Last night we camped in Liechtenstein. Well, there’s something I never thought I’d get to say.
But let’s catch up on the last few days. We flew Qatar Airlines from Adelaide to Doha to Munich on Sunday-Monday. Good flights, almost-new planes, both of them fairly full. Getting through Immigration in Munich was probably the worst experience we’ve ever had, and we’ve been through the LAX ordeal a few times. Too many people, not enough officials to process us all. Anyway, both our enormous duffel bags were there, with the 60kgs we seem to travel everywhere with – tent, sleeping mattresses, gas stove, ice box, about 8kgs of travel guides and all the rest of the must-haves.
We picked up ‘our’ shiny white Ford Focus station wagon from the Avis counter, and that was a bit complicated because we’re renting it for more than the standard 30 days, but it eventually got sorted and headed to our hotel in a little village about halfway between the airport and Munich.
Then yesterday we started the drive south towards Croatia, passing through Austria and into Liechtenstein. It’s always such a thrill, going to another country without catching a plane, and in fact yesterday we were actually in 3 different countries in the one day!
We’re having the usual minor problems of trying to find things – folding chairs, gas cartridges, ice. The folding chairs seem to be rare here, or we’re just not looking in the right places. Finally found some, at 3x the price of home. Gas cartridges are even rarer, and much more expensive, and ice is non-existent … so far. Hopefully as we head further south and it gets warmer, we’ll find some.
We tried a campground in Austria last night, but they only had one tiny site, so we kept on going to a campground between Feldkirch and Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein. $50 for an unpowered tent site, but the campground is gorgeous … terraced sites built on a hill, fruit trees everwhere, and the apple trees are all laden with ripe fruit at the moment, cute little chalet-style cabins, grass and an outdoor pool. It’s 11C here today, so we’ll be giving the pool a miss, I think. We can see across the valley to villages on the mountain opposite. It rained last night, but is fine today … so far!
And here are a few things we’ve learnt about Liechtenstein – population 37,000 (no, I didn’t leave any zeros off that number!), 3rd highest GDP in the world after Qatar & Luxemburg, 6th smallest country in the world and it’s double land-locked, which means it is landlocked by countries which are also landlocked. I really hope that last fact is a question at a Quiz Night sometime soon! Like Norway, they are not part of the EU, but are in the European Free Trade Association. Unemployment rate of 1.5%, German speaking and they have a monetary union with Switzerland, so prices are in CHF Swiss francs, but the campground also accepted our euros, at a rate of 1:1. When we were checking in, there was an Asian family who were not happy about that exchange rate for complicated reasons, but we just figured that paying the equivalent of $50 for a tent site was so outrageous that saving a couple of bucks wasn’t going to make much difference.