The sun woke me early and as I peered outside the tent the sky was already a deep blue. If I needed any more proof of how quickly the weather could change here in the mountains, I only had to look back at this last few weeks where I’ve had everything from snow and sleet, dramatic thunder storms with torrential rain, and of course baking hot sunshine.
As I’d looked at the map and tried to work out the least hilly option for today, I chose to follow the railway line heading North East towards Zurich. Surely that had to be devoid of major climbs? Major yes, climbs, no. How dumb of me to forget that the Swiss are masters at taking trains up inclines!
However once I’d reached Pfaffikon and the shore of Obersee, I turned inland and followed the farm roads East to Wallensee. The riding was really nice and peaceful, with of course the stunning views. I have to give Switzerland top marks for it’s cycle path network.
My plan had been to cross over into Liechtenstein and find a campsite for the night, but as I rode along the shore of Walensee I decided this was a perfect place to stop and then I could have my rest day tomorrow, with just the short ride over the border. I was also feeling more than a little tired at this point, it had been another long day in the saddle.
I watched the sun setting over the lake and reflected on my travels here in Switzerland. It had been pretty slow going but to be fair I was also taking my time and I think I found the changing weather made me feel much more tired than usual. I’m doing much less distance though and this is becoming a concern, so let’s hope for more settled weather in the rest of Europe. Tomorrow would be an early start and then a well earned rest, at least that was the plan.
I woke late, had a good breakfast of yoghurt, muesli, bread and jam and then set off on the short trip to Sargans, which lies at the southernmost tip of Liechtenstein. Not expecting to get out my camera on this section, I couldn’t pass by these wonderful churches without doing so…
From Sargans I followed The Rhein cyclepath north to the bridge at Vaduz and crossed the border, if you can call it that. It was simply a sign and two flags at the end of the bridge.
Vaduz is a small but pretty little town and I took the time to call in at the tourist office and then explore. I came across a plaque next to a small model which explained it’s history, which I’ll repeat here just to show I do take in the culture of the places I visit.
Vaduz is the capital of the Principality of Liechtenstein, residence of the reigning prince and seat of the government and parliament. The name Vaduz comes from the ancient Latin language and dates back to the time when the romans ruled over the province of Ratia.
Vaduz was first mentioned in the records in 1150. The county of Vaduz, which now builds the main part of the present principality, was founded in 1342. The castle was once occupied by the following rulers: the Duke of Werdenberg to Vaduz, the Baron of Brandis from Emmental, the Duke to Sulz from Klettau in Baden and the Duke of Hohenems in Vorarlberg.
In the year 1712 Prince Hans Adam of Liechtenstein took over the county of Vaduz and in 1719 Emperor Karl VI united this county with the remaining part of the country, the reign Schelenberg, and called the whole realm the Principality of Liechtenstein. Vaduz was made the capital of this country.
There was an unusual set of bronze horses outside the town hall…
The town was very well kept and had an air of wealth about it, much like many of the more affluent towns I have visited. I liked the open space of the main eating area in the square…
I of course made my own lunch and then moved on, heading North through Schaan and towards the Austrian border. My initial thought of taking a rest day in Liechtenstein was not realised, as there was just not enough here to hold my attention. As things worked out it was a good call, because my stay in the Austrian town of Feldkirch was longer than expected when the rain returned with a vengeance. I’ll tell you more in the next update…
>> Click for route map