Microstates 2010

From Vienna to France, via Liechtenstein and Monaco

LiechtensteinVaduzMonacoBy the harbour

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Liechtenstein

Saturday, August 21st 2010

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After the conference in Vienna, I was heading to the south of France to meet my family for a relaxing holiday in a villa. I could have flown, but I decided to travel at ground level and stop off in some countries more or less en route that I hadn't been to. So I headed to Wien Westbahnhof, found the night train for Feldkirch and got on board. At first I had a compartment all to myself, and thought I might have a nice ride, but in the minutes before departure it filled to capacity. It would be an uncomfortable night.

We crossed Austria. I woke up in Salzburg and Innsbruck, and then at Bludenz, where the sky was beginning to brighten and we were not far from our final destination. By now there was only one person left in the compartment, and he also woke. He rubbed his eyes, looked around blearily, and slowly focussed on the station sign. In an instant he was thrown into a panic, leaping from his seat, grabbing his things and bolting. I saw him leap from the carriage moments before we started pulling out. I wondered just how long ago he'd meant to get off.

Not long afterwards, we arrived at Feldkirch, right on the edge of Austria. After a chilly half hour wait in the fresh morning air, the train to Buchs arrived, and I got on. It was going to be a beautiful day, and as we crossed into Liechtenstein, mist drifted over the fields and the hills. A few minutes later I got off the train at Schaan, excited to be in a tiny country about which I knew almost nothing. Tired and grubby from the night train, I walked out into the deserted town. I found an early morning bakery, bought an excellent coffee and a few pastries, and sat in the sunshine looking around at the country.

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