As we were heading westwards from Austria, we decided to spend the penultimate night of our holiday in yet another country none of us had visited; Liechtenstein.
Liechtenstein is tiny; only about 15 miles long with an area of 62 square miles, just over 1/10th of the size of Greater London. It’s a constitutional monarchy headed by a prince, so is a Principality. The royal family live in a castle in the Alps and are often seen out and about. It’s also doubly landlocked ( ie is landlocked and surround by Austria and Switzerland which are also landlocked) so is geographically unique. To our untrained eyes, it looked a lot like Austria.
We stayed in a Guest House perched on the mountain side, looking down across the valley across the Rhine and into Switzerland. The road was a bit narrow with some impressive hair-pin turns but we made it in the end despite contravening an obscure give way rule, and annoying the locals by driving very slowly.
The view was stunning and ever changing. We would have been quite happy to spend the rest of the day sitting out the verandah watching it, but instead we had to drive back down the mountain in search of a ATM as we needed some Swiss francs to pay for our accommodation and dinner. The road down was less hairy than the road up but we almost managed to leave the country accidentally twice in our search for currency. Normally it wouldn’t be a problem but as we were driving a GB car and had left our passports back in the hotel, we decided it would be safer to stay put and did a series of probably illegal U-turns instead.
Parking space ‘downtown’ seemed to be an issue but eventually we found a space beside a supermarket. It was marked ‘nur für Kunden’ ( Customers Only), so I sat in the car with the kids, ready to move if necessary while DH went off to find money and a postcard. The kids wanted to get out and run around but it wasn’t safe, so we spent 30 minutes singing along to English songs on a German Radio station. We did get a few weird looks but no one asked us to move on.
Then it was time to go back up the mountain and find some dinner.
In Triesenberg, the commune we were staying in, there were a couple of small shops, a pub with a traditional restaurant, and a couple of other restaurants. It was very hilly and the pavements kept switching sides of the road as we walked down to the local pub. DH and I had what was to be a final holiday beer, while the kids ran riot in the small square next to our table.
We had a look at the menu but quickly decided that DS wouldn’t eat anything, so opted for a nearby pizza restaurant instead. The food was delicious but I had to try and resurrect my extremely rusty schoolgirl German and work out what Pilze were!
After that, it was back up the hill to the hotel as we watched the sun set over the valley.
We all had a good night’s sleep despite the proximity to the road and the next morning’s breakfast offered something for everyone.
Then it was back on the road again. Barely ten minutes after leaving the hotel we found ourselves crossing the Rhine and entering Switzerland. It had been a brief visit to Liechtenstein , but we all agreed the views had been worth it!