Sunday, July 17, 2005

The three views of Liechtenstein

Are there three? Geography is a funny thing when this tiny area is called a country, while a land as vast as Russia is narrowed down to the same thing. While down at Lake Constance we took the chance to drive through Liechtenstein and see if Vaduz Castle was free of scaffolding (but as per Ian’s law of conservation of scaffolding, whereby whichever monument we plan to visit will be covered in scaffolding for the duration of whatever opportunity we have to see it, whether this be hours, months or years, then the answer was of course no).

Judging by the behaviour of the busloads of Japanese, Chinese and Spanish tourists, and the campervans full of Finns, the three views are simple: pretty postage stamps for their postcards, queueing to pay for a Liechtenstein stamp in their passport, and snapping photos of the castle. I’ve already written about the stamp hype of Liechtenstein in Student Traveler (pretty pdf version on p. 38 here), but after this trip I would add the hairpin curves of the route to the castle, where patches of cobblestones are designed to slow down motorists but result only in a lot of extra noise, as a more unique attraction.

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