Eastern Switzerland offers a lot for the mind. This time, Hagen Zimmermann, who was on the board of IG Motorrad for nine years, shows us his favorite corners.

From the bike store with café straight into the curves
Our starting point is the Polo store in St. Gallen-Neudorf - an ideal meeting point: If there's anything missing from your personal motorcycle equipment or bike, you're sure to find it quickly here. And in the café you can discuss the tour or bridge any waiting time. In addition, the location - not far from the highway exit and outside the city center - is ideal. After just a few hundred meters, we are already in the middle of Eastern Switzerland's motorcycle paradise. "It immediately goes into the curves and up into the heights, from where you can enjoy great low views," Hagen emphasizes. The entire tour is about 150 kilometers long and is therefore - depending on the number of stops - also suitable as a half-day tour.

We first head for the Ausserrhoden village of Heiden, which lies at about 800 meters above sea level and is even connected to the Swiss rail network via the Rorschach-Heiden mountain railroad (RHB). The ride is probably less of a priority for motorcyclists, but the sight of the red trains in the lush green landscape is certainly at least as idyllic as that of the RhB in Graubünden, the Rhaetian Railway.

This is followed by the highest point of this tour at just under 1100 meters above sea level, the south side of the Ruppen Pass with views over the Rhine Valley and the Stoss Pass, which is popular with motorcyclists. Instead of heading directly for Appenzell, we take the sweeping detour via Brülisau, from where a cable car leads to the Hoher Kasten. The 1793 meter high mountain in the Appenzell Alps is a popular excursion destination and is also called the "Rigi of Eastern Switzerland". We continue swinging toward Appenzell. "Here you can find not only Appenzeller cheese, but also butcher shops and, of course, pastry shops where you can get Appenzeller Biberfladen in all variations, and last but not least the Locher brewery," says Hagen.

Zäuerli and Rugguusseli

A cultural specialty in the two Appenzell cantons are the textless natural yodels made of sounding vowels and syllables, called Zäuerli (Ausserrhoden) and Rugguusseli (Innerrhoden). Typical for the first voice is the quick change from the chest voice to the head voice (falsetto), called laryngeal beat. The melody of the Vorzauerer is supported by an improvised polyphony of several singers.

After Appenzell, we pass Gontenbad, where Appenzell mineral water and Flauder sweet drinks are bottled. The next idyllic highlight is Schwellbrunn, which is known for its beautiful houses, all of which are arranged on the ridge - a picture-book view! From here on, we stay for the next 50 kilometers or so mostly on absolute side roads with very little traffic. In many places there is the smell of freshly mown grass or hay drying under the sun. Here, classic hay tedders are still in use, and on steep slopes the farmers still work by hand.

In addition to its beauty, this motorcycle area also offers practical advantages. The biggest is certainly the "near distance" or the "spacious smallness": Whether from St. Gallen or other larger towns, you can always get to a completely secluded, hilly - but even in the off-seasons not too high - area, which is very well developed by many roads with little traffic. Everywhere you can turn on a detour or take a shortcut if necessary …

The Rorschach-Heiden Railway offers airy views in the open summer carriages.

Mogelsberg - Below Mogelsberg (municipality of Neckertal) is the Aachsäge restaurant, where host Pius Hugentobler provides home-style, regional cuisine. Above Mogelsberg, you can get a little closer to nature on the treetop trail. baumwipfelpfad.ch

View 1 - Rest. Rossbüchel in Grub SG with view of Lake Constance. Newly opened in 2015. rossbuechel.com
View 2 - Hoher Kasten: excursion destination with revolving restaurant. Can be reached on foot and by gondola. hoherkasten.ch
Töff, Autos, Flugzeuge - Oldtimermuseum in Lömmenschwil near Arbon TG. Opening this fall.
Gastro & Kloster - Rest. Klosterhof Rössli in Magdenau. Ten nuns currently live in the catholic Cistercian abbey. kloster-magdenau.ch
Cheese - Discover and taste at the Appenzeller show dairy in Stein AR. schaukaeserei.ch
Flauder etc. - Insights into the Appenzell mineral waters. goba-welt.ch

Text: Dimitri Hüppi — Pictures: D. Hüppi, zvg