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Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein!

Try to say it 3 times fast: Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein!!!

There are probably not a lot of backpackers that can say they made Liechtenstein a part of their world tour…and that is exactly one of the reasons we decided to put it on our itinerary. A friend that I went to school with in Finland, Marlene, is now living in this tiny central European country along with her partner, Gerold. (A quick note here…I know it doesn’t look hard typed out, but it probably took me a good three days to pronounce Gerold ~with a hard “G” sound~ correctly instead of anglo-sizing it to J-errold….oops!)

Marlene was kind enough to extend an invite for us to come out and see her and we are very glad we made it happen-this part of Europe with it’s green, green valleys and luscious Alps turned out to wow and amaze us!

Liechtenstein did not have an airport that we could fly into so we took a Ryan Air flight from Edinburgh to Memmingen, Germany early Wednesday morning (and by early, I mean that we walked from our accommodations in Edinburgh at 3am to catch the bus to the airport).

We spent the day in the quaint little German town of Memmingen and then Gerold and Marlene picked us up and took us to their home in Ruggell, Liechtenstein. We had only briefly researched this part of our trip so we were quite amazed that our drive from Germany took us through Austria and Switzerland before arriving in Liechtenstein.

Who would have thought we could cover four countries in a one hour drive!?We were just sad they weren’t stamping our passports at the borders…what a collection!

Prince of Liechtenstein's Castle, in the mountains surrounding Vaduz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During our 6 day stay in Ruggell we had an opportunity to learn a lot about Liechtenstein. This country of 30,000 is a tax haven and home to some very wealthy Europeans. It didn’t take long to notice that most of the people busting by us on our cycling tours around the area were behind the wheel of a BMW, a Mercedes or something else hot & exotic.

The currency in Liechtenstein is the Swiss Franc which is currently a very strong currency in Europe. We realized the implications of being in an uber-rich country like this (similar to Monaco) when we went on a bike tour to the capital city, Vaduz, and ordered up a coke and an ice tea for a total tab of 8 Swiss Francs, equal to $11 Canadian dollars. I’ve never milked an ice tea like that before…you’d think it had Grey Goose in it!

The highlight of our visit with Marlene and Gerold was our weekend trip to a hut in the Austrian Alps. Our trusty tour guides had arranged a night’s stay in the Heilbronner Hutte…2320 meters up into the Austrian Alps. The adventure began in Gaschurn, Austria-Marlene’s home town-where her parents kindly took us in for Friday night and filled us up with lots of wonderful Austrian foods. From there, Skott and I are proud to say, that our little prairie chicken legs made us proud and hiked right up the 6 hour, 1400m accent to reach our hut for the night. The scenery along the way was spectacular!

Skott meet schnitzel

We often followed along small, crystal clear mountain rivers as we trudged along. We saw mountain roses-beautiful fuscia flowers that only grow at this time of year, and of course, we were mind boggled by the HUGE mountains surrounding us…a few of them still peaked with snow.

There’s nothing quite like pushing your body beyond what you thought it was capable of and then rewarding yourself with a hot meal and a couple of drinks! Every bite just tastes that much better when you worked that hard for it-chicken cordon blue for me and spaghetti for Skotty fit the bill-washed down with some Austria Wheat beer, and for me, a white wine spritzer.
The grand finale was Kaiserschmarrn, a pancake-like desert that comes with apple sauce to dip it in.

The next day our decent was much easier, as we took a mountain road down and caught a ride with Marlene’s mom. She prepared a fabulous lunch of Spatzle, which was a special type of pasta oozing with Austrian cheese and a little onion and spice.

Monday was a rest day and a planning day for us and we found ourselves in a very strange position. After Liechtenstein we did not have any plans in place. So far our RTW trip itinerary had been planned night to night based on friends and family we were visiting in Europe. Now we were on our own…and being the anal, controlling people that we are, the idea of not having a plan sat a little more uncomfortably than we had expected. I thought we might feel free…spontaneous and crazy. But I felt ill-prepared, lost and a little panicked. We explored the idea of going as far as Spain or just heading into Italy or France but in the end, we realized that we really loved this part of Europe and we needed to slow down a little. So with Marlene’s help, we booked a guest house in Lienz, Austria and decided to spend at least 4-5 days there, decompressing a little, catching up on the blog, and doing a little more planning for the month ahead.

Stay tuned for our week in Lienz, Austria!

Thanks a million to Marlene and Gerold for an amazing time in Liechtenstein and for arranging a hike that truly inspired us!!

Here is a few more Alps hiking pics before you go!

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3 Responses to “Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein!”

  1. Laurel July 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Interesting post, I live in Germany and really want to go to Lichtenstein, but haven’t made it yet.

    • Skott July 26, 2011 at 12:31 am #

      A wee bit expensive for a backpacker, but worth it….especially for a short trip…..just by your groceries in Austria or Germany before you go!! :)

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  1. Skott and Shawna – R.I.P. | Get Up and Globe - July 19, 2011

    [...] us every step of the way. Seriously…from the moment we landed in London, till the day we left Marlene and Gerold in Liechtenstein, there were very few situations where we had to plan….or even think for ourselves.It was [...]

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