Nom de Plumage

April 4, 2012

Three Towns in Three Days

Filed under: Travel Journal — nomdeplumage @ 8:23 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Ok, I am going to cheat and cram three towns that I visited in three days. Simply put, two of the towns were small and not overly exciting and the last one was a treasure.

A beautiful train journey along the beautiful and massive Lake Zurich, took me to the little town of Raperswill. The hilly terrain of this part of Lake Zurich, created a stunning backdrop of mountains meeting water. At the highest point, lay a beautiful church that overlooked the city and out towards the lake. If only it was not foggy? But I unfortunately came on a day when thick fog blanketed the whole region and the cold chilled my bones. Navigating the narrow cobblestone streets that led me past beautifully decorated homes and quaint little shops, was a delight!
If you are a tennis fan, then you will know of the brilliant Swiss champion Roger Federer? His home town of Zug is about one hour from Zurich. In all honesty, I really did not know what to expect of the city, but when I got there, I was disappointed? It is really nothing to write home about and I had the second day running of fog. I suppose I should be used to it by now?

Day three and let me get it off my chest now, another day of FOG! Right, moving on…..A place that I really wanted to see before I left Switzerland was located on the Swiss Italian border and it is St. Gallen. A beautiful 45 minute journey led me to a city of BOOKS! From the train station, my first stop was the local tourist information bureau for a map and directions to the monastery. The attendant was very helpful and from there it was an uphill walk through a stunning little town. Situated high up the hill, is an abbey and it precious antiquarian library.
Treasured and cherished, the ancient abbey massively stands as a testament to learning, new and old. What once was a place of learning for monks, is now dedicated to modern learning plus museums. At the end of the abbey was the impressive and priceless library that I was so anxious to see. Unfortunately, I could get no photo’s and I embarrassingly walked into the library, passing the slippers that tourists are meant to wear to preserve the delicate wooden floor. I was told off very quickly and had to go back and put the silly things on. The first thing that hits you is the smell. An intoxicating smell of very old books, hits my nostrils and a drug induced buzz takes me away to heaven. I love books, but old books are my drug. I walked pasted the carved wooden shelves, stacked high with books that where enclosed behind wire cages and what did I do? SNIFF! My fingers itched to take down a book and feel the delicate crackle of paper. But it was not meant to be. To preserve for future generations, one must uphold strict rules. The ceiling is covered in stunning frescoes and I can write and do no justice to the magnificence of this library. How I envy those who built it, worked in it and written those ancient texts.

Switzerland is very expensive and somehow I was able to discover a bargain for lunch. At a little unexceptional looking cafe, I sat by the window to watch life pass me by and ordered a lunch special for thirty four francs. I have to be honest, that I was somewhat worried to the quality of food, but was pleasantly surprised to receive and enjoy a three course meal – tomato soup, vegetable schnitzel with salad and a cherry tart, mineral water and coffee. Not bad! The service was lovely also.
St. Gallen is also famous for the ‘oriels’ that jut out of buildings. Protruding windows, usually of wood, carved and decorated. Frescoes on walls and narrow streets, make this a perfect little town.

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