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Only about 9km northeast of St Gallen, the little lakeside resort of RORSCHACH lies on a bay below the grassy Rorschacherberg, and is one of the more pleasant stops along the Swiss shore. It has two train stations: the main Hauptbahnhof is 1km east of the town centre, which is focused around the more useful Hafenbahnhof (harbour station). Rorschach suffered particularly badly during the 1999 floods, when the Hafenbahnhof was under a metre or two of water, and the main street Hauptstrasse was lined with sandbags; fortunately, the fine sixteenth-to-eighteenth century houses along the street, with their attractive oriel windows, survived. The Kolumbanskirche just off the street is a rather lovely broad white late-Baroque church dedicated to the Irish monk Columba, with much gilded glitter inside, an enormous oval ceiling fresco and, unusually, an interior clock. Down on the harbour front is the old Kornhaus, emblem of a once-thriving grain trade between St Gallen and Germany across the water. Near it, in an old warehouse in front of the Hafenbahnhof, is a museum devoted to vintage cars (July & Aug daily 10am–6pm, March–June & Sept–Oct Sun 10am–6pm; Fr.7). A rack railway winds up from the Hafenbahnhof beside the Rorschacherberg to the tranquil health resort of Heiden, with plenty of leg-stretching hiking trails around and about.

The famous Rorschach Ink-Blot Test, in which a subject is asked to describe the images that they see in the random shape of a blot, was invented by one Hermann Rorschach, a Swiss psychologist born in 1884 in Arbon down the road who, as far as records show, never actually set foot in Rorschach itself.

Rorschach’s tourist office is opposite Hafenbahnhof at Hauptstrasse 63 (April–Oct Mon 2–5.30pm, Tues–Fri 9.30am–noon & 2–5.30pm; June–Sept also Sat 9.30am–noon; Nov–March Mon–Fri 2–5pm; 071/841 70 34, www.tourist-rorschach.ch). There’s a pleasant lakeside HI hostel at Churerstrasse 4 (071/844 97 12, fax 844 97 13; a; April–Oct), with dorms costing a steep Fr.32. Otherwise, the best-value hotel is Löwen, Hauptstrasse 92 (071/841 38 87, fax 841 49 32; a), with a choice of en-suite and shared-bath rooms. The comfortable Hotel Mozart is on the lakefront 150m west of the Hafenbahnhof (071/841 06 32, fax 841 99 38; c), with quality renovated rooms.

For eating and drinking, Wirtschaft Pöstli, at Signalstrasse 2, is beside the post office outside the Hafenbahnhof and has serviceable menus of standard Swiss fare from Fr.13, and seven kinds of Rösti to choose from. Pizzeria Roma, Hauptstrasse 54, offers pasta and a range of 25 pizzas for around Fr.15, with the benefit of a lakeview terrace as well. There’s a Coop self-service restaurant in the pedestrianized shopping area on Poststrasse.

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