St Gallen near Lake Koblenz in Switzerland was a convenient stop between Ulm and Arnex. A pretty town with snow still on the ground – and cold!
As well as the quaint streets in the old town, the Stiftsbibliothek (Abbey Library) is world renowned for its unique collection of medieval manuscripts. It was closed when we visited, but the snow around the library made an impressive foreground for photos of the beautiful building and the stunning baroque cathedral next to it.
A quiet little village of just 550 people tucked away in the Vaude area of Switzerland was our next stop – to visit Denis & Martine. Thirty years ago they converted half a barn into a three level home. Now they have reconverted the barn into three apartments. They have taken the top level, with fantastic views over the Alps and the Valle de Joix. They were still living in chaos, just moved to their apartment, but managed to find us a comfortable bed for a couple of nights.
Denis and Martine always have an excellent plan for their visitors – they showed Hayden Switzerland in snow and Evan a frozen lake – both memorable for sunshine loving Aussies. For us this time it was the collection of “L’Art Brut” in Lausanne, an art gallery dedicated to showing works produced by self-taught, often marginalised or rebellious creators. “Unconstrained by any need to be recognized or acclaimed, they design a world for their own purposes…”. The French painter Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) coined the term “Art Brut” and initiated the collection. The collection was first shown in Paris in 1947 and came to Lausanne in 1976. Works range from naïve style drawings to intricate works of colour and graphics to three-dimensional sculptures and hand crafts. The detail of creativity is amazing. The history behind the creators is challenging – many were institutionalised for much of their life.
It was a grey day in Lausanne and Vevey, where we visited the Nestle institute. By 5pm the lake was grey – top to bottom.
We have been lucky enough to see Switzerland at her brightest and be challenged by the wet and grey that creates the beautiful green rolling hills and snowy mountains. However there is always a warm welcoming feel when we visit.