the best hotel room I never had

The Matterhorn - (c) 2018  photo taken in 1969 by David Ourisman

I had a conversation yesterday with a client who is near retirement; he's about 4 years younger than I. We were reminiscing about some of the travel experiences we'd enjoyed in our youth. He remembered using a one-month European rail pass to criss-cross Europe, using overnight trains instead of hotel rooms. That reminded me of a non-hotel stay of my own.

One of the very best travel experiences of my life, I spent the night sleeping in a field under just a blanket. It was August, 1969, and we had driven into Zermatt after dark (don't think you can drive into Zermatt now). With no intention of getting a hotel room, we settled into a field just outside the village. It was a dark night, and I really had no idea where I was.

When the sun rose the next morning, I awakened. The first sight I beheld that day was the Matterhorn in a cloudless sky. Awakening to this stunning view in Switzerland was truly one of the best travel experiences of my life. But nowadays, I'd opt for one of the luxury hotels in Zermatt for its creature comforts and Virtuoso amenities.

For those who are interested, the picture above was taken with a Minolta SRT-101 with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. Though a bit faded with age, it helps me remember that brilliant, sunny morning in Zermatt ... almost half a century ago — ouch!

copyright (c) 2018 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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