Europe has become more popular than ever for Indian tourists. Switzerland has attracted five hundred thousand Indian tourists in 2013. I am sure the number will be similar for some other popular destinations as well. But rarely my countrymen come to explore one of the smallest countries of the world landlocked between Austria and Switzerland. When I talked to my friends about Liechtenstein, some of them asked where it is, some thought it might be another city near Zurich and some of them who knew that it is a country raised eyebrow – is it a great place to see?
I didn’t answer them that time. But now after spending 1 day in the alpine country, I can brag that I have visited one of the most scenic countries of the world. The country is small – but let me give you some analogies to beat your imagination. You can cross the entire country in a bus in 45 mins. Sounds ok? Here is another one – you can cross the capital city Vaduz just by walk in 30 mins. When the green – yellow bus dropped me at Vaduz post, I was excited that I landed in a different country. Then I looked around and there was no one as far as I could see. It was a bright Saturday winter morning in Europe with 15 degree plus. In this weather, Zurich or Geneva or Rome floods with people on the street just to get a glimpse of the scarce sun. And here, in that much of Sun, there was no one to enjoy it! Welcome to Liechtenstein !!
Have you ever seen Bollywood heroes driving hoodless expensive cars through the fields running to the horizon and snow clad mountains leaning over their shoulders? Vaduz has exactly that! Though not many movies might have been shot here and Switzerland is usually preferred compared to this small cozy heaven, but this is no way less beautiful. In fact, you can enjoy the beauty of the Alps as much as you can without any hurry to catch a vehicle to go back to your place.
There is a small church near the center of the town and just opposite to that, the long way through the field stretches to the Rhine river. Snow clad mountains are very well visible from here.
The only place in Vaduz which gives you a better view of the Alps is the view point just near Vaduz castle – a 25 min hike from the center. The road is steep – the first part is through the town and last few minutes through the jungle. Just before you take the last turn for the castle, there is a view point providing amazing view of the Alps. Almost entire Vaduz is visible from here.
Vaduz post museum is another one worth seeing where all postal stamps issued in last 100 years have been maintained with great care. Small and free of cost but has amazing collection. There is a wall of fame for your comments. I wrote “incredible” translated in Bengali. I felt so proud – who knows, may be I am the first and last Bengali to leave a mark on the wall of fame.
Like what I usually do in any other place I visit, I hunted for souvenir in one of the 2 souvenir shops Vaduz offers. Right opposite to the town hall, this shop has large collections. Majority of them are Swiss, some of them have Liechtenstein or Vaduz mentioned on them. I picked a small magnet and hold on !! The price is 10 CHF !!! There is a popular belief that Switzerland is most expensive in Europe. And there I find these magnets in 4-5 CHF. Surprised, I asked them the reason and they replied “Welcome to Liechtenstein”
Personally, this was not just one tick in my bucket list of countries I wanted to visit before I die. It was a whole lot of experience for me. Be it the infrequent yellow – green bus or the small, cozy, sleeping fantasy world waiting to be awakened by the magic touch of some prince or the pricey souvenirs or the priceless Alps – I liked each and every moment I spent there. Life is too short for the same great places to be repeated twice, but if I can, I will come back.