You search in Wiki about Balzers. You get a name of a company, you get some facts and figures about a small town in Liechtenstein. But what you don’t get and can rarely imagine how serene a tiny town can be, how beautiful are its meadows and how uncanny it can be sometimes.
When I reached Balzers in a weekend in February 2014, I didn’t have much expectations either. I heard there was a church and a castle at the hill top. So, naturally I didn’t allocate much time for the trip. When the bus towards Sargans dropped me in Balzers and it left soon thereafter, all I noticed was meadows and fields spanning to the horizon and snow clad mountains leaning over. There was a highway and some cars were speeding out, but it looked bit strange for me to land in a place so empty.
There was no one, literally no one. It took me a while to figure out the way to the church. The way is not difficult to find but takes some good walk to reach the church area. From the main street, a long pavement stretches towards the church.
Though it was a holy place and like any other holy place, it should give a feel of a positive energy, still the first look was not that comfortable. On one side of the church, there is a jungle and a steep way through that going up to the castle. The church is small but beautiful. The outer surface is decorated with gild items. The setting sunlight made it appear like gold. But one thing was missing everywhere – human beings.
I almost reached the church when the wind started. Calling it strong will be an understatement. It was so strong that my footsteps were not at the correct place where I intended them to be. Sound of that wind blowing through the jungle created that so-many-times-heard music in horror movies. I am in Europe for long and I am aware of the devastating wind and its sound, but trust me, this surpassed them all. In my life, I never experienced a wind so strong.
That sound and no human beings anywhere and the setting sun and the jungle route was a perfect backdrop for Dracula movies. More so when I was heading towards an old castle. The path is steep and takes about 10 minutes to climb up to the castle. The wind was even stronger at the top. All doors were closed and I tried to open one of them, but then all of them were closed from inside. So, does it mean that someone stays in that old castle? I found that very strange and I didn’t see any light anywhere, so couldn’t conclude anything definite.
My way back was another challenge. When I reached the bus stop, I realized that the buses were running only once an hour and one just left 2 mins back. How I spent next 1 hour is a story by itself. The wind didn’t subside even for a single moment and the bus stop was just a board with no place to hide yourself. In that one hour, I did many things – I made some plans, some resolutions, some ideas – all just to forget the wind.
Balzers is equally decorated with Alps as Vaduz is. Its just that Balzers is more rustic in appearance, misses the usual European squares or shops and is more serene and beautiful.
For people who are interested in seeing Balzers, here are some tips.
If you are travelling from Switzerland, the best way is to reach Sargans by train. From Sargans, on weekends, there is an hourly bus for Vaduz which takes you through Balzers. In weekdays, there are 2-3 per hour. Be careful about the timing as you may end up in a similar situation as mine otherwise. The way to the castle is steep and will take few minutes to go up. If you plan it well and want to spend longer time, get some food and arrangements for a small BBQ. The meadows are beautiful and the snow clad Alps make it a perfect place to spend some time and relax. Just avoid the winter time.
Vaduz and Balzers are best clubbed in an one day trip. That way you can optimize your time and expenses.