Weesen, St Gallen and Winterthur
I returned to Switzerland in summer of 2014 but this time just en-route to Liechtenstein.
I only confirmed my plan to travel to the small principality (via Switzerland) after confirming that my friend and host of my first trip Livia would have time to meet me during my transit.
Sh did have time but as it turned out she would be working until late, it left me considerable free time.I was thinking of returning to Zurich, despite not really having a place I particularly wanted to see that I didn’t see my previous visit but to complicate things the weather forecast was not very good, mirroring the disappointing weather of my first trip.
Just a few days before my trip I came across an interesting blog of a beautiful hike between Weesen and Quinten and on my Swiss Air flight from London the forecast was considerably better than the forecast given the previous day.
So having not organized anything in Zurich I decided when I arrive to attempt the hike. I took a train from Zurich Airport changing at Zurich to Ziegelbrücke and from there took a bus to a stop in Weesen by the beautiful Walensee lake.
The bus driver, who was friendly just as everyone I came across in Weesen, warned me I would need good shoes for the hike. That was because it is a steep climb up to Quinten.
In the end because of time constraints I didn’t reach Quniten but I hope to return. This is a place that is perhaps best enjoyed hiking with a friend or partner. There were plenty of families waking and spending time along the lake (I doubt hiking to Quinten though) and plenty of sunbathers although they did not appear until my walk back.
People in Switzerland are very nice and in Weesen and the city of St Gallen I think exceptionally so. It may be the friendliest place I have been to in Western Europe.
The hike itself is beautiful with clean lake, greenery, and mountain villages and occasionally cattle filling the backdrop.
That evening I went to Winterthur and with Livia walked about a hill near to where she lives where there is private land but an impressive view over Winterthur. Surprisingly not so many people but perhaps a good thing. As a residential and student area Winterthur has a lot, especially in the way of festivals and museums. But it is not a tourist highlight when Switzerland has many exceptional places.
The next morning I left for Liechtenstein but decided to spend half the day in St Gallen where I changed trains to go to Buch before taking a bus to Vaduz.
St Gallen is named after St Gall, who is venerated by Orthodox being pre-schism, and lived in the city. Another Saint Otmar built a cathedral where St Gall had his hermitage and this has existed since 719. Although (sadly) as tends to be with the Pre-schism churches in eastern Europe, the existing one is a much later (although still very old) construction. It is a highlight and has a respected library which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Old Town is very beautiful and not far from the station. A friendly local couple pointed out the best route to go there and I wandered the near deserted streets. It is worth taking note that Switzerland virtually shuts down on a Sunday. Plan accordingly.
I recommend returning here wandering the old town at leisure spending time in the cafes (as budget allows). The city is rewarding and a friendly atmosphere. Sadly I had to move on before mid day on to Buchs ultimately to Liechtenstein