I am at the Liechtensteinische Landesbibliothek writing this from the media room. Internet here is free, so I will be back again before I leave this little country.
I arrived by post bus this morning at 11.00. I travelled from Laax to Ilanz with Ziggy and another new friend, Jens. I told them that the Liechtenstein hostel’s reception desk did not open till 17.00, and Ziggy suggested I store my luggage at the train station in Buchs, Switzerland, since there were no storage lockers at the Vaduz bus station. I took his advice when I arrived in Buchs, quickly stashed my two heavy suitcases away and ran for the bus to Vaduz.
I got off at the bus stop called “Post” (what else) and walked around the small capital. While the Schloss Vaduz and the new Kunstmuseum are certainly impressive, as well as imposing buildings, what really detracts from this otherwise charming world capital is all the souvenir stands, postcard racks and street vendors. I have bought a T-shirt and a fridge magnet as well as some postcards, and will write some tonight from the hostel.
Unfortunately I did not hit the central post office as soon as I arrived. When I returned to the building to buy some stamps, I discovered that on Saturday its hours were only 09.00-12.00. I will have to come back Monday morning before I leave for Schaffhausen.
When I arrived at the Post Museum at 12.30 it too was closed, but only for another half hour. Many businesses in Europe close during the lunch hour. Fortunately I only had a little while to wait and continued my walk around the city. I found the embassy of Monaco–now this is the ultimate pissing contest if I ever saw one. The second-smallest country having diplomatic representation in the sixth-smallest country.
The Post Museum really is housed in one small room. I stayed merely one hour, looking at the complete philatelic history of the country back to its first issue of stamps in 1912. I took some photos, including shots of all the old Liechtensteiner mailboxes.
I purchased a large map of the entire country (scale is 1:25.000). This will come in handy tomorrow, when I walk across the north, crossing two international borders.
Speaking of borders, there was no control when the bus crossed the Rhine, arriving in Liechtenstein. Not that I even expected it, although I had my passport ready just in case.
The hostel I am staying at is located midway between the town of Schaan and Vaduz. Judging from the Vaduz city map, I can walk there in less than twenty minutes. My walk to work takes that long. In addition, the Lonely Planet book on Switzerland says it’s a half-hour walk from the hostel to Buchs, so I might just check in (when the hostel opens at 17.00; it’s 16.20 now) drop off my backpack then walk back to the Buchs train station and grab my two suitcases. The bus I want runs every twenty minutes and I will take the bus to the hostel since I do not plan to walk it with two heavy suitcases.
Storekeepers greet people with the Swiss “Grüezi”, a sad reminder that I’m not in Romansch Switzerland anymore.
Now I will send this and check out the Liechtenstein National Library.