A Rorschach Test

The day was predicted to be a scorcher and that was all we needed to know. The prospect of a stroll along — and a swim in, as it happens — Lake Constance sounded ideal. We headed for Rorschach, just a 20 minute train ride away from St. Gallen.

And, across the street from the Rorschach train station, at Würth Haus (a German company), there was art on view, but no photography permitted in the galleries. How do you say “apropos” in German? “Angemessen,” that’s how.

A 2007 painting by Alex Katz in the foyer.

The exhibition we saw translates to Forest Fascination: Trees and Wood in Paintings and Sculptures of the Würth Collection. Suffice to say you shouldn’t leaf (sorry!) Rorschach without a visit; the show’s on view ’til January 2017.

We walked along the lakefront, watching ferries come in from the German side. For context, Lake Constance (Germans call it Bodensee) measures 536 square kilometers. Lake Washington weighs in at 88 sq. km; Lake Erie at 25, 744 sq. km.


The lake has wonderful 1920s-era bathing huts, lots of boats, and some places where one can swim on the beach. It was hot. We swam.

The town has some fun building fronts, but then what town around here doesn’t?


There was a sandcastle contest going on along the water. Oddly, this would not be the last sandcastle contest we would see on our travels.


And there was a boat-owner who drew inspiration from the Native American culture of the Pacific Northwest, or at least really likes the design.


And then the quick train back to St. Gallen. One lesson learned: Always put the bathing trunks in the backpack if it’s a hot day and you’re going to be near water. They will dry quicker than your underwear, and draw fewer glances when walking back from the beach.


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