(This post follows ‘A day in Arosa’ posted on 9 Feb 2017.)
That morning, I woke up to the beautiful sights of mountains. We felt much better than the earlier day. It was a good idea to not have toured Arosa. A day’s rest ensured that we regained our strength. So much that, Vinod felt enthusiastic. He was keen on visiting Liechtenstein for the sake of adding a count to his list of ‘countries visited’ or so he said.
I wasn’t keen on visiting because I thought it might tire me; we were scheduled to leave for Geneva airport the next day which was a long drive from Arosa. I just wished to sit in the balcony all day and enjoy the beautiful sights. But Vinod had made up his mind. He suggested that we would go by train. So, we set off to conquer Liechtenstein, a small kingdom in the mountains; like Bhutan.
Getting to Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, was neither easy nor difficult. I mean, it was not easy because there was no direct train or bus to Vaduz. We needed to take a train to Chur, then take another to either Sargans or Buchs in Switzerland and then take a bus to Vaduz. But then again, it was not difficult either because there were easy and quick connections between the stations.
Hotel Seehof had given us complimentary train tickets from Arosa to Lüen-Castiel, which is two stations before Chur. So, we bought two return tickets from Lüen-Castiel to Chur on Rhaetian Railways and from Chur to Sargans on the national railway, SBB.
There was a train to Chur approximately every hour. We made it just in time. It was a scenic route amongst mountains. All along it, stood the pretty German houses. It took us about two hours to reach Vaduz.
We wanted to get to the city centre where the tourism office was and where most of the tourist attractions were. But it seemed as if we had gotten off a stop or two earlier. To save time and energy, we decided to take a bus to the city centre. We wanted to make sure we got off at the right stop this time; so, with the help of an online map, we explained our desired location to the driver. The driver was kind enough not only to ensure that we reached the city centre but also not to let us buy a ticket! Such a nice gesture!
The city centre of Vaduz was a lively place with many shops and restaurants. We settled in an Italian restaurant and had some pizza and pasta. In Europe, it is mandatory for Vinod to swallow food with beer. 😛
Then, we headed to the most exciting attraction of Vaduz; the Citytrain. The Citytrain is actually a trailer bus that looks like a toy train. It offers a quick 35-minutes tour of Vaduz. They have limited tours in the day; only one tour – which was the last tour of the day – was remaining to take off at around 4 pm. We had about two hours to kill.
So, we headed to the tourism office to gather information about the other places we could visit in the meantime. There were a couple of museums that we could visit and the Vaduz castle, the official residence of the Princely family of Liechtenstein, that we could see.
We were keen on visiting the castle. We had seen a few palaces in France and Germany in our last trip to Europe in 2010. We thought it would be great to visit one this time too. We enquired how far it was. The lady informed us that it was about half an hour’s walk along the mountain trail to the point from where we could see the castle clearly. It was then that we realised that the castle was not open to public visits! What a disappointment! We decided to skip the hike and visit the museums instead.
We visited the Liechtenstein National Museum. We got introduced to the history and political system of Liechtenstein. Then, we visited the adjoining Treasure Chamber and Postal Museum where an exhibition of jewels was organised. The entry to the hall where the jewels were kept was quite dramatic. We had to insert the coin-shaped tickets in the slot, after which one door would open. We had to step into the cabin and the door would close behind us. Only one person at a time could step into the cabin. For a few seconds, we would be alone in the cabin in pitch dark. Before, I could yell for help, the second door opened and I stepped into the hall of jewels. I was funny! The hall had a limited but interesting collection of jewels. We took a quick tour of the place and headed to the departure point of the Citytrain.
We were excited like children to sit in the toy train! The Citytrain went around the important landmarks and buildings of national importance. It took us to a point from where we could see the Vaduz castle clearly. We also passed by a vineyard and Rheinpark Stadion which is the national stadium of Liechtenstein.
We finished our tour by 5 pm or so. It was quick yet interesting and fun. The Citytrain dropped us at the same place from where we were picked up. We made a quick visit to a grocery store to buy some water, juice and chocolate. It had started to drizzle. We took shelter at a bus stop. Soon, it began to pour.
We took the same route back; a bus to Sargans, then a train to Chur and then another train to Arosa. In Arosa, it was raining quite heavily. It was windy and chilly too. We could not have waited for the rain to recede. We got into a taxi and rode to our hotel. The professional driver didn’t charge anything more than the meter fare. That would not have been so in India! And thus, our wish to have another dinner at Grottino remained unfulfilled.