It was a short drive from our gravel car park to one of the richest countries in the world. We started noticing cars with Lichtenstein number plates, and then realised they were all going to the petrol stations to fill up – and since it was nearly €0.20/l cheaper, why wouldn’t you! So, we took their lead, and filled up our tank, too.
Lichtenstein is a fascinating abnormality that exists thanks to some fantastically timed political decisions and alliances. I could rephrase, but Wikipedia can do a much better job. Prior to visiting, and reading about the history, I only knew it for stamps, and for being a tax haven for billionaires – both seem true to this day.
There was a more considerable border here between Austria and Lichtenstein. I was a little confused, as most the cars were stopping and going inside a small hut. There wasn’t any English information, but I gathered that it was customs, rather than immigration – so we didn’t bother waiting in the long line.
You’d never know you crossed over from Austria, other than the sign welcoming you. The language is the same, the houses look the same, and the landscape looks the same – super green and mountainous.
It was another oppressively hot day. I don’t know if the heat is being trapped in the valleys by these large mountains that surround us, but it sounds like Europe is having a bit of a heat wave.
I’ll admit, we didn’t do much of an exploration of Lichtenstein, just a quick stop in the capital, Vaduz. I couldn’t find much to do outside of the capital – and even then, I couldn’t find much to do/see in Vaduz. I hear that there is some beautiful rural and alpine sights – but, you could say that about any country in this region.
For amusement sake, we had breakfast in Austria, lunch in Lichtenstein, and dinner in Switzerland. It’s the third time we’ve had three meals in three different countries on this trip. We bought our lunch here, and were surprised that they were using Swiss Francs – but I later learnt that they are not in the EU, much like the Swiss.
Surely a common trivia question – at least outside of Europe. I’d never heard of the capital prior to this trip, so you’re excused if you hadn’t heard of it, too.
The most obvious sight in town is the small castle perched in the forest above town. This is the official residence of the Prince, and it is not possible to visit – other than a single open day per year. I wanted to get closer, but I was already sweating in high 30-degree temperatures, and it was up a hill.
Risa really wanted to get a stamp in her passport (she still gets stamps, since she isn’t travelling with an EU passport). It’s possible to visit the Postal Museum and pay 3CHF to have the tourist office stamp your passport for you. The Postal Museum happened to be one of the main attractions, so it was a two-for-one.
The museum was interesting to non philatelists, as it showed how stamps were created, from the original image, through to the final product. There was a collection of all the historical stamps, but they meant little to us.
Vaduz was a really strange place to walk around. It was clean and modern, but there wasn’t any real character. It felt empty – other than the bus loads of Chinese tourists.
We bought postcards to show that we’d quickly visited this tiny and obscure country, and made our way to Switzerland.