Shallow as it sounds, ’tis the only reason why Vaduz was included in this trip – to check an item off my personal bucket list, and to increase the number count of countries we’ve been to, by one more. Not that anyone is really keeping count. Call it… pure vanity on my part, if you will. 😆
The Principality of Liechtenstein reminds me a lot of Switzerland, I realised, as I researched a little more on this double-landlocked country (the countries landlocking it are they themselves landlocked – oh my, what a mouthful!). So yes, apparently only two countries in the whole world are double-landlocked, the other being Uzbekistan. I would think seafood and fishes should be rather expensive in these two countries then!
We set off for Vaduz from Innsbruck just 2 days shy of 2016. It was a decision the mister was hoping I would change my mind over, since train tickets cost 60€ per person. Rather expensive for a short day trip. Truth is, the night before I did agonise alone over the high costs of getting to Vaduz while the mister decided to turn in early, hoping for the best. Eventually I went ahead with the plan, thinking that it was likely the only time we would ever get to experience Liechtenstein. Unhappy as he was, I am grateful that the mister kept his promise to abide by my final decision.
We stopped by one of the cafes for a quick breakfast on the way to Innsbruck Hbf. The mister had to do some last minute research on how to get to Vaduz because he didn’t quite trust what I had found. OK… I don’t do last-minute research all that well, so it’s really for the best that he did the legwork himself.
It was such a glorious day when we were waiting for our train at Innsbruck I almost didn’t want to leave for Vaduz. Almost. But a commitment to visit a new country kept me going.
From Innsbruck Hbf, we caught a train to Feldkirch and then a bus to Schaan where we then took another bus to Vaduz.
We got terribly lost. 😆 After about half an hour, we decided that the bus we boarded wasn’t going to get us where we wanted to go to i.e. the heart of Vaduz. The mister decided we should alight after spotting a Mcdonald’s along the way. Well… it was past lunch time and we were peckish so I would say it was good decision on his part although not the most adventurous food to go for.
Our first encounter with the people of Liechtenstein was on the bus, but to be able to observe them in close quarters (without being too obvious about it) must be at the Mcdonald’s. Simply from their dressing and mannerism, we instantly concluded that Liechtensteiners are an affluent lot. Which comes across as a very logical observation since Liechtenstein is known as a stable financial centre with deep international connections.
After lunch, we continued our walk towards Vaduz town centre. The sky was a beautiful deep hue of blue, void of clouds. Not unlike the sky we left in Innsbruck. Although it was winter, we enjoyed a very comfortable, albeit long walk encountering interesting buildings, shops and companies along the way and even had the opportunity to check out the prices of their luxury cars (which we found, to our horror, are still priced cheaper than their equivalent in Singapore). Cars in Singapore are truly priced exorbitantly.
I thoroughly enjoyed walking the streets of Liechtenstein. After an hour, we saw this landmark in the distance and instantly knew we were nearing Vaduz town centre. St. Florinskirche, or simply Vaduz Cathedral is the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vaduz. It is a beautiful church build in Neo-Gothic style but the front facade of the church was then undergoing some restoration. I was afraid we couldn’t visit the church interior too.
Fortunately my worry was unfounded; the restoration was only confined to the facade. The church interior was not large by any measure and unlike other Catholic churches I’ve visited, it was quite bright and rather modern looking. What really captured my attention though, was the Nativity scene that was laid out to the side of the altar. Having toured Europe during Christmas season, I have seen numerous Nativity scenes at various Christmas markets and inside churches. This Nativity scene in Vaduz Cathedral was by far one of the most impressive I’d ever seen. I was captivated. One could easily tell that pride and much care had been taken into creating this.
A short walk away, was a very stately and important looking building. It didn’t take us long to figure out that this building must be the Parliament House.
And when we looked up, we saw it. The residence of the Prince of Vaduz and his family – Vaduz Castle – perched on the cliff overlooking Vaduz town centre. I pointed it out to the mister and he innocently followed with a question, ‘Oh, shall we go visit?’
I grinned at him and told him that since the castle is inhabited, we can’t visit but we could climb up to a road leading to the castle and take a closer look. We decided against it, choosing to view the castle from below.
If one is in Vaduz seeking to add a passport stamp to your passport, then this is the place to look for – Liechtenstein Centre. It is in actuality a tourist centre of sorts selling memorabilia like postcards, stamps, magnets and of course, a passport stamp. Although there isn’t a postbox at the centre, the lady at the counter very kindly took our ready-to-post postcard and said she would mail it out for us at the end of the day. She probably has been asked for the whereabouts of a postbox often enough to offer this extra service. Still, exceedingly sweet of her to go beyond her duties.
Vaduz town centre is small and took all of 5 minutes to walk from one end to another. We visited during lull period so tourists were few but residents were aplenty on the streets. There was also a temporary ice skating rink set up just beside The Rathaus (Town Hall) where children were having fun. When we were done looking around and watching the kids have fun, we decided it was time to head back to Innsbruck.
Getting to Schaan from Vaduz town centre was a lot easier, leaving no room for error. One short bus ride later, we found ourselves back at Schaan Bus Terminal.
And here is a parting shot of Schaan Bus Terminal near the railway station. We spent quite a lot of time waiting for a bus to Vaduz in the morning when we first arrived and in the afternoon waiting for a bus to Feldkirch. It’s quite an interesting structure so I researched and found out that it was newly constructed in 2010. Loved the ‘sky gate’ in the middle of the roof that allowed for a view of the Alps. Would have been so much more beautiful if the mountains were snow-capped. Sigh. We can plan all we like… but nature always has its own course to run and isn’t up to us to dictate.