similarity to hummingbirds, as they feed on the nectar of tube-shaped flowers using their long proboscis while hovering in the air; this resemblance is an example of convergent evolution.

It is a strong flier, dispersing widely in the summer. However it rarely survives the winter in northern latitudes (e.g. north of the Alps in Europe).

"Two or more broods are produced each year. The adult may be encountered at any time of the year, especially in the south of the range, where there may be three or four broods. It overwinters as an adult in a crevice among rocks, trees, and buildings. On very warm days it may emerge to feed in mid-winter. Unlike other moths, they have no sexual dimorphism in the size of their antennal lobes."

""The forewings are brown, with black wavy lines across them, while the hindwings are orange with a black edge. The abdomen is quite broad, with a fan-tail of setae (a stiff structure resembling a hair or a bristle) at the end. The wingspan is 40–45 millimeters (1.6–1.8 in).

Vineyards cling to the hillsides around Visp. Not sure if whites or reds are popular in this region. I will have to research this.

Around St. Niklaus the homes, barns, and cheese houses have slate roofs.

Zermatt is a car-free town at the end of the valley, so the only connection is the frequent train shuttle from the Täsch railway station. Car drivers can park their cars at Täsch and continue to Zermatt by train. It is located about 5 km (3.1 mi) north of Zermatt.

Many bee houses around Täsch.

The municipality is located in the Visp district, in the Mattertal Valley, which contains almost all the highest peaks in the Alps such as Monte Rosa, Dom, and Weisshorn. The 4,490 m (14,730 ft) high Täschhorn lies directly above the village. It consists of the village of Täsch and the hamlets of Zermettjen and Täschberg as well as the Täschalp hiking region.

I love seeing the hustle and bustle around the train station. Horse drawn carriages and electric carts wait to whisk people away to their hotels.

Once we arrive in Zermatt, I like to walk through town and see the Matterhorn first. Flowers are everywhere!!! Love to window shop. The hanging basket flowers come in all sorts of colors. Souvenir shops, clothing stores, bakeries, chocolate shops, shoe stores, watch stores, restaurants, hotels, cheese storage huts, etc line the street. If you need ski boots, hiking boots, or walking shoes, they have it.

Brats have been sold from this location for as long as I can remember.

I love marmot ointment. Helps those sore muscles.

This was on the counter of one of the stores.

"A smile costs less than electricity and brings more light"

The hummingbird hawk-moth frequented my favorite house with flowers.

Did you know there is a legend of "The Giant Gargantua"?

"The instantly-recognizable shape of the Matterhorn was created millennia ago when a colossal giant’s curiosity compelled him to Switzerland…

Every child knows the Matterhorn: it is not only one of the highest mountains in the Alps, but its distinct pyramid shape has become the iconic landmark for all of Switzerland, earning the nickname Horu (“the Horn”) in the local dialect. The snow-capped peak that towers above the clouds draws climbers and trekkers from around the world, where every year several thousand people try their Alpine ascent. How exactly the Matterhorn was created is told in the legend of the giant Gargantua. Many millennia ago, the giant Gargantua lived in the Alps. His figure was epic and powerful; when he stood tall, his hair would disappear into the clouds. His head was as big as a castle, and his hands were fearsome paws that could snap a tree trunk like a match. The giant’s ears and nostrils were like dark caves where a bear could hide for the winter. When Gargantua moved his massive body, the earth trembled and his pounding footsteps left deep marks in the solid rock.

Although Gargantua wielded awesome strength, his enormous body was clumsy and slow. A swath of destruction and debris would frequently be left where he had passed. Nevertheless, the giant was friendly and kind, and not without curiosity. At that time, the familiar shape of the Matterhorn did not exist – there was only a massive, unbroken ridge that was uniformly high, which shielded the sunny Aosta Valley in Italy from the cold north wind. Gargantua spent his time in Valtournenche, but he could not see through the thick clouds to the north and became determined to find out what lay beyond the ridge.

With a hulking step he climbed over the rock face and planted his foot near Zermatt in Switzerland. But just as he brought his other foot forward – oh dear! He slipped on the ice and his flailing body crashed through the mountains, causing the ridge to crumble and collapse as far as the eye could see. Only the great triangular section between the giant’s colossal legs remained standing, which still remains today as the beloved Matterhorn."

The Matterhorn was in half clouds. Well, it could have been totally covered. Still quite impressive all the same.

I wonder if I will get any comments about the Matterhorn???

Michael and I took the time to sit on the wooden lounger and enjoy some quiet time.

Surprised no one has bought the Alpen Rose. It is a gorgeous location.

We had a late lunch at Molina. Since the Alpin Rose closed, this has become our go to Zermatt restaurant. Actually, I just came for the Lorenzo. This is a favorite of mine. Michael asked our friend Francesca from Ischia, Italy for the ingredients. Today, I also asked our waiter who had to ask the bartender. The ingredients are different so I can't wait to get back home and have a drink off. Pizza was delicious!

Spicy salami with Italian DOP buffalo mozzarella.

Michael had spicy salami, onions, garlic, and mozzarella cheese.

Many tour groups in Zermatt. The tourists are definitely back. One Asian group wore masks but no one else was wearing them.

On the way back to Interlaken West, we boarded the new Golden Pass Express, which goes between Interlaken Ost and Montreux, in Spiez.

Someone has a great sense of humor. Well, Shania Twain is married to Swiss Nestlé executive Frédéric Thiébaud. Interesting.....

38 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All



bottom of page