|Alex and Emily sample my first fondue. I am pleased to say it was a success.|
Nevertheless, we enjoyed catching up with each other and I benefited from their presence in the apartment. Alex discovered that a router near the TV was merely an energy waster so that is now disconnected, and both he and Emily took care of some laundry for me while I was away. I think they left more food for me than I had before they arrived. They were wonderful guests.
|Margaret meets the lion at the Hotel du Peyrou|
|The Rheintorturm in Konstanz, a medieval gate on the Rhine|
|The Munster in Konstanz|
|The largest of the three medallions in the vault of the Munster|
|The Holy Sepulchre in the Muenster|
|Warm drinks add to the festivities.|
|Sugar and cinnamon adorns our homemade waffles. They were sold to us by two guys in a tiny booth. We lined up for quite a while to get these.|
After dinner at a German restaurant in town, we returned to the market for a final look at the merchandise. We made a point to visit the Christmas ship, anchored in the Bodensee (also known as Lake Constance), a special feature here.
|The Christmas Ship|
The next morning, we made our way by train to Saint Gallen in Switzerland. This town had first entered my imagination through my many readings of Robertson Davies' Fifth Business since the tale is supposedly penned there.
|Saint Gallen through the mist|
Saint Gallen was very foggy all day, which made it hard to see the place clearly, but we were very glad we made a stop there. At one time, it was a very important centre where Prince Abbots created a principality around the monastery. Today, the grounds are a UNESCO world heritage site.
|Stiftskirche - the Monastery Church which is now a Cathedral|
The Cathedral on the site of the Abbey of Saint Gall is a masterpiece of late Baroque architecture. It is very beautiful and very uplifting. Once I entered it, I was reluctant to leave. The ceilings are painted with lovely images, and much of the rest of the interior is white or golden. The lines are very graceful too, another element adding to the church's majesty.
|Inside the Cathedral|
|One of the staircases to the choir loft|
Even more remarkable is the Abbey Library of Saint Gall. We were very fortunate to have seen it, since it had been closed for several weeks and only opened at 13:00 the day we visited. To protect its wooden floors, visitors must wear slippers over their shoes. Photographs are not allowed, so I have borrowed one from Trip Advisor to show you this very special place.
|The Abbey Library of Saint Gall|
Besides its awe-inspiring beauty, this library is a treasure trove of rare books and valuable artifacts. I was impressed that an ivory insert from Charlemagne's Bible was on display there; Margaret, always the librarian, was in heaven in this place, as she studied the classification system used and read the spines of many of the books in the collection.
|The colourful interior of St Laurenzen Church|
Just outside the abbey grounds, we stopped at another church, this one a Protestant one. It, too, was delightful, very colourful. I often wonder what Europe would be without its churches. They certainly are very pleasing to me.
|The Christmas Market|
Finally, we wandered through the Saint Gallen Christmas Market, much smaller than the one in Konstanz, where we bought cake to take back to our friends in Neuchâtel. We were on the train before four and back home before dinner.