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Liechtenstein for the Day, the Prince’s Castle – Day 51
Sunday 20th September 2009 – Liechtenstein
The night sleep was short lived as one by one the other guys in the room started to come in. They are all workers lodging here for a while. They started to come in around 12:30, and it wasn’t until after 3pm that the talking and the noise died down. One guy even put stuff on my bed on top of me briefly while I was trying to sleep. This was just the beginning, though.
The problem now was that with everyone now asleep, the snoring had begun. At least 3 of the guys snored, one particularly loudly. I don’t know if I got much sleep but I know I was very tired in the morning.
I had my breakfast and trudged off in the direction of town with my map in hand. I ended up in the place I needed to be, rather than me actually finding it, and to my luck, the bus I needed pulled up at that precise moment. He spoke English, I got on, then we were off to Liechtenstein.
Border control consisted of one man in an office on the phone, waving the bus straight through. I was told they were quite strict this side. Our point of completion in Liechtenstein was Schaan. It isn’t the main town, but is within walking distance of it.
From the bus stop, I looked at a road sign for Vaduz, and followed its direction towards the capital. The sign also said 1 hour, I presumed it meant walking, not driving. A while into the walk and the sight of an open supermarket caught my attention, it was Sunday after all, and I needed lunch at some point today. I embarrassed myself a little at the till as I managed to mix Euros with Swiss Franks. When I tried to count it out I took a while. With Swiss Franks, the ½ Frank looks identical to the 10 cents coin. I had to study each coin in turn before laying it down in her hand. Nobody was amused but I laughed to myself outside the building.
A bag full of food and water, a nice hot day, and beautiful mountain scenery in all directions. What could be better?! The bells chimed in the nearby tower while the mountains refused to show their faces from behind a layer of cloud. The cars passed by regularly on their daily pursuit, and I carried on walking down this straight road that would eventually lead me to Vaduz, stopping only to let a train by. I had no choice really. All was well until I noticed a sign in the direction I was going saying Feldkirch, which is where the hostel is. I knew Feldkirch and Vaduz were in opposite directions and consulted my sat nav just to be sure.
A big sigh and a 180 degree turn after realising I was going in the wrong direction, and off I set backtracking all I had done for 40 minutes already. Another 40 minutes and I was back where I started, past the wrongly pointing sign and into the opposite direction. Another sign confirmed I was at least headed the right way this time. I was already tired at this point as the weather was extremely hot. It was cold and cloudy when I set out this morning, and now in my jeans, I was beginning to feel the burn.
I walked for an hour down some very quiet roads, and wondered if I was actually there already, but being Saturday, all was closed. I even toyed with the idea of turning back, but I carried on for a little while longer. The sight of the Prince’s Castle on the hilltop overlooking the town gave me reason to believe I was not there, but nearly. Indeed a few minutes later I turned into a busy, bustling street full of tourists. The only language I seemed to keep hearing was English, mostly from Americans. I was glad I hadn’t turned back.
I spent a while eyeing up the souvenirs, wondering what, if anything, I should buy, then walked further down the main stretch. All around were glorious views of the surrounding mountain scape, and if you looked up from the main town, you could see the Prince’s Castle looking down upon you. There is no visiting the Castle as he still lives there. Signs on the road in many languages enforce this message to the hordes of nosey tourists. I was one of them.
I took in the atmosphere for a while, then began my hike back to the bus station in Schaan. I was glad to get on the bus and take the weight off. We came back across the border in similar fashion to how we first crossed, and came to a halt at Feldkirch, where I hopped off. I had my map with me and wanted to see the points of interest that this town had, as informed by the hostel reception. It is a nice little town with a river running through, a few historical buildings to catch your attention for a moment or two, but I felt like I just wanted to get back now. It wasn’t late but I was done. So I took the walk back to the hostel.
Upon arrival, I grabbed a drink and sat in the lounge area for a bit. I also jumped on the Internet terminal to try and piece together more of the trip for the next week or so. Most hostels are booked now, but I cant do the route I wanted to do. Either no hostels, or booked up hostels means I have to rethink my route. I think I have an idea what I want to do now. There was just time for a lie down before dinner, but I didn’t know what dinner would be. All supermarkets closed early today and I had no food. The nearest takeaway was back in town, meaning a 1 hour round trip, just to eat. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.
I bit the bullet and headed off into town to a McDonald’s I arrived at where I though it was, but couldn’t see it anywhere. I walked around for 20 minutes trying to find the damn place, then consulted my sat nav as my own nav was shot to pieces evidently. I was minutes away, and had already walked past it somehow. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I rounded the bend, it was closed. CLOSED!! The reason I missed it was because the walkway took me underneath the sign, and the lights weren’t on, because it was closed. Almost an hour walking for nothing, and my legs were already on their last legs, excuse the pun. All I could do was head back, maybe there was a ‘cup a soup’ in my bag I could have. I walked back and to my delight, spotted a takeaway store near the train station down a small road. I jumped in their and grabbed a burger to take away.
While walking back with a burger in my hand, the relief of having food was short lived. The first spots of rain could be felt on my face. All the wishing and hoping didn’t bring any relief from the constant patter. It began to worsen as my pace quickened, and I was beginning to feel the water down my back. Finishing the burger as quick as I could so I could shield my bag and the contents in it, I saw the hostel in the distance. By the time I arrived I was very wet, rain and sweat, but not soaked thankfully. Throughout the evening I dried off.
I lay in bed that night, and just as in the previous night, people kept coming and going from the room, 11pm until 3pm, switching the lights on and off, banging the lockers, talking normally, laughing aloud. Don’t people understand the word ‘consideration’?!
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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