Liechtenstein. A very, very small German-speaking country squeezed in between Austria and Switzerland. Extremely easy to overlook and forget about. A lot of people don’t even bother to include Liechtenstein in their trips, but we decided we definitely wanted to see it after looking up photos of in on the Internet. Beautiful mountains, green hills and majestic castles overlooking the tiny country was exactly what we were after.
Although we really wanted to see this country, we struggled with finding any host in there. Even when following our rules of being a succesful surfer, there were just almost no members on couchsurfing (there are less than 20 that were active in the last month!); that’s why we failed and had no place to stay in. Instead, we found a place for us just on the border – in Buchs (SG); but we only had it for one night. We were afraid that we won’t be able to see anything. Very upset, we started hitchhiking from Innsbruck. But, in a small austrian city called Feldkirch, we got the perfect opportunity to see the capital! We hitchhiked a car with two tourists driving to Switzerland that also wanted to stop in this small country for sightseeing. That’s how we managed to get to see Vaduz, although very briefly.
Vaduz is a very tiny city – only 17.3km2 and with 5,429 people living there (according to Wikipedia). It’s not the biggest in Liechtenstein; the city next to it – Schaan- has a bit larger population. But Vaduz is the capital and the seat of national parliament.
At first, we decided to see the beautiful Vaduz Castle. Because our drivers couldn’t find a road leading there, we decided to walk uphill. It was a very nice, short hike (but enough to make Aleks and I tired and out of breath) and the views were definitely worth it! While going up, we stopped a few times just to see the capital from above and take some pictures.
After we got there, we found out how small the castle actually is. We were also quite disappointed that after going all the way up, you learn that you are not allowed to see the inside of it, or even from the garden. We had no idea that the castle is not open to the public because the royal family lives there. Oops! We thought that it’s more of a tourist attraction and that’s why we were disheartened. Now we know that we shouldn’t have been; We should’ve been prepared and read about it beforehand. Our fault, but after all, it was still completely worth it to hike all the way up!
That’s when we experienced the first homophobic encounter of our trip. Since both Aleks and I are in a Polish LGBT+ organization and were in the middle of preparations for Pride Week during the trip, we were entrusted with the task of taking pictures in beautiful places with our flag to advertise the event. Since Vaduz seemed like the perfect place to do so, we took out our flag and snapped some pictures. Then, our driver -curious about what we were doing- asked us about it. Only after explaining that we are taking a photo for our friends from an LGBT+ group had we found out that he was actually a very religious and homophobic person. We were scared to admit that we are queer so we tried to avoid any personal questions. During the entire hike back down to the car, he was telling us that god loves everyone and will cure every gay person. That there is still hope in reparative therapy. We disagreed, and tried to explain that homosexuality is not an illness but- as it’s usually the case in these kinds of situations- our protests fell on deaf ears. When we told him we are atheists, he ensured us that, quote: “After a while you will be seeking God yourselves, you will be hungry for Him and one day He will come to you”. We were actually lucky that this guy wasn’t the aggressive kind of homophobe- only the religious and preaching type. We just kept on walking and tried not to get angry with him. After all, we still wanted for them to drive us to Switzerland.
After a lovely conversation, we split up for some time and had the chance to see the city center. Since there was not much to see, soon enough we left the country and drove all the way to Buchs (SG). There, we stayed with a family in their new house for one night. Sometimes it’s quite hard to travel the way we do, and we remember having a difficult night there, since we had no internet and still had no host in Zurich for our next days of traveling… We were really worried that we will have to option but to sleep somewhere on the streets. Because of that, we couldn’t really enjoy our time there. We planned to go and see the waterfall that was somewhere near our short-term house, but we decided to leave early the next day in order to go to McDonald’s and use their free wi-fi to send requests to almost every human being on CS in the capital of Switzerland.
Overall, we think that Liechtenstein is definitely worth visiting! It’s so easy to miss (or even to find on a map) but it has a lot to offer. We are sad that we weren’t able to see anything more than the capital but we were very lucky that we had the chance to see at least that part of the country.
- Couchsurfing: 0/10
- Hitchhiking in and out: 9/10 overall
- Freeganism: N/A
- Busking: N/A
- Blackriding: N/A
We haven’t found any host in the whole country so we rated it 0/10. We also had a lot of luck with hitchhiking and could see the capital although we were in fact going to Switzerland.
Innsbruck -> Buchs (SG): Innsbruck-West highway ramp on a Innrain street, after a petrol station. Somewhere around there: 47°15’20.8″N 11°22’35.5″E
Buchs (SG) -> west: on a roundabout where you can go out of the city on a highway no. 13; somewhere here: 47°10’05.7″N 9°29’09.7″E