My name is Doris, and I’m a bookaholic. I went to St. Gallen just to visit the town’s famous old library.
Overall, St. Gallen is a charming university town with narrow streets, beautifully decorated tenements and churches, and a dominating abbey complex. However, this didn’t make a big impression on me, because by that time I had already visited many charming Swiss towns. (It was in St. Gallen I realized that at some point, even great beauty can be taken for granted.)
Nevertheless, the abbey’s building houses something unique: the Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen, which is one of the oldest libraries in the world—founded in the year 612! Its interiors, drenched in gold, contain manuscripts from the eighth century, which are bound in silver and ivory (which I do not approve of) and embellished with precious stones. There’s also a manuscript of the famous “Nibelungenlied” poem, as well as an Egyptian mummy!
The place awakens feelings of reverence for all the magnificent historical objects collected there. But when I saw the monks’ notes in books’ margins, saying things like “I’m bored and don’t want to write any more” next to the beautiful calligraphy, I realized that human nature doesn’t really change over the centuries!