Yesterday morning we slept in a little bit and then decided to go up to the three lakes to swim before we met Roger at 3pm to go into Zurich for the festival. While walking through town we stumbled upon a Saturday street market so we stopped to browse. I found an amazing beer stein with a lid and Zach bought a pipe (for decoration). Great gifts from this little town! We walked into the cathedral and took some photos; incidentally the organist was practicing so we sat for a while to listen.
Hot, we decided to head up to the 3 lakes – Mannenweier, Buebenweier, and Chruzweier. We took a funicular half way up and then walked the rest of the way to Mennenweier, or man lake. It was gorgeous; in a little way it reminded us of some of our swimming holes at home – Barton Springs in particular. The water was actually a little bit warmer than Barton Springs, but we still needed to jump in to force complete submersion. There was a little concession stand so we bought some watermelon (melone) and sat on a dock overlooking Chruzweier. We really would have liked to have stayed longer, but we had plans to go to Zurich. We will definitely stay longer the next time.
The festival in Zurich (Zuri Fascht) was gigantic! Roger told us it only occurs every 3 years so the entire city comes out to party. We ate some bratwurst, potato salad, ice cream, and of course, drank beer. We watched the end of Germany’s match with Argentina on a huge screen and saw their 3 final goals. Even though we were in Switzerland, the crowd went wild each time Germany scored and there were quite a few people sporting the German colors. We eventually sat down at an outdoor biergarten and waited for the firework show. It started around 11pm and lasted about 30 minutes. It was the best firework show Zach and I had ever seen! The fireworks were displayed over Lake Zurich and our table was on a small pier – we had perfect seats for the show! At the beginning (and then throughout the show) helicopters flew overhead and shot off fireworks too. It was really spectacular!
We were pretty tired at that point and we had to trudge our way back through the huge crowd of people. At some points we just stood still waiting for the sea of people to move forward. When we finally made it back to the car spot… it wasn’t there! The car had been towed because we had parked in a zone where a permit was required – which we knew when we parked, but apparently no one seemed to care… So we had to walk to the police station which was a good 15-20 minute walk through the city. Once we made it there we sat inside a small room and waited for the transaction to be made, etc. It cost 600 francs! We heard the rain begin outside and were thankful we had made it inside before it started to pour. Until we learned that the car wasn’t at the police station, but in a parking garage another 20 minute walk from the station! So we walked in the rain through alleyways and deserted roads to the garage where we could finally begin our journey back to St. Gallen. It was 1:30am. We walked back into the flat around 3am.
We slept in after our long night and Cristof and Corinne made brunch for the 4 of us. We ate on the roof-top terrace above their flat. It was the best breakfast we have had all trip! We had some delicious Swiss cheese, salami, thin slices of smoked horse meat, bread and butter, jam, pickles, hard-boiled eggs, and orange juice. It was so wonderful; they were really great hosts. I hope they come visit us in Texas.
For our last afternoon we visited the Stiftsbibliothek (Abbey Library of St. Gall). It’s a UNESCO world heritage site and it’s in the monastery connected to the cathedral. It was incredible! We couldn’t take anything into the library with us (no pictures allowed) and we had to wear slippers over our shoes. It’s indescribable. Google it. Their collection has about 170,000 works; 21,000 manuscripts is the bulk of their collection and a little over 400 of those are dated before the year 1000.
Afterward we met Roger and he took us over to a neighboring village, Appenzell. Josef lives there and so he met us and we walked around the small downtown area to a small cafe. We had some Appenzeller beer and a delicious slice of chocolate cake. It was a nice end to our visit with Roger and Josef, especially after last night. They were so gracious and excited to show us around; we really appreciated everything.
In about an hour we leave St. Gallen for Zurich and then we take an overnight train to Ljubljana, Slovenia to catch a bus to Porec, Croatia! We are thrilled to be going to a beach!