Sunday, September 7, 2014

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is a small country, sandwich between Switzerland and Austria, so small that it does not have an airport or train line within the boarders of the country.  As a tourist you need to take a bus from the neighboring Swiss city of Sargans to reach the capital of Vaduz.  
Visiting makes for a good day trip from Zurich, from Zurich central station you can go direct to Sargans station where the Liechtenstein Bus is waiting to take you over the boarder.
The bus drops you off right in central Zaduz, the city is actually really small, you can visit almost everything within three or so hours.  From the bus stop, it's not a far walk to the information desk where you can get a map that points out where the stamp museum is, the castle and other attractions.
This is one of the statues hidden a courtyard of an office building.
Looking up from the main street you can see the castle, I was under the impression this was something you could visit.
So I walked up the path to the castle.  Along the path are signs that explain the history of Liechtenstein, the governmental, political structures and other information we were never taught in school but could learn by checking out the Liechtenstein wikipedia webpage.
Half way up the trail was a directional sign post with two arrows pointing in two different directions with the same word on it.  Wanderweg must mean path but this was obvious...  So obvious that I determined it must mean something else.
The Vaduz lookout!
Looking down on Centro Vaduz.  The street running through the center bottom of the photo is the main street.  The white tent is a market, around the market are restaurants and shops, lots of ways to spend money.
The castle.  It turns out the Prince of Liechtenstein, the royal family I guess, lives in here.  And as a result you can't visit the castle or walk on the castle grounds.  This was not made clear at the trailhead leading up to the castle.... but it's still worth the hike, you can always talk to the guard at the castle gate.
Another view looking over Vaduz
The Liechtenstein Stamp Museum if free to visit and has a water closet.
This is the piazza outside the Liechtenstein Government Building.  It's also the start of the walking path.
Balzers?  Who names these cities?
Back over the boarder is the city of Sargans, Sargans has a castle too but this one you can visit.
Non-Italians trying to make wine.  Good luck.
Sargans is a small town in a valley at the base of the Alps, everywhere looks like a postcard.
Yep, must be Switzerland.
Looking back towards Liechtenstein, this must be the swiss main defense against Liechtenstein.  The town at the left base of that mountain in the distance is Balzers.
This should be on the list of best places to enjoy a local pint.  The mountain behind me is in Switzerland, it's called Mt. Gonzen.  The trail to the summit of Gonzen is on the other side of the mountain, so that hike was not really considered.
If you look really close, you can see another castle in the distance, it's on the summit of a small hill in the center of Balzers.
This is the Castle of Balzers.  It seems like someone lives in there too.
It's okay to walk back to Switzerland or as the locals call it Schweiz.  Open boarders!
This is the Liechtenstein side of the bridge.
This is the boarder, it runs along the center of that river.
The Switzerland logo is kind of boring.
Liechtenstein nailed it.
One more view over Vaduz.