The last night in Liechtenstein was a send-off with fireworks. Or at least that is what it meant to me. Birthday parties are often ended that way, I leaned, so I enjoyed some from the window of the hotel.
I stayed two days in the tiny country and blew my budget until it now looks like Swiss cheese.
My hotel was in a little village of Nendeln, and about a twenty minute drive to the Capital City Vaduz, and that was my destination yesterday.
I realized all this time I could be getting a senior citizen discount on the bus system, but didn’t know how to ask for one, so I came up with, “Ich been an alt frau” , which, in bad German says, “I’m an old lady.”
The bus driver laughed and gave me the discount.
The nice lady, Dagmar, at the hotel, when I asked if I could leave my luggage while I spent time in Vaduz, agreed to give me the key to the hotel to use whenever I came back to get my luggage. The hotel would be closed at noon, and that would have only given me a couple of hours.
So off I went without my luggage to Vaduz. The first place I stopped inside the town with many banks, was the Liechtenstein National Museum. It was so well organized and interesting, with commentary available in English. The docents were accommodating and plied me with free booklets about the history and the principality of the small country.
The Reigning Prince Hans-Adam II, lives with his family in the Verduz Castle that sits high on a rocky terrace, and is accessible on a steep path, which puts you at the foot of the castle. Visitors are not allowed into the castle, but it’s not unusual, I’ve been told ,to see the royal family in the town at times.
After I toured the museum, and went on further to the art museum, and observed the tall granite buildings, and many banks, that match the towering granite peaks surrounding the country, I decided to try the path to the castle.
It was a rocky, steep road, whereby, there wasn’t anyplace I could use as a railing. Once in awhile, a shrub on top of a wall would help me gain my balance, but other than that, I struggled up the steep road until it turned and continued on in a rocky, slippery path of fallen leaves.
“My gosh, what did I get myself into?” I stopped where a couple were taking photos and taking their time up the path.
“Yes, and we’re not even there yet,” the young woman said and pointed toward the top.
I struggled to keep my feet on the ground, and to stay on the path, but by then, my knees were about to give out. Then I saw the castle wall and that gave me hope.
Meanwhile, people passed me up, and a few people were coming back down from the castle. Some smiled at my struggle.
I will not give up, I told myself. Meanwhile, I saw a road with cars driving down, and it looked as though they were driving past the castle. “Well, now I know the Royal Family doesn’t go up and down this hill.” I said to the couple who now had caught up with me and now passing me by.
I made it to the top and saw the castle with the guard house, and then worried about how I would get down the steep path with my weak knees.
Since cars were passing me heading down the hill, I thought it should be no problem to hitch a ride, so I stuck my thumb out, and only decided that was useless when three cars stormed by.
So back on the path, I put one foot in front of another one, ever so slowly, that I must have been seen to shuffle as I stepped precariously on the downhill slope with nothing to hold on to.
About half way down, I began to realize there was no turning back, and there was no other way to get down the hill but to persevere, and that put me in mind of my brother Jack. He was a surveyor and did most of his work in the Colorado mountains, all the while suffering from years of pain, from a youthful serious bout of polio. He never gave up and neither will I. Then I looked down on the path and found a heart shaped rock.
I made it off the mountain and back to the hotel to pick up my luggage.
I met another couple at the bus stop, who I had also seen on the trail, and they helped me make certain I would get on the correct bus. She is originally from Finland and takes care of children, and he is Swiss and is a landscape architect. They were delightful and It felt good to spend some time talking with them. That’s what makes my whole adventure worth while.
And that was the beginning of the next chapter…the trip to Ticino in Switzerland where I am now.