Day 196: Liechtenstein and St GallenAugust 29, 2017 in Liechtenstein
Another busy day today - we're blasting as quick as we can through the rest of Switzerland! Fairly early departure from Zuoz, heading north again out of the mountains. After about two hours driving through progressively smaller mountains and wider valleys we arrived at our first stop, the mountain country of Liechtenstein.
This is definitely small enough to be called a micro-country, it's only about 200sqkm in area and with a population of 37,000 - about the same as Thirroul! We stopped in the capital city, Vaduz, where the Prince's castle stands on a cliff-top above the main town. You can't go inside as it's still their main residence, though these days the country is a constitutional monarchy with the Prince as just a figurehead. Good views from nearby though!
Drove down into the main part of town, and here you really notice that it's the second-wealthiest country on earth in terms of GDP per capita (only Monaco is higher). Lots of brand new luxury cars, everyone dressed sharply in designer suits and dresses, prices quite high as well. We bought our lunch from the Co-op supermarket and ate at a small park in the bus station! Wandered up and down the main pedestrian mall but it was basically all super-expensive boutiques and luxury chains like Hermes and Rolex, so after an hour or so we hopped back in the car and drove off. Good to tick it off at least!
Next stop for the day was the Swiss city of St Gallen to the north-west, heading up towards the German border. Here was our only UNESCO stop for the day, at the Abbey of St Gall. This was a supremely important medieval monastery, with one of the largest libraries in Europe. Something like 140,000 documents in the collection, and over 400 of those are from pre-1000 which is quite crazy. Also the earliest known still-surviving architectural drawing, a layout plan of an ideal monastery (which was never built).
Spent a couple of hours going around here, though outside of the library where we couldn't film, there wasn't a whole lot to see. Ah well.
Back in the car where we headed further north to our digs for the night, a shepherd's hut in someone's backyard! Quite roomy, and they had a large "natural" swimming pool in the backyard, so we jumped in after ducking out for dinner supplies. Cooked up some Bavarian sausages for dinner which was quite good - first time in a long time that we've cooked something other than pasta or pizza! And lucky we're going to Italy in a few days!Read more