Thursday, December 30, 2010

The 65 Foot Tiny Christmas Tree!

Shaquille O'Neal is tall at 7 Feet.  Yao Ming towers at 7 Feet, 6 Inches. But when you see a 65' Christmas tree as something tiny, "something just ain't right!"

Our trip to Sankt Gallen was exceptional.  Then again, everything in Switzerland is exceptional.  We started the day in a very dreary cold rain that just would not stop.  Driving is fun in Switzerland admittedly, the stress level was a bit high when you're driving on unfamiliar roads, with unfamiliar rules and Kilometers instead of miles.  Add to that experience, rain, cold weather and snow and your heart definitely is going a "pitter-patter."

As we approached Sankt Gallen, the skies however opened up to a glorious and very cold day.  Even cold for the Swiss!

Säntis (2,502 m/6,732 ft)
As we approached Sankt Gallen, we were treated to a breathtaking view of the Swiss Alps as the sun broke through the clouds.  The Säntis (2,502 m), part of the Appenzell Alps, broke through and announced that we had arrived in Sankt Gallen.

Parking is a big issue in Switzerland and it was the case in Sankt Gallen.  After searching for parking at the Zentrum (The Shopping Center), we began to walk. Remember, walking is a big thing here and walking we did. Our goal?  Find that 65 foot Christmas tree.

As we came around the corner, we were completely befuddled.  The tree was large, but it didn't look that big.  That's it?  Is this what we came for?  Surely, this must not be the famous tree.

But if look closely (especially at the first picture at the top of this post),  you will see Marcela and her sister standing next to that Tree.

Even Shaq and Yao Ming would be dwarfed by the tree.  It's huge.  No wonder they fly this gigantic tree by helicopter.

Admittedly, however, something was dwarfing even this tree.

Entering the church courtyard gives you a very clear picture of why the 65 Foot Christmas tree was "TINY!"

By the way, the locals just pass the Christmas tree like it's just the norm.  The norm!  A 65' tree, the norm!

The Abby of Sankt Gall

The Abby of Sankt Gall was built around 720.  Not the tree!  The Church!  It's huge and it dwarfs the Christmas Tree.  The Abby is also famous for the "Stiftsbibliothek Sankt Gallen" or the Library.  It is beautiful!  It contains some of the oldest manuscripts around and you can't take pictures.  You have to where special shoe coverings to walk within the Library.  Here's a link if you want to check out the library (Stiftsbibliothek).

Here are more pictures for you to see of our day in Sankt Gallen:

Enjoy the Day!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Swarovski's Christmas Tree! Now that's a Tree!

The Swarovski's 2010 Crystal Christmas Tree at the Zürich Hauptbahnhof
Every year, Zurich holds a Christkindli-Market (Christmas Market) at the Hauptbahnhof (Train Station). It is the largest covered Christmas market in Europe with over 160 decorated market stalls.  While pictures present some of the beauty we experienced, the impact of the wonderful smells emanating from the market can barely be described.

Heidelbeer-Glühwein (Mulled Wine) was being warmed everywhere.  Chestnuts were roasting at many of the stalls.  Gruyère (cheese) along with so many other cheese was being served here and there.  The combination of each of the smells was intoxicating.

Tradition has it that if you visit Zurich and you get lost, make your way to the Train Station and go under the enormous clock.  It's the meeting place where if you can't find your folks, that's where you go.  And there were quite a number of people waiting for others that Sunday evening.

Swarovski's Christmas Tree was spectacular.  Adorned with over 7,000 crystals, the tree is prominently viewed from anywhere in the station.  It is huge.  I believe over 50 feet tall.  Because the crystals are so expensive, it is enclosed in a glass case.

Here's a slide show of the Swarovski's 2010 Christmas Tree!

Enjoy the Day!