Day 37 – Liechtenstein, so close and yet so far

Bludenz to Rankweil, 29Km

Hotel Da Yang 67 euros

There was a classic Alpine thunderstorm last night over Bludenz, massive thunder and lightning all at once. Great entertainment but I was glad not to be out walking.

I met a couple of Austrian men walking a bit of Jakobsweg, complete with pilgrim staff and scallop shells but they spoke almost no English (or Japanese) so we just walked for a little bit here and there, in silence.

Today’s highlight was going to be Liechtenstein. I set the compass bearings back in Bratislava and I think I did extremely well. I missed it by only 6Km as the Alpine Chough flies. I could almost see the country, just around the corner from Feldkirch. The problem is that it’s surrounded by mountains and likes to keep a low profile. Although Liechtenstein is not in the EU, it is in the Schengen zone and it’s easy to acquire citizenship: all you have to do is live in the country for 30 years. Obviously I could jump on a bus in the morning just to say I’ve been there but I don’t think they want smelly pilgrims loitering about in the free trade zone.

I’m staying in a Chinese hotel tonight. One day all hotels will be owned by the Chinese. They’re good at it. As I’m the only guest, they cancelled breakfast and refunded me 7 euros, advising me to go to the nearby McDonalds where I can eat well for less than that. I flinched at paying 2.40 euros for a can of beer from their vending machine so I paid 79 cents in the supermarket just opposite, for a fine bottle of Graf Anton Gold which Mr Yang cheerfully opened for me. Beer is remarkably cheap in Austria. He also cooked me a special meal for 8.60 euros so I didn’t have to risk my health on the buffet (25 euros).

Tomorrow morning, after my Egg McMuffin, I will walk over the Rhine into Switzerland. I can’t believe it’s so easy to walk into Switzerland. It wasn’t always so. Cue Steve McQueen again on his 650cc Triumph and, of course, The Sound of Music

Happy pilgrims Gerhard and Franz
Another fine walk today
Switzerland ahead
Basilica in Rankweil and Camino petrol station
Looking towards Liechtenstein (ahead and left around the corner) from the top of the Basilica

10 comments on “Day 37 – Liechtenstein, so close and yet so far

  1. I’m reading this whilst drinking my €7 bottle of Rosa Blanca from my mini bar here in Majorca and feeling totally ripped off. But the real question is was Steve McQueen really riding a Triumph, hijacked from an unsuspecting Wehrmacht soldier, who should have been on a BMW like all his colleagues, or was this a Sneaky MGM budget saving substitution…?

    • I’m at the limit of my knowledge on this. I understand Steve McQueen’s bike of choice was the Metisse Desert Racer, a British legend with a fully reconditioned original 650 cc T6 Triumph engine. It’s one of the great tragedies of WW2 that if they’d given Steve his Matisse, he’d certainly have cleared that final fence.

  2. Roger Clarkson

    You must have been a strange sight to the alpacas.

  3. Tassie Kaz

    Ha ha…Camino petrol station…good one 😄

    Be prepared for Swiss ‘sticker shock’. That beer may not seem so expensive now…and with the € & CHF being one for one, you can’t even disguise it via currency conversion!

    • When I first travelled to Switzerland 50 years ago the exchange rate was over 4 to the £. That’s where it should be today to make prices seem reasonable

  4. Philippa T

    I spoke too soon – that’s a great pilgrim selfie! And the alpacas are lovely.

  5. I’ll never look at a Shell station the same way, Tim! Hadn’t made the connection before. 😆

    • Strangely neither had I! When I took the photo I thought it would be good to include the petrol station for scale and as a contrast to the basilica. I was just trying to think of a caption when I saw the Shell logo as something else!

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