STOP! It’s Lichtenstime!

Today I had a really early start following the Streetparade insanity so from Zurich I excited to get myself over to the Principality of Lichtenstein for the day.  Some might ask why I would go to duch place, and I have for them a very complete answer.  It is an independent country, and it ups my count just as much as say a France would.  It is close enough, so why not?  Will I ever have a chance again?  I am a completionist, so even minor blanks on my map are unacceptable.  It is the last remaining German speaking monarchy.  And here it is.

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So from the nearest Swiss station I took a bus on over.  As soon as I crossed the Rhine, I was in.  It didn’t look altogether different, the houses were a bit more modern perhaps.  The mountains and blue skies were of course still incredible.  From the central area I got my bearings and set out.  One thing that I did notice was how nearly everything was closed.  Switzerland and apparently Lichtenstein too are crazy about how late shops can be open.  None of this affected me, fortunately.   The wurst meal.

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There was a 30 minute tour available to me on some pulled trolley through, but I decided to save some money and also do nothing to hinder my brimming sense of adventure.  They had beach volleyball tournament going on at the time though so I had me a gander at that.  Felt pretty cool when a wayward ball smacked me in the face while trying to photograph the event.  Surly no one else noticed…

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After watching the Danes kick Austria’s butt, I set off for the Vaduz Castle.  It perched high above on a mountain overlooking the city, so I was eager as much for the view as for the castle.  As I was walking, the scam train and all of its Chinese passenger chugged by me, but when I saw that they weren’t even going up to where the castle was I knew I had made the right decision.  The walk was more of a hike, but sling the way were some signs that explained about myriad aspects of the county.  I found it informative but it wasn’t long before I reached my viewpoint.  I had to pause for a bit just to let it all sink in.  I can’t inline videos..
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R_UabWcZwKI

The next stop was the castle but fortunately it wasn’t much further.  As the castle is currently inhabited by the royal family, I was really surprised I could go all the way and touch it.  I had to take a few steps across the line, but that I even could really surprised me.  The location of this home could not be more perfect since from the lofty perch the prince could see nearly all of of what he rules.  The castle itself has a history that stretches all the way back to the 14th century.

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Curiosity carried me on a bit further up the road.  I didn’t really find anything of worth, but I did deviate from the road to take a depot through the forest.  This was a short hike though as my already dilapidated boat shoes were not so much up to the task.

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I walked back to the main square where the crowds had thickened around the beach volleyball.  As I was walking, a guy called me over from a booth and asked if I wanted a hot dog. “Yesss…” I answered suspiciously.  The catch was that I had to heat it up myself with some bicycle contraption.  I really had to work the pedals, but sure enough I had it sizzling in no time.  Came with a free drink as well!  This was all very strange, but to get a free meal while on my tight budget was fantastic.

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There were all sorts (quick aside here, I just saw my first person legitimately wearing lederhosen!) of restaurants and shops here and I was able to jack internet from one of them.  I used that time to plan my next move, which looked like it would be in Chur (read “coor”).  When I got there I observed it a pretty small place and after talking with some Canadians decided to hop on a train and head over Innsbruck, Austria.  I had plans to stay with someone the next night in Chur already so I could just relegate that to the next day.  I think I’ve seen enough of Switzerland at point, so the extra day in Chur would have felt wasted.  I love this rail pass for all the spontaneity it is bringing into my life and this trip.

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