I had family come and visit me in June of 2014. We had five fabulous days in Switzerland planned. I decided to make a small detour over to the tiny country of Liechtenstein to check it out. Now when I say Liechtenstein is tiny, I mean it is teeny-tiny. Not as small as Monaco, but pretty small. In fact, it's really not even considered a country. It's called a microstate.
Can you see that little purple blip? That's Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein is squeezed in-between Switzerland and Austria. It's doubly landlocked which means it's landlocked by two landlocked countries. I wouldn't say that Liechtenstein was worth a trip in itself to Europe, but if you are in the area, check it out. You get one more notch on your country belt, after all.
We spent our time in the green and lush mountain valley city of Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein.
In the city of Vaduz, there is a model of the Vaduz Castle as it appeared in the Middle Ages. The actual castle sits above the city on a hill.
Vaduz Castle is still a private residence. The Prince of Liechtenstein lives here and he isn't to keen on letting people in to walk around his living room. You can still hike up to the castle and check it out up close, though. Which is exactly what we did.
Half-way during our hike up the hill towards the castle, my boys became utterly exhausted. It was hot (80 degrees Fahrenheit, not really hot, but warm), it was long (it was about half a mile), it was steep (I wouldn't even call it a hike, it was more like a leisurely stroll through woods). They had had enough. What has happened to these boys?! Europe has made them soft! We used to climb mountains over 10,000 feet when we lived in Utah! I need to whip them into shape.
After a hot, long, and steep (but not really) hike up the hill, we arrived at the back of the castle. The castle was built some time in the 12th century and has been expanded and restored, giving it a kind of mishmash of architectural styles.
When we got to the top, we found that the prince still wasn't letting people in to see his castle. Or use his bathroom, much to Andre's dismay.
These are the royal roses on the royal wall protecting the royal grounds from all the commoners. That was us.
This turret is the oldest part of the castle. I would like to live in a place someday that has a turret. Then when people asked where I was I could answer them, "In my turret." Probably with a fake British accent.
Right across the street from the castle is this cute alpine style house. But compared to your own castle, it's just a shack. Imagine having a house as cute as this, and your house is the eye-sore on the street, because when the street has a castle on it the only way you can compete with that is to have a bigger castle.
After only a couple of hours in Liechtenstein, we had to get going. We weren't very far from our final destination in Eastern Switzerland. While leaving Liechtenstein I was thinking - it may be small, but what it lacks in size it sure makes up for it in beauty.