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