From Visp to Aosta via the Matterjoch

Story 52

Karl Baedeker was a publisher. As an author, he revolutionised travel literature and founded the Baedeker travel guide books. He once travelled to Zermatt and climbed the Riffelberg. 

Meticulous work 

As a publisher, Karl Baedeker (1801-1859) felt it was important to complete the travel routes himself. He was known for his unerring, matter-of-fact and accurate work. With his travel reports, he wanted to make tourists independent of tour guides, even if he recommended them as guides on difficult walks. 

Half board for CHF 4 

The travel guide Switzerland: A handbook for travellers, based on personal experience and the best sources of help (1852), available in German, described his journey from Visp to Aosta. In Zermatt, he spent the night at Dr Lauber’s. He paid CHF 4 for “dinner, a good bed and breakfast”. In Zermatt, he hiked up the Riffelberg, one of the “things you do when you are in Zermatt”. He noted down details of the walk as follows: “Riffelberg and the Riffelhorn (4 hours), the latter only for climbers. One overlooks the entire Gorner Glacier, whose lower drop is already noticeable in Zermatt, and the surrounding mountains, namely the wide-arched Breithorn.” 

With major complaints to Aosta 

The crossing of the Matterjoch or St. Theodul Pass on the way to Aosta remained a special memory for him.

The major problems associated with crossing this Alpine pass prevent frequent use of it. On the other hand, the surroundings of Zermatt are so magnificent that a visit up here is quite rightly recommended.
Karl Baedeker

Three of his sons continued his work and, after his death, retained his name in both new editions and new volumes. The guidebooks are still published today under the name “Baedeker

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