05/11/2019 - 05/11/2019
The hotel breakfast provided a wide variety of cheeses, meats, breads, beverages, and cereals. I was pleased to see nut strudel given our failure to find apple strudel last night. It's not the same, but at least we got to try some kind of strudel. My guy really enjoyed their orange squeezer machine that made freshly-squeezed orange juice at the push of a button.
After breakfast, we took off on another drive through the alps, this time headed towards Liechtenstein, one of the handful of European countries I haven't yet visited.
Again, the scenery is breathtaking in a way that neither words nor pictures can describe. Driving through green pastures surrounded by deep pine forests and towering mountains is it's own reward.
Without knowing it at the time, we passed through at least part of the Arlberg tunnel, the 4th longest in the world.
We drove right into downtown Vaduz and got a great parking spot near the tourist area. Parking is free on Saturday, so we lucked out.
We picked up a map at the tourist info center and started hitting the museums.
First, we went into the Postage Museum, which is free, but where you have to go to buy tickets to the Treasure House and can also get tickets for the National Museum.
The museum is half gift shop, with all sorts of different types and ages of stamps for sale. The displays in the actual museum part mostly had Liechtenstein stamps, but also showed off an impressive collection of space-age stamps from the USSR and USA. The placards were not in English though, only German and Chinese. The Chinese tourists were buying up half the store and going crazy for the postage stuff.
Next, we entered the Treasure House downstairs. The "ticket" is a special coin you insert in order to enter a type of interlock before you can get to the treasure room. Most of the treasures are Easter eggs of various fanciness, although there were a few other items and some wall paintings. The coolest national treasure, in my opinion, are the moon rocks. I guess Liechtenstein did something for NASA, so they received a gift of some moon rocks from NASA.
After we finished the treasure room, we popped over to the National Museum to learn a bit about Liechtenstein. I really liked how they grouped items by purpose and not by age in the historic/archaeology section. Seeing the evolution of belt buckles or of pottery onto glass bottles was much more interesting to me than just looking at a collection of old stuff.
I also really enjoyed the (free) audio guide. I think to listen to it all would take all day and get old, but picking and choosing got me some interesting information without being overload. I particularly liked the description of one of their holiday traditions- the boys mark the girls with black ash and then go steal soup that was made to be stolen. And I liked the traditional "cow decorating." (They decorate the actual cows, not decorate buildings with a cow theme.
When we left the museum, it was raining. Again.
We looked for food near town square, not wanting to wander too far in the wet. We saw a big festival tent containing a live band playing American music, lots of picnic tables, and a bunch of tour groups, but no food. We saw a bunch of restaurants that were prohibitively expensive. At one of the fast food ones, some Chinese tourists had borrowed a table and were eating food they had packed themselves.
We ended up finding a Thai restaurant that was just regular expensive instead of extremely expensive, so we ate there. I really enjoyed the meal as I don't get enough Thai food normally.
Having seen all of the stuff in Vaduz that interested us, we hopped back in the car to drive to our Zurich hotel.
We're staying by the airport as we have to be at the airport in the morning. But after we got checked in, we headed downtown to see a bit of the city.
We walked around old town and the river in the sprinkling rain. We saw the outside of the buildings and popped our heads into a couple of shops and restaurants. But the food was mostly so ridiculously expensive that we just turned right around. Also, while the shopping street was busy, a lot of the old town streets were pretty quiet and closed since "tourist time" was over.
We grabbed dinner and some food for breakfast at the grocery store and headed back to the hotel for our last sleep of vacation.