Shifting gears through Europe's little secret
Published by The Globe and Mail | By Mark Richardson
There’s no sign on the bridge over the Rhine from Switzerland that says “Welcome to Liechtenstein” – or if there is, we didn’t see it. This is an understated country in every way: tiny and beautiful, practical but fiercely independent.
The entire mountainous principality, about a quarter the size of Toronto, is surrounded by Austria to the east and Switzerland to the everywhere else. It shouldn’t really exist, in the same way that San Marino, Monaco and Vatican City, which are the only European countries smaller in size, shouldn’t exist. Except it does. It has a government and a parliament, and a prince and princess who live in a castle overlooking the capital.
We drove past the castle because we were following signs to our hotel and got lost on the narrow and steeply winding road. A little farther up the mountain, the way was closed for repairs and we asked for directions from some local hikers; in Liechtenstein, everyone seems to speak English and everyone knows where everything is.