Last Stop: Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein was the last stop (before heading home through Zurich) on my July 2020 European trip, smack dab in the middle of the pandemic. Thankfully, the trip had worked out so well. I was so afraid of being turned back at each new border I timidly approached, but I’d successfully entered and exited all 12 countries on this journey, so Liechtenstein (being the last) was definitely a celebratory stop if nothing else.
The country is tiny, one of six (UN member) micro-nations in Europe. I added it to my list which already included Monaco, Andorra and Vatican City. Now I’d only have to see Malta and San Marino to complete my micro-country collection. There were so many reasons to be excited to be here!
I’d rolled in around 3PM after the long drive from Slovenia, checked in to my hotel and hit the ground running. I had one night in the capital of Vaduz and I wanted to make the most of it.
RAMBLIN TIP: I booked a room at Hotel Vaduzerhof. The room was great with stunning views of the city, a nice breakfast and checkin and checkout was 100% automated. Great pick! You can book the Vaduzerhof HERE.
Borders and Bridges
The first thing I wanted to see was that old wooden bridge that crosses the Rhine to connect people (on foot) to Switzerland. I’d passed it on the way in to town and I just had to experience the crossing myself. Next to my hotel I found a handful of the coolest little motorized bikes to rent. I downloaded the app, scanned the QR code and I was off! I must have looked like Pee-wee Herman: a 6-foot, 200-pound man on this tiny mini-bike, but it sure was fun! These little bikes zipped! I enjoyed cruising through the almost-empty streets of Vaduz, dashing through rows of charming little houses, in and out of a park and eventually ending up at the bridge.
Crossing the old wooden bridge was fun, just because I’ve never experienced a border crossing like this anywhere else. No guard, no gate, no passport control – just a sign in the middle of the covered bridge that marked the border between the two countries. I thought how cool it must be to be a resident on either side of the bridge – to be able to “pop” across to another country for lunch (or anything really) at anytime, on a whim. I wonder if people who lived here appreciated the specialness of this luxury. I sure did!
After my bike tour, it was back to town for a fantastic wienerschnitzel plate at Altenbach as the sun slowly dipped below the horizon. The tasty meal was a nice little reward/prize for being able to get in and out of all 12 countries on this tricky trip where Americans were not wanted anywhere. I had a great sleep and then it was up early for a hike to the castle.
It was breakfast at the hotel before a nice two-hour hike through town and up to Vaduz Castle, home of the Princely Family. There wasn’t another soul about, minus the occasional early riser attending to his garden. I enjoyed roaming the silent streets of Vaduz before heading up the hill to marvel at that big stone castle. There was something so romantic about the fact that this castle was still actually in use. Most castles I’ve seen are open to the public and mostly empty – this one was closed to outsiders as it remained the working offices and residences of the Prince of Liechtenstein and his family. I’d actually sent a letter to the family before my trip, requesting an interview with the Prince for my radio show. They were nice enough to respond, but explained the family would be away on holiday. I secretly hoped they’d invite me to stay the night at the castle anyway, but no such luck. Hey, I guy can dream, right?
Dear Mr. Dub,
On behalf of the Princely Family I thank you for your interview request and your interest.
After consultation, H.S.H. The Prince and H.S.H. The Hereditary Prince do not see a possibility for an interview due to their holidays in July.
I regret not being able to give you a positive response to your request and thank you in advance for your kind understanding.
So Fresh and So Clean
I enjoyed Liechtenstein tremendously! The country’s size in itself is fascinating, as is its history. Liechtenstein was one of the cleanest countries I’ve ever visited. The streets were charming, the nature relaxing. It was such a great way to wind down such a busy and stressful trip and I’m so glad to have spent some time here. Don’t visit the area without at least one night in Liechtenstein!
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