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Zermatt: The “Window in The Roof”

View of the Matterhorn from Hotel Bellavista, Zermatt, Switzerland

Before I tell you this story, let me first say that we LOOOVED this hotel, and in fact, have recommended it on a number of occasions since our stay. It was a friendly, family-run hotel, with cozy and comfortable rooms. The breakfasts were incredible, and the staff/owners couldn’t have been nicer. But I’ve added this crazy story to my repertoire of travel tales as an example of making the best of things you don’t have control over ……

We were in Zermatt, Switzerland for a ski holiday (hint: bring ALL your money). We stayed at a beautiful chalet-style hotel called the Hotel Bella Vista. Our room was fantastic – a living area with a view of the Matterhorn from one of the windows, and two homemade Linzer cookies to welcome us. The bedroom had a super comfy bed with a skylight over it to view the night stars. Of course, the skylight was covered by snow at the time. Casually, my husband commented that he hoped the skylight didn’t crash in on us while we were sleeping.

Yup, you guessed it… it did, just not while we were sleeping. One afternoon, when we returned to our room, my husband asked what was on our bed. There were pine needles and wood all over it (the incoming snow had already melted). We looked up and noticed the skylight had detached from the ceiling and debris had fallen onto our bed directly below. There had been a lot of snow fall right before we left for our trip. Then unfortunately, the weather warmed up. As a result, the snow was wet and heavy and people were constantly shoveling off roof tops. There had also been numerous small avalanches since we’d arrived.

View from the slopes.  Zermatt, Switzerland

We went to the front desk to let them know, but “skyIight” is not one of the 10 German words I know. The front desk clerk, i.e., one of the daughters, spoke English, but she didn't know the word “skylight” in English. After some quick thinking, I said that the window in the roof was broken. I suppose that was clear enough because the next thing you know, the skylight repair guy (i.e., one of the sons-in-law) was in our room assessing the situation. He informed us that the skylight couldn’t be repaired that day so we would have to change rooms. No harm no foul because the new room was equally fantastic, with an even better view of the Matterhorn.

Afterward, as we talked with the repair guy/son-in-law, he noticed the Taos t-shirt I was wearing. He mentioned that he was a rock climber and that he had been in New Mexico climbing. We talked about other places he’d climbed in the western US and some of them were really incredible, but hanging off a rock by your fingers? Uh, no thanks.

Even though none of us has control over things like Mother Nature creating a minor construction disaster, you can make the best of the circumstances. The Hotel Bella Vista really bent over backwards to accommodate us and our randomly awesome rock climbing conversation almost certainly would not have occurred if the “window in the roof” hadn’t caved in. Stuff is going to happen along your travels and it’s important to find some nugget of cool in it. Footnote: In case you missed it - I don’t rock climb, but I loved the hotel………

View of Matterhorn at dusk from our room. Zermatt, Zwitzerland

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