Through 5 countries
Trip Start Aug 17, 2007
8Trip End Aug 25, 2007
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After packing up we headed out of Fussen and decided to go by non-motorway routes. Hmm- or, as we found out, getting lost way.
We headed to Oy (what a brilliant name), past Gruntensee (lake) on the 310. Then on 308 (Alpenstrade) up into the mountains on some wiggly roads (and I mean serious wiggles). On the plus side, the scenery was amazingly beautiful. We went through hills and forests and small villages and bigger hills. Through Bad Hindelang (pretty Bavarian village), along the side of a river (Ostrach).
At a larger town, Sonthofen we turned onto the 19, along another river, then we turned off into the more mountainous countryside
Then all of a sudden we were in Austria instead of Germany Bavarian (Schengen agreement meant there was barely any border & no-one bothered to even slow us down). Along the L5 through hamlets or isolated houses (mainly large farms), As we headed downhill the hamlets became villages, then larger villages. To Muselbach. To Alberschwende. Then some large forest areas (and I mean large). We spent some time driving along the Swiss-Austrian border (we crossed into Switzerland as we always have a Swiss motorway pass and we didn't want to pay for an autobahn.
The border is the Rhine (which flows from Graubunden (Swiss Alps) to the Netherlands, passing through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands). Through Feldkirch (big).
Suddenly we were at the Liechtenstein border (the petrol station before & after showed very different prices & we chose the after)
The principality was like a town’s suburbs and it only took 10 miles or so to enter Vaduz. We parked & went for a walk around. Not much to see (looked up a mountain to see the castle). Not much to do. Nowhere really to go. Left.
A note on Liechtenstein
Although they are self determining, the Principality tends to adopt many Swiss institutions out of cost benefits (eg. Money is swiss franc, same stamps).
Main export- false teeth
Population- 35,000 but a 1/3 are foreigners. Oddly enough there are more companies registered in Liechtenstein than citizens.
Language- Alamannic (a german dialect)
History- originally a Roman province called Raetia
In 1416 the Werdenbergs died out & Vaduz passed to the Barons of Brandis (who also acquired the Lordship of Schellenberg next to it); but they subsequently sold the County to the Counts of Sulz (who rebuilt Vaduz castle, forbade the citizens to teach or marry Protestants and instituted early democratic style courts). The Counts then sold it to the Counts of Hohenems (1613).
The Liechtenstein dynasty originally came from Lower Austria (Castle Liechtenstein) 1140-13thC and owned land in Moravia, Austria, Styria, Silesia- all enfeoffed to a lord (such as Habsburgs) one removed from the Emperor (thereby meaning they had no seat on the Imperial Diet or Reichstag). In order to gain the seat Anton Florian Liechtenstein bought Schellenberg (1699) and Vaduz (1712) as lordships/ counties held unmittelbar (directly from the Emperor).In 1719 the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI turned Vaduz-Schellenberg into a Principality now called Liechtenstein after its rulers. The family did not visit their principality until 1818.
In 1806 Napoleon dissolved the Holy Roman Empire and Liechtenstein ceased to have any overlord. When Austria-Hungary reformed the Emperors gave the principality a limited consitution.
In 1868 the army was disbanded (although our guide book said they retained a small army of 5 men and a dog)
After WWI they joined a customs & monetary union with Switzerland. At the end of the war the new state of Austria did not claim Liechtenstein.
Despite some sympathizers in the Principality, they remained neutral in WWII. Afterwards Czechoslovakia & Poland seized the Liechtenstein’s possessions in Bohemia, Silesia & Moravia.