Today – apparently the last day before the arrival of the Foehn – we headed to the Sunnegga side from the 8.24 Gornergrat train, enjoying en route the chamois under the Gant/Blauherd bubble, the still-twinkling Christmas trees in lift stations and some noteworthy suits, including a colourful his-and-hers and a family of Russians with furry collars and diamante accessories. (Talking of bling, a local friend spotted Posh and Becks this week at Riffelalp.)
Happily, we had the National – a black under the Patrullarve chair – to ourselves: great training for the steeper parts of the Inferno race in Muerren, which I’m doing in mid-January. Not such great training was the croute au fromage I tackled for lunch at Vis-a-Vis, the sit-down restaurant at the top of the Gornergrat (about 3,300m). This must be the most underrated pit-stop on the mountain. As the place was virtually empty we bagged a table for four by the window. Too cold, today, for the terrace, with its spectacular view of the Monte Rosa and Schwarztor – plus occasional glimpses of ibex over the parapet.
This is one of the few places I’ve found at altitude that offers free tap water – ‘Wasser vom Hahn’, ‘Leitungswasser’ or ‘eau de robinet’ by the way. Also on the menu is Heida wine, from the highest vineyard in Europe, near Visp. My croute, in any case, was the cheesiest I’ve tasted, while my companions’ choices of soup in a bread bowl with cheese and viande sechee, and mushroom vol-au-vent with salad, were equally successful.
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