Lost Photo Post: Vaduz, Liechtenstein

It is once again time to add to my series of photo posts where I took a bunch of photographs, intending to make a blog post out of them, and then never got around to actually writing the post.

On April 24th of this year, I joined two colleagues from our German office for a car ride from Regensburg Germany to Zurich Switzerland to attend some meetings.   The gentlemen in the car with me were kind enough to allow me to persuade them to detour very slightly, around lunch-time, into my 28th country visited: Liechtenstein.

The Principality of Liechtenstein is a tiny landlocked country that sits between Austria on the northeast and Switzerland on the southwest.  The entire country is roughly 62 square miles in size, with an estimated population of about 37,000 people.  That’s one-eleventh the population of Miami, Florida!

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The fact that Vaduz wasn’t a very lengthy detour helped me to persuade my colleagues.  Also beneficial to my request for a detour is the fact that both of them are fond of a good restaurant.  We set out to Vaduz to dine.  The choice was between Vaduz and neighboring Schaan, and I pushed for Vaduz.   The food at Restaurant Adler was just ok, but the decorations were fascinating.

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I preferred Vaduz to Schaan because Vaduz is the capital city. In this case, the city is less than seven square miles in size, with a population of a little more than 5,000 people.

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Liechtenstein is a very wealthy city, and while walking through the city center, we saw several banks, a Superdry store, and this Botero sculpture:

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Lest you think it was all ritz and culture, there was also this giant Weber grill.

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Liechtenstein is also a constitutional monarchy, and the most prominent landmark in Vaduz is Vaduz Castle, home of the current reigning prince.  The castle is sitting on a steep hill overlooking Vaduz, and you can see it from just about anywhere in the city.

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Here’s a slightly more zoomed photo of Vaduz Castle, taken after lunch and just before we continued our drive into Switzerland.

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Have you ever been to Liechtenstein?

Editor’s Note:  I’m attempting to blog every day in November with CheerPeppers.  I don’t expect to succeed because life be crazy, but any blogging in excess of my previous post-free month is a win, right?

Easter Weekend 2013, Part Three: Zurich, Switzerland

The Friday and Monday surrounding Easter weekend this year were public holidays in Bavaria.  Since I had a long weekend, I decided to do a whirlwind tour through Strasbourg France, Freiburg Germany, Zurich Switzerland, and the Rhine Falls near the Swiss-German border.  I’m going to write about them one at a time, though.  Next up is Zurich!

Sunday morning, I grabbed an early train from Freiburg into Zurich.  If you arrive by train, you will find yourself in one of the  busiest train stations in the world, with nearly three thousand trains a day.  Hanging overhead in the main hall, you’ll see L’Ange Protecteur by French artist and sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle, a French sculptor.   I hadn’t heard of her sculptures, called Nanas, until I saw this one.  There’s a bunch more in in various places around Europe.

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In front of the train station, there is easy access to the street tram system, and from there you can get almost anywhere else in the city.  The street directly opposite, Bahnhofstrasse, is a very busy and fairly well known shopping street.  I spent some time in the evening walking down this street trying to find the source of a tantalizingly delicious smelling food smell-  I never figured out where it was coming from.

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I took the tram to the Rathaus stop in order to see some of the more well known sights in Zurich, and that let me out in front of this building:

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From there, it was a very short walk to most of what I wanted to see.  First I walked up the hill to Lindenhof.  This is a hill in the middle of the city, with a really spectacular view.  Apparently it used to be a Roman fort, but honestly, this is Europe- what wasn’t a part of an old Roman fort?  You can see Grossmünster, the church with the two dome-shaped spires on the right side there.  That’s the next place I walked.

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Grossmünster was a very impressive structure.  I didn’t know until after I was gone that you can actually climb the tower.  Blast!  I missed a chance to go into a tall thing!  I’m sure I’ll be back there in the near future, though.

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The door of Grossmünster is ornate and fascinating.

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Grossmünster is quite pretty inside, also.

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Across the river from Grossmünster is a courtyard area that connects shopping streets (and the climb to Lindenhof) to Fraumünster.  There are a lot of clocks in Zurich.   I wonder how often one of them is wrong.

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Inside Fraumünster there are four glass windows which were painted by Marc Chagall.  You’re not supposed to take pictures of them from inside the church, so pretend you didn’t see this.

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After a busy day of seeing churches and not climbing them, I stopped for lunch in a tasty place called Cafe Odeon, which has apparently been open for more than 100 years.

I had the Rösti, which is a common food in Switzerland, a fried potato dish which is somewhat similar to hash browns.  In this case, I had it with fried eggs and a some vegetables.  It was quite delicious.

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Easter graffiti!  I saw this while I was walking to where the Jacob Coffee Museum is.  Unfortunately, the Coffee Museum is closed for renovation.  The information I read said that it would be open in March of 2013, but it was most definitely not finished with renovations.   Oops!

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While I was walking to yet another closed attraction (stupid holiday weekend), I saw this lovely flowering tree.  Someone tricked this plant into thinking it was already springtime.

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The aforementioned closed attraction-  This is the Polybahn, a 19th century funicular that goes steeply up and down one of the hills near the center.  I like funiculars, naturally, but this one wasn’t running.  Stupid holiday weekend.

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That was the bulk of my sightseeing for the day.  I went back to the hotel room for a little while to shake off a headache in the late afternoon, and didn’t go out again except for dinner, a little more wandering, and some dessert.  Dessert was this amazing piece of apple pie at Hotel Schweizerhof’s Café Gourmet, a nifty little place for a snack across the street from the Bahnhof.

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Have you been to Zurich?