It took us three planes and eight hours of driving, broken up over two days, to make it from New York to Ljubljana to Liechtenstein. So, once we’d arrived and unpacked our little tent home, we went out to stretch our legs. It’s about an hour’s journey along a walking trail into the capital (Vaduz) from our campsite outside of Trieson. Being as the entire length of this microstate would probably take about five hours to traverse on foot, the commute gave us a good first look at our new country – and its people.
The path closer to the river was reserved for bicyclists. So, our route serviced every other conceivable mode of transportation. I can’t tell you much about Liechtenstein yet, on our second day, but I do know that its people really like saying hello. No matter their level of exertion, passersby gave us a smile or nod and a “Grüß Gott!” or “Hallo!” This man road past us on both our maiden and return trips. The second greeting was even more cheerful than the first. A woman on horseback said hello mid trot. The student driver steering her scooter in circles on a practice track nearby probably would have given us a greeting, had she not been so focused on staying upright.
Then, there was this hang-glider. We first spotted him above our heads and then, about a half hour later, there he was beside us, packing up with a friend. About as quickly as Merlin's camera audibly snapped this picture, he lunged toward us, itching to take his own photo. We posed with his glider as he took our portrait from one angle and then another and then “another to get the mountains!” We don’t have many pictures of the two of us on this trip. Now, we have at least five more.
On our map of Liechtenstein, the country’s border is represented by a dashed yellow line. I’m convinced the marks also signify cornfields. So. Much. Corn. Since we still don’t have any idea what the royals look like, we joked that each passing person was a prince or princess and waited for a paparazzo to jump out from behind the corn stalks. These are the things you do to entertain yourself when you’re jetlagged and walking in a ninety degree day’s bright sun.
Leaving Vaduz, in late evening, we turned off the main road, back onto our trail. Clawlike bailers sat back in barns, their work done for the season. All piled up in the dusk, the marshmallows looked a little like clouds fallen from the sky.
The trail was mostly pitch dark, except for a chunk illuminated by this Erdgas station. Pretty futuristic, huh? A Liechtenstein Bus pulled in to fill up with natural and the industrial fans whirred overhead. We made it back safe and sound and fell right a sleep. Like I said, we're a little jet lagged.