07 Feb Valentina leaves the Kitchen… and goes to… the IGLOO…
You read it right!!!
I left my warm and cozy bed to go sleeping in a Ice box! It is crazy to read, it is crazy to think of, it is crazy to do…. but it was wonderful!
The ideas was to go and celebrate my daughter’s 10th birthday… it would be her birthday party. This 2021, we are living restrictions and lockdowns, so the question was where could we go that we would feel safe?
I did some research and found the Iglu Dorf. Situated on the top of Zermatt, overlooking the Matterhorn, the place looked perfect! I contacted the company to understand how would it all develop…
Iglu Dorf is an small village (dorf) at 2800 m of Altitude on the top of Zermatt. In order to get there, one must first go to Zermatt…. For those who do not know, Zermatt is a pedestrian city only accessible by train.
So to get there, by car until Taesch, where the car gets parked, then by train to Zermatt. A second train is needed, direction Riffelberg, where you will meet your guide to be taken to the Igloo, by train again with some walk in the snow.
Zermatt is a very charmful town, full of cafes, restaurants and hotels. The typical Swiss village… in 2021 with the lockdown, all restaurants are closed and food can only be obtained either in supermarkets or by takeaway. It is / was not ideal to go there in such conditions but Swiss people are lucky to have the mountains to go to… other countries don’t even have that.
Once we decided that this was what we wanted to do, and my daughter and I came with the idea to take 2 of her girlfriends together with us, thus, we made the reservation for a family room.
The igloo has a few options of accommodation and it is mostly catered of couples or two people travelling together. There is one main building where there are a few rooms (including the family room), the bar alongside with the restaurant tables. Outside, there are other few igloo buildings, two suites with their own jacuzzi, but fit only two people, one big igloo for staff, and one igloo where one can change to go to the jacuzzi. (subject to reservation of 30 min of use).
Most of the Igloos do not have a private bathroom. There is a large and heated bathroom outside the staff igloo which serves 80% of the guests.
Preparing for the trip is a very important part of it. One cannot forget that the Igloos are situated very high in the mountains where they are exposed to severe whether conditions. So it is not only about sleeping in an ice box but also getting there and coming back down. The principle is simple… dress warm… Thermals, hats, socks, gloves, boots and a proper set of ski clothes are mandatory. Then a back pack with basics, toiletry, a change of underwear, a couple of sandwiches and water. Another very important and mandatory piece is a torch! You will soon understand why!
Then… it was just to wait for the time to go…
A couple of days before the trip, the Swiss government tightened its rules which obliged me to cancel the trip of my daughter’s friends. My daughter was obviously disappointed and so was I… what I did not know that this happened to be a blessing in disguise….
The big day arrived and we left to Zermatt… A few hours on the road.. a train up from Taesch then we got to Zermatt village where we had a walk around and we ate a Bratwurst!
Do you know what a bratwurst is??? If not… you must try! it is a German type of sausage! but it is delicious, especially when you don’t have much of another option but to eat standing on the street.
Time to take the second train and go to meet the guide and the other guests at the Riffelhaus hotel… It was after 16:00 in the afternoon… the penny finally dropped like magic, and I started realizing that I was going up the mountain to an Igloo in the middle of nowhere in the dark!
Now you are thinking and so was I… did she not think of that before?????
Apparently not! or if I did I did not focus on the dark part of it…. that we would go down the mountain in the dark…
Then, we met the guide… went up even more with the train and left it in the middle of DARKNESS…
Alarm bells started ringing all over my head!!! I wish I could describe the sound!!!!
I blocked… I froze, I panicked!
I looked at my kids and they were the happiest beings on earth, going down the slope and all I could think was they were going to slide down the mountain and disappear!
Yes, there was a guide… yes, we had torches… yes, there was other people… but my brain and heart did not rationalize anymore…
Then… I cried!!! cried my heart off… cried like a baby… pathetically cried and cried….
Everybody stopped and looked at the crazy woman in complete panic mode and probably thought… is she mad or what? Did I care at that moment… of course not!
My husband looked me in the eye and said… don’t worry, we are here… you can make it… nothing is going to happen… he held me by one hand… my 6 year old son held me by the other and my daughter walked slowly in front of me until I gained confidence….
First minutes I grabbed their hands as my life depended on it… but little by little my eyes got used to the darkness and my pace started to accelerate… I dropped their hands… when I noted we had arrived.
OMG we made it…. I don’t know what I would have done if I had had the two girlfriends of my daughter with us… I would have not moved at all in total fear…. but we made it… and as I walked into the Igloo I was back to my normal again.
The staff gave us a tour of the surroundings… showed our rooms and the other rooms and proposed us dinner… a wonderful and warm fondue.
I drank a bottle of wine with my husband to celebrate our adventure… and we decided it was too cold to make it to the jacuzzi….
We were all very tired and it was time to go to bed… well to the sleeping bag.
We were told that the sleeping bags can keep the body warm up to – 45 degrees… only the thought of it made my brain freeze!
Now the exercise was to get into that thing…
Ah, I forgot to tell you… please don’t laugh… promise?
I never slept in a sleeping bag before….
I never walked in ski slope in the dark before…
I never slept so high altitude at – 25 degrees before…
One by one we put ourselves into the bags… my son first, then my daughter… me and last my husband…
At that stage nobody was allowed to go the toilet… because that meant having to dress up it all again… as we were sleeping on our thermals only and have to go outside.. so it was a complete no no…
Little by little I would hear my kids start to fall as sleep but my eyes were wide open like a owl…
I could not stop thinking if they were warm enough… I would call their names and they would answer half asleep
…Yes mum… we are warm… let us sleep…
At some point I slept as well… then I woke up and looked at my phone and it was 8 am… inside the Igloo one gets disoriented.. there is no light…
It was time to get ready, go the toilet (FINALLY), and then go down to the mountain….
Then it happened……
We opened the door!!!! to the most amazing view and blue sky I have ever seen in my life….
At my eye level it was the Matterhorn….
… I made a silent prayer to thank the guy up there… thank you very much for the opportunity! It was all worth it!
When are we going back?