It's this time of the year when temperatures drop, days get shorter and the sun stubbornly refuses to shine.
If you are feeling cold and moody, you should resist the urge to escape the grey reality with a long winter sleep. Instead, hop on a train to St. Gallen. In December, the city of the 700 stars awaits you with a rich program of advent activities that will delight your palate and soothe your light-deprived soul.
"Probierli" Christmas Tour
Your afternoon in the Unesco World Heritage city might start with a "Probierli" Christmas tour. Organized by Culinarium, a local culinary association, it leads you through the old town to five different stations.
You can try delicious high-end sweet specialties such as chocolate, Guetzli, bibers or a winter tea while learning about Christmas traditions. Wandering from station to station with your guide, you will also discover the 16-meter tall Christmas tree. It is being flown in by helicopter every year and decorated by the students of the design school.
Finally, do not miss the nativity scene in the famous cathedral.
By the time your tour comes to an end, the night will have gotten a hold of the town, allowing 700 shining stars to illuminate the paved lanes in a winterly, warming atmosphere. Created after a public competition five years ago, these stars have grown to become a symbol of advent in St. Gallen.
Each of the star's 14 branches represents one of the 14 boroughs of the city. Grab a cup of Glühwein to warm your hands, and stroll through the Christmas market with its wooden huts.
And to round up your day, why not indulge yourself with a star dinner at Schlössli, one of St. Gallen's renowned restaurants? Designed especially for the advent time and inspired by the stars illuminating the city, the three-course gourmet menu pleases the eyes as much as the palate.
Sitting on the train back home, with stars in your head and a happy belly, you will have forgotten the cold weather and the grey sky. Isn't that the beauty of spending an enjoyable winter day?
More Information on advent in St. Gallen
(Photo credits St.Gallen-Bodensee Tourismus)