Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Size Doesn't Matter

At least not to Lichtensteiners.  They are rich, literate, employed, and inhabit the only country in the world to lie entirely within the Alps (even if that country is the sixth smallest nation in the world by land area). 
Vaduz, the capital of Lichtenstein
Lichtenstein lies on the westernmost edge of Austria -- about a day's drive from Vienna -- so it is too far to justify as a day trip from Vienna.  And the country's whopping 62 square miles weren't enough to keep us busy and entertained for a full weekend.  ("It's not the size, it's what you do with it that matters??")  Rather than spend a few days wandering around Lichtenstein wondering what to do with something so...small...we stayed in Bregenz, an Austrian town located on the eastern shore of Lake Constance (Bodensee), and also visited two of the most famous castles in Germany:  Schloss Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. 
Vaduz and the surrounding valley from above
"My, what a small nation you have."  "Oh, it's a principality?  Ahh, I see."
But still big enough to brew their own beer!
Unlike the relative modesty in Lichtenstein, the two castles in Germany are fantastical. 
Schloss Neuschwanstein.  Apparently the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland is based on this castle.
I'm sleeping.  She's beauty. 
Schloss Hohenschwangau.  Impressive, but overshadowed by Neuschwanstein across the valley.
The two castles lie adjacent to this small alpine lake, the Alpsee.
Bregenz is a smallish Austrian town located on the shores of a large fresh water lake, Lake Constance.
Like most of our short holidays in and around Austria, we tool around on bikes -- Lake Constance is far too large to circumnavigate in a single day -- sample the beer & wine, and eat cheese.  Especially when an entire house is devoted to cheese. 
Haus süß Haus? 
We like cheese.