For a weekend trip Jeff and I decided to go to Liechtenstein, which is a small country between Austria and Switzerland. We were going to make a weekend of it, but once we got there, we decided we didn’t need more than one day… afternoon…
Liechtenstein is one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world, meaning that the countries that border it are also landlocked. All of the Liechtenstein territory lies within the Alps, making the country very aesthetic and fairytale like. The entire country’s population is less than that of the University of Washington at 35,000. The government is a Constitutional Monarchy, meaning that decisions are made between the Prince of Liechtenstein and the elected Parliament. The Prince has a home in the capitol of Liechtenstein, Vaduz, but he has resided in Vienna for the better part of 160 years.
Liechtenstein was invaded by Switzerland in 2007, by a 180 men Swiss infantry. The troops were doing a training exercise and hadn’t realized they had crossed into 1.5 km of Liechtenstein territory, upon realization, they immediately retreated. Official apologies were made.
|I am storming the castle… that door looks easy to break.|
In order to get to Liechtenstein, Jeff and I took a train to the Austrian border and then took a bus to Valduz. It was cloudy and cold, but we made our way around the city. The city has one main road, a castle, an art museum and several restaurants. We hiked up to Valduz castle, but the Prince didn’t seem to be home, so we went out in search of some mini-golf.
It took us about 30 minutes, but we finally found mini-golf. There were old people playing, so we went to rent some clubs. The door to the office was locked, and some old ladies started to yell to us while we were standing there confused. Turns out the office was closed for the off-season, but these savvy Liechtensteiners had their own mini-golf equipment that they could play with. We had to walk the 30 minutes back into town with our heads lowered in shame. We soon found other highlights of Valduz though!
|Liechtenstein’s main form of transportation is mini-train. Switzerland wouldn’t share the patent on big trains.|
Liechtenstein uses the Swiss Franc as its money, because after WWI they needed the financial support and guidance. For similar budgetary reasons, the Liechtenstein army has been disbanded, and is now without an army. Liechtenstein is one of the richest countries per capita and has more registered companies than citizens. The companies are drawn to Liechtenstein because it has the lowest business tax in all of Europe. Yet, the thing that is probably Liechtensteins real claim to fame is that it is the world’s largest producer of false teeth.
Hopefully the length of this post is a testament to the size of Liechtenstein, and of the amount of interesting things within Liechtenstein. I apologize for the quality of photos, had the weather been nice, the tone of this post would of been entirely different I imagine. Here is what it could of been like, just to, you know… leave you disappointed?
What we saw:
What we could of seen: