A Princely (and maybe a little Patronizing) Pilgrimage
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.
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:
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:
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:
The walk down from the castle featured many informative placards which proudly described the country’s history:
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.