At the start of this month we successfully visited Nice and Monaco, a trip which we had originally planned for early May 2020. We had also had plans for the second bank holiday weekend in May 2020, which involved flying to Zurich and visiting Liechtenstein, the final one of the "small" European countries that we hadn't been to. Of course, that trip got cancelled and I ended up with vast quantities of EasyJet vouchers to use.
We rebooked the trip for the Jubilee bank holiday in June 2022 and I was excited about the prospect of finally getting to do something which had been planned so long ago. Then EasyJet started to hit the headlines again for cancelling large numbers of flights from Gatwick this week and I started to get a bit nervous whether the trip was actually going to happen. The nerves weren't helped by the fact that EasyJet kept sending me emails this week; first of all to remind me about my upcoming trip, then to tell me that there might not be a food and drink service on the flight, then to recommend I get to the airport 2.5 hours before my flight... every time I saw an email I thought it was going to be bad news!
But a cancellation email never came, and so we set our alarms for 01.30 this morning in order to get to Gatwick for our 07.05 flight to Zurich. It was rather an early start(!) but at least the roads were quiet and we got to Gatwick in plenty of time. Security was a breeze and the biggest queue in the airport was to get a table at Wetherspoons. Our flight took off on time and we arrived in Switzerland around 09.50. This is the first post-Covid flight we've had where masks haven't been required; there's no rule requiring them to be worn either in the UK or in Switzerland.
We were sitting near the front of the plane again, which meant we were able to get off quickly and be at the front of the queue for passport control. Going through passport control as a non-EU citizen is still taking a bit of getting used to; we got questioned today about how long we were staying in Switzerland and why we were here. Plus another stamp in our passports, of course.
I'd pre-bought our train tickets on the SBB app, so we were able to walk straight out of the airport and jump on a train towards the centre of Zurich at 10.15. We changed in Zurich onto a second train which, over the course of the next hour, took us towards the small Swiss town of Sargans.
First of all we travelled down the side of Lake Zurich.
From that point the scenery began to get mountainous.
We passed through a tunnel and emerged alongside more water.
This time it was the beautifully clear waters of the Walensee.
We arrived in Sargans around 11.30, which was a bit too early to have lunch, so we had a stroll around to see the sights instead.
It's a fairly small place, but it does have a pretty church...
...plus an impressive castle, complete with Swiss flag flying.
There were some really pretty houses and flower displays in the town too.
We ended up in the Hotel Post, where we had schnitzel and chips off what seemed to be their "light bites" menu for around £40. Prices in Switzerland are expensive! The food was good though and the service was prompt too, so we were full and finished with our lunch with plenty of time to spare before the 13.14 bus to Vaduz.
There are at least two buses an hour from outside the train station in Sargans to the town of Feldkirch in Austria, all of which pass through Liechtenstein on the way. You can buy bus tickets for Liechtenstein via the SBB app as well, which makes life simpler, so we were just able to get straight onto the bus when it arrived. We needed to get off at a random bus stop on the outskirts of the capital, Vaduz, and I had been a little bit worried that it would be difficult to find the right stop. But I needn't have stressed about it; the bus was really modern with a screen and announcements making the next stops clear.
After around half an hour, we arrived in Vaduz
(Yes, that really is Vaduz - it has a population of less than 6,000 people!).
In Vaduz we changed to a second bus which took us to the small village of Triesenberg where we are staying. I chose Triesenberg as our destination mainly on the basis that it had a hotel we could afford, but it actually seems to be a really lovely place.
We got off the bus in the centre of the village, by the church and town hall.
Our hotel was only about 600m away from the bus stop, but the route was uphill. Luckily we had a very scenic view as we walked.
The hotel is right by the village church, so I have a feeling we might hear some bells in the morning!
It's a slightly unusual hotel in that it's self check-in via a machine. It all worked really well; we put in a credit card, inputted all our personal details into the machine and it outputted two hotel key cards and a receipt!
The hotel room itself is fairly standard. We've paid about £130/night, but it does include some sort of breakfast.
We had come prepared for the fact the Liechtenstein has strange hexagonal sockets, of the same style as the ones we encountered when we visited Ticino in 2015. But I thought it was a nice touch that the desk in the hotel room included an adapter for anyone who hadn't realised that this was the case.
The best thing about the hotel room is the balcony We've got a wonderful view of the village, plus a Liechtenstein flag in one direction...
...while in the other direction we can see down to the river Rhine, which forms part of the border between Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
After such an early start this morning, what we desperately wanted now was a nap. We went to bed for a few hours, before getting up and having another stroll around Triesenberg.
It had been a bit cloudy in places when we'd arrived, but the weather had since improved and so we now had even better views in some directions
We were hungry again after our early lunch but the handful of restaurants in Triesenberg all seemed really expensive; the only affordable thing on the menu was Schnitzel, which we didn't feel like twice in one day Instead we decided to visit the local supermarket and stock up on some bread, cheese, crisps and wine to make our own picnic on the balcony.
Not the most sophisticated of meals, but we definitely couldn't complain about the view