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A Princely (and maybe a little Patronizing) Pilgrimage

September 4, 2011

Today marks a special milestone in my life as a traveler. Until today, the most countries I had ever visited in a day was a mere two. In a matter of hours I shattered that record this morning with a resounding three, each one more diminutive than the one preceding it. That’s right, I have just returned from the (darling) Principality of Liechtenstein, sixth smallest country in the world!

After a breathtaking yet brief train ride to Buchs, Switzerland, we made our way by foot to the Rhine River, which divides Switzerland from Liechtenstein. The train ride was passed with wild speculation over just how delightful this tiny country would be.

Not quite animatronic, but it'll do.

We made our way to Landstrasse, the main thoroughfare of Liechtenstein, and followed signs that pointed toward the “Schloss”, i.e. the castle. The man who sold us our train tickets in Konstanz informed us of its existence before reminding us that we have the option of coming home early if we get bored. Hiking up to the woods, we were met almost every twenty feet by  friendly fire hydrants like #139 here:

I'd be interested to see where Liechtenstein ranks in Fire Hydrants per Capita.

Indeed, the further I walked into Liechtenstein the more my theory gained support that it was just like Richard Scarry’s “Busytown1”, or a particularly well executed Sim City. Though we unfortunately did not see any worms driving apples, it seems like the populace has embraced its novelty as a place where laws are eagerly observed and schools are eagerly named “School”. Just about, anyway:

This seemed to be the University's only building.

It wasn’t long before we reached the Castle, which I was thrilled to learn is still occupied by the Royal Prince Hans-Adam II. From there he has a great view overlooking his faithful subjects in the capital city of Vaduz:

Vaduz Castle: Mentioned in texts since 1200 AD.

The walk down from the castle featured many informative placards which proudly described the country’s history:

Paisley Park, eat your heart out.

I only spoke with a handful of Liechtensteiners, and they seemed to agree that living there was “ein bisschen langweilig”.  34,000 people can only entertain one another for so long, I suppose. Still, I’d recommend it to anybody looking for beautiful views, clean streets, and unreasonable prices. All in all, Liechtenstein more than lived up to it’s reputation as a “very small country with a very high GDP per capita”.

1: The board in Vaduz’s town square actually goes so far as to describe Vaduz as a “busy town”. I was very tickled when I read this.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Adam Conrad permalink
    September 6, 2011 22:08

    I tried to look up some statistics on fire hydrants in Liechtenstein and all that kept coming up is YOUR blog. This means you and I are possibly the only two people that care about the number of fire hydrants in Liechtenstein.

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