As I have a little less than a week left in this little city, I thought I’d post a little collection of some of my favourite things. As much for my recollection as anything.
St Gallen is a long, thin city that sits in a valley which runs, eventually, down to Lake Bodensee. You can see Germany from the top of the hill that runs up from my flat to the nearest fresh milk.
From almost anywhere in the city you can walk for 20 or so minutes and find yourself in the middle of fields.
This means fantastic walks in almost any direction.
At the top of the hills to the south are the Dreilinden lakes where you can swim for free (it’s a rare thing here) in the summer:
It’s a city of many stairs leading from each level of the city to the next:
A city of stars at Christmastime:
and where the Christmas tree arrives by
Harry Potter helicopter each year:
And bus- and tram-lines that extend a spider-web of electricity cables over most of the city.
If you look closely in the top mirror, you can see (upside-down) a reflection of a favourite restaurant, Focacceria.
And just in case you accidentally find yourself in St Gallen (let’s face it, it’s not exactly on the way to anywhere), here are a couple of places that I’ve enjoyed over the past three years.
Kaffeehaus, Linsebühlstrasse 77 is one of my favourite places. It’s a few minutes walk from the centre of the old town, but it’s conveniently on my way into (and out of) town. It doesn’t hustle, it doesn’t bustle, it’s the perfect place to go to to clear your head. The owner’s quirky style (including piano, trumpet candle-sticks and industrial right-there-in-the-café coffee bean roaster) is just my taste and the coffee is fantastic. I could sit there for hours (and have done), letting the world go by without my participation.
Another coffee shop for a nice but livelier atmosphere is Franz, on the same road but closer to the city, Linsebühlstrasse 35. They also have a garden that’s open in summer and gooooood cakes.
By far my favourite bar is La Buena Onda (Lämmlisbrunnenstrasse 51). Again, quirky style, and as it’s a little way out of the main city (but still conveniently close to my flat) it doesn’t get completely packed out. It seems to attract the non-Swiss locals as well, which makes for a nice atmosphere. And there’s a piano.
There are other places too of course, the Egyptian falafel man in the market place (seriously good) the Abbey is impressive, the library, museums et cetera, et cetera.
I know I’ve complained about you along the way, St Gallen, you might be at the wrong end of the country, you might be a bit on the small side for a city, but it’s been a good ride.