When I was in Chamonix in 2010 I was walking around on a side street (the Rue des Moulins) and ran across a sausage and cheese shop with a screaming deal: six sausages, four cheeses, and two bottles of local wine for 50 euros (about $70.00 at the then exchange rate). I wasn't able to finish the cheese which was a shame.
The same thing here would be close to $200 I bet.
And then there are the cheeses. So good over there and great prices too. In 2014 when I went to the Paradiski area for two weeks I stayed in the little town of Peisey and across from my hotel was a cheese shop. I bought half a wheel of Tomme de Savoie for about eight euros and it was a full kilo. The same here would have been $50 or more.
This most recent trip to Zermatt I had bought several cheeses but not eaten them so I simply tossed them in my checked bag and brought them home. The guys at the Customs entry in SLC didn't care and waved me through. No meat products though; those are still verboten.
Look at all that lovely alto speck. Makes me hungry. Val Gardena, April 2015. Funny how in some places photos of the inside of a grocery store is fine, but a federal offense in others. I tried to take a photo of a nice grocery store in the main train station of Innsbruck and the manager almost shat his pants. WTF?
I didn't take many videos this last trip, and not one with a GoPro. GoPros are so common now and everybody has one perched on top of their helmet that it kinda makes me crazy. Anyway, I did make a few timelapse videos at my hotel and here is one:
I stayed at this hotel for two weeks in April on a ski trip.
Yes, this is the driveway. Zermatt is car free so most transport is by these small 4-5 person electric taxis; hard to believe Richard (the owner) could get up this hill in ice/snow but he probably walked instead. Everybody in town walked or rode electric assist bikes everywhere. I remember seeing several small hamlets with 10-15 houses on the hillsides above Zermatt and wondering how people got there. Richard said they lived there year round and walked in and out. Imagine, a hour walk with 750 feet of elevation gain every day to get home. No wonder euros are small and not fat. Sure as hell wouldn't happen in the land of the grossly obese US of Gut.
I loved the fact that it had a basic (but complete) kitchen with everything you needed to cook and eat in (a plus in Zermatt where a basic burger costs 25chf). The room I stayed in, the Piet Mondrian room, was perfect for one person (but would have been a bit small for two) and the patio/balcony was larger than the room with excellent views of the Matterhorn. All the rooms have balconies and views of the Matterhorn so no worries there. The beds folded up into a wall space so they could be out of the way if you wanted, and the bed was very comfortable. Since the hotel rooms were apartments, there was no daily cleaning service so maintaining your rooms was on you (although I am sure Richard the owner would have given me new towels/sheets if necessary). The bathroom was fine, and the bath/shower was actually large enough I wasn't hitting my elbows on the sides and the tub was flat bottomed so standing wasn't tiring. The hot water heater was great, and you had to be careful about making it too hot: it got hot enough you could easily scald yourself.
Balcony was easily twice the size of the room.
I brought a few things from home to use in the kitchen: a set of ceramic knives (I hate dull knives so I knew these were sharp), a drip coffee maker (a Clever Coffee Maker bought from Amazon), some peanut butter, my blend of coffee, and a silicone ice tray (his ice tray was tiny). A small grocery store was about five minutes away by foot with a larger Migros and Coop about ten minutes away (both of which carried just about anything you might need).
A taxi from the train station to the hotel was about 20 chf and well worth it if you had more than a few bags since the hotel is about 15 minutes away, and 80 meters higher so it would be a long slog with baggage. The hotel did have an interior elevator but getting to the hotel involved using the bus system (not very timely), a taxi (not cheap in the long run), or walking. If you are not fairly active and dislike walking, consider other options for staying in Zermatt in the winter. In the summer Richard is allowed to use his hotel vehicle to transport people and luggage (but not people in the winter) so keep this in mind. Richard was very nice and gave me and my luggage a ride to the train station for my departure. The ski bus stop was about 100 yards from the hotel but I never used it, instead I walked to and from the Zermatt gondola base station every day. This took about ten minutes and was downhill going to the gondola (but uphill coming back - something to consider if you have small children or whinging members of your group), and was a bit rough on the toes/heels of my ski boots.
Train station at a quiet time; around 5 pm hordes of new visitors would get off the train and wander through town looking for their hotels. My hotel was right next door to a hostel so it was always busy.
Richard offered a "bread service" where you could order bread to be delivered to your room the next day (I never bothered and went to the local Coop or Migros every other day or so plus there were a few local bakeries nearby), and he offered a breakfast service every morning. I had breakfast in the breakfast area every morning mostly so I could talk to Richard each day (although if you were staying more than a few days or had more than two in your group, eating your breakfast in your room would be cheaper as the breakfast service was 12 chf each day). The room and hotel was very clean and organized (it is Switzerland, remember?), comfortable, excellent quality, and most importantly, an excellent value in Zermatt. When I return to Zermatt, I certainly plan to stay here again.
Three (very) minor things I have to ding the hotel on are a lack of proper lighting in the ski workbench area of the ski room, no folding rack for hanging clothes outside to dry after a day of skiing (although not much of an issue for my balcony: I could have played tennis on it but for the other rooms with smaller balconies this could be space saver), and not enough electrical outlets in the room (although I have run into this issue at a lot of other hotels in Europe). The first is easily fixed; the second could not be an issue if Richard has them already installed; and the third is, well, part o the experience of travel.
Richard Kunkel the owner is funny, well-traveled, helpful, and outgoing, and will do what it takes to make your stay excellent.
Room Tip: The Piet Mondrian Room has a huge balcony.
Early morning alpenglow on the Matterhorn from my balcony. Great views of the Matterhorn.
Sometimes the little different things you encounter while traveling are humorous, sometime aggravating, sometime puzzling, and every once in a while they are a threat to life and limb. On the aggravating side are the small size (at least to me) of the shower stalls. In many hotels I end up with bruises on my elbows and lower arms from hitting the sides of the shower or the faucets and valves. Seriously, often times there is no room for me to move effectively and clean myself without feeling like I am fighting with the damn shower. Plus, the hot water temps tend to be quite high in europe and if I make the mistake of hitting the hot water valve with an errant elbow I end up with second degree burns. On the off chance I get a tub instead of a shower stall, the tub is almost as dangerous. Most of the tubs I have encountered in europe are nice and deep but quite narrow at the bottom and sometimes very rounded (not as flat as our tubs) so they tend to be hard to stand in without giving your ankles a workout. Plus the surface is smooth with no roughness added for traction the tubs are slicker than greased whale shit when wet. This last trip I took my old shower mat from home (I intended to toss it out anyway) and tossed it in my tub in Zermatt. This raises the issue of how to solve the whale shit surface of the tubs without having to schlepp a bath mat from home every time I go to europe. Then I had the bright idea to try a bit of rubberized shelf liner, the kind you put under your glasses and plates at home. This is certainly more cost effective than a bath mat, and weighs much less. I ordered a couple rolls from Amazon and I will try it at home to see if it is a viable solution.