We leave Munich, Germany after four glorious sunny days, and drive through the countryside. I feel the change in the weather, and suddenly we are seeing snow on the sides of the road. The housing styles also are varying from what we have seen in Eastern Europe the past few months.
Our main stop for the day is Neuschwanstein Castle, the residence of Mad King Ludwig. I visited this castle some thirty years ago, and wanted to take Explorason there. All I remember was that last time it was near Liechtenstein. We lined up for the tour, and walked up the hill. Then we queued for a very structured inner tour, where no photographs were permitted. By the end of the tour, I felt sorry for poor old King Ludwig, who didn’t enjoy his reign as king for too long, before a mysterious death.
We then drive through Austria for a while, and this means we have to buy a Vignette for the car for about nine Euro, and just manage to find a service station to purchase one, and then next thing we know we are on the motorway, where it is illegal to drive without it.
By mid afternoon we have arrived in the 6th smallest country of the world – Liechtenstein.
We are pretty excited to see the alps of Switzerland right in front of us, and the alps of Liechtenstein behind us.
There are plenty of choices to stay in Vaduz. From five star hotels and resorts, to a private room in the International Youth Hostel for the more budget minded. Be aware Liechtenstein uses Swiss Francs, and not Euro.
Vaduz Liechtenstein – the perfect place to base ourselves for a few days as we decide to explore this area.
The next day we are raring to go after breakfast. Our first stop is of course the Visitor Information Centre in the main walking area of Vaduz.
They offer a unique service of having your passport stamped, which we were quite excited about.
Armed with all the information on walking trails and places to see we leave the visitor centre, and we head to the Liechtenstein National Museum nearby where the famous Princely Collection is on display.
This Liechtenstein National Museum has an interesting concept for children, where there is an area for the senses. You can touch, feel, smell, listen and of course see so many things. This museum area shows so many of the local fauna and flora, and Explorason is fascinated with a two headed baby deer on display.
There is also a magnifying glass where you can see how a snake can consume a frog without dissecting it before it swallows. He loved this display, and learnt a lot. This is a great place for interactive learning, and this all becomes part of World-schooling.
You can spend a half or full day in this museum alone. It has so many rooms and different displays. It also has the best Gift Store I have ever seen in a Museum, with really reasonably priced items. Some are unique to the Museum, and if I had more room in my luggage, I definitely would have bought one of the beautiful small dishes they sold.
We then move next door to the Post Office Museum and Display Centre. Explorason really liked this. There are hundreds of tall thin drawers that pull out with display of the famous Liechtenstein stamps. Some show how the stamps are drawn, and we learn about how most stamps cannot show the face of the person on them, except if it is royalty.
The cafe culture of Liechtenstein is very strong. As a small country, it is imperative that those living here are socially involved, usually having two or three tasks in the community.
Even though it is a self sufficient country, sometimes, they outsource to neighbouring countries. So the ‘coffee scene’ is where they meet to discuss so many of the tasks that make Liechtenstein run like clockwork.
And then of course talking about clocks, there is the famous Rolex store in the main street, and the town clocks that appear in several places are none other than Rolex.
Liechtenstein is also known as ‘Little Switzerland’, so it is here you will find a fantastic collection of famous Cuckoo Clocks that the bordering and nearby countries of the region are known for. There is a mix of German, Austrian, and Swiss influences here in Liechtenstein.
We decide after lunch to head up for a walk to the castle, which takes about 20 – 30 minutes. Here at the Vaduz Castle the Prince resides, and he is commonly is seen walking the streets of Vaduz with no entourage of security you would expect to accompany someone who is of Royal blood.
The reason Explorason is standing like a soldier, is because this old paved road actually leads up the mountain as the main road, and cars are zooming past. He stands still near the edge whilst we quickly take a photograph.
We walk back down the walking trail (no cars) and have a magnificent view of the River Rhine that flows as the border of Liechtenstein and Switzerland below us.
That afternoon we take a bit of a tour around Vaduz.
There is a small train that tours the streets, but we decided to walk in the beauty of the Spring day.
We arrive at Hofkellerei, the Vineyard and Cellar Door owned by the Royal Family of Liechtenstein. I enjoy some superb wine tasting, and the last is delightful and allows Explorason to set up all sorts of props for his photography.
The next day it is time to catch up on some much needed technology.
We meet a man at breakfast, and he is walking to Austria today.
We decide we will walk to Switzerland.
It is fifty Euro to buy a Vignette to drive on the motorways of Switzerland, so we chose to walk there instead. (You can drive on the back road to get there for free). It it s leisurely stroll through the lovely green fields and then along the Rhine River, and across the bridge.
There is a covered wooden famous bridge you can take (cycling or walking only), or the modern bridge. Here you can have your photo taken where several countries border.
There is so much to see and do in this tiny country.
Vaduz is a great place to base yourself for the weekend as we did.
Tomorrow we head up to the countryside and up to the mountains of Liechtenstein.
Our next four days are filled with adventure and fun.
I’ll write separately about this, as it is also Explorason’s birthday, so it is going to be a surprise!