Saturday, March 11, 2017

Liechtenstein

Geography fact of the day: Liechtenstein is one of two double landlocked (landlocked by countries that are landlocked themselves) countries in the world.  The other is Uzbekistan. 

Once we moved to Europe, we set a goal of trying to see as many European countries as possible. In doing so, that means going to as many of the microstates as possible. Before this trip, I'd gone to Luxembourg and Vatican City and Mike had gone to Vatican City and Malta.  It's pretty cool to travel to these microstates and see how the larger, surrounding countries affect these little guys.  For example, in Luxembourg, the food and culture is great mix of German and French influence, while Vatican City feels like a part of Italy. We were curious to check Liechtenstein off of our microstate list and see how it's surrounding countries of Austria and Switzerland impacted the culture. 

Melissa, Ryan, Mike and I headed out early on Wednesday and arrived in Liechtenstein around noon.  The drive to Liechtenstein is gorgeous....when you aren't in a tunnel.  You drive through so many mountain ranges that you spend what seems like the majority of your drive in a tunnel.  It takes about two hours to get from Innsbruck to Vaduz, the main city and capital of Liechtenstein. We parked and went to check out the history museum where we learned all about the monarchy in Liechtenstein.  Always a good time!

After the museum, we were ready for lunch.  Unfortunately, one thing we didn't realize about Liechtenstein is that dining is extremely expensive.  Melissa and I both got soup and split a salad while the guys each got a main course. When we split the bill, we ended up paying about 60 euros a couple! Taking after their Swiss neighbors in cost of living, I guess! I think this was the moment that we all decided that we'd be eating dinner back in Austria.....

Once lunch was done, we headed to the Treasure Chamber, which is the museum that displays all of Liechtenstein's national treasures.  I didn't think there would be that much to see, but I was definitely wrong! Not only were there the crowned jewels, but there was a collection of Fahberge eggs, as well as moon rocks!  The moon rocks were definitely the biggest hit of our group.  The moon rocks were given from the United States to every country who contributed to getting the men on the moon.  Liechtenstein produced some of the plastic on the outside of the spaceship, so they were given some moon rocks! Pretty cool!

We had plans to meet up with Claire and two of her friends for some wine tasting to cap off the evening, but we had a little while before our reservation, so we took a little detour to a brewery.  The brewery wasn't even really set up for tasting but we met the master brewer and he told us all about the beer and let the rest of the gang sample a beer before they walked away with beer to call their own. 

We made one last stop before wine tasting at this humble abode, also known as the royal family's castle.



After snapping a few photos, we piled back in the car for wine tasting! 

Vineyards and the castle in the background


The wine was decent (I had my own personal spit bucket so I could at least try the wine) and it was fun to cap off our little jaunt to Liechtenstein with a drink of the same wine the prince drinks!


It was a fun day and excursion from Innsbruck.  There isn't a ton to do Liechtenstein, but definitely enough to fill up an afternoon. The museums we went in were interesting, the wine was good and the scenery was beautiful. Worth the stop!