15 August 2013

Goat posing for me on a nearby mountainside.

Geography trivia question:
What are the world's only two countries that are doubly land-locked, that is, surrounded by countries that are also landlocked?
Answer: Liechtenstein (between land-locked Switzerland and Austria) and Uzbekistan.

Little Liechtenstein, let's be candid, does not have a lot to see, although the Alps are beautiful. Its capital, Vaduz (pop. 5,000), has a nice pedestrian street with a few cafes and an imposing castle (home to the reigning prince) high above the city.

So (photo right), here I am in Vaduz on that pedestrian street by a sidewalk cafe with the Prince's castle on the mountain above. 

The prince, by the way, is more than a British-type figurehead and still wields political authority. He can even veto acts of parliament. He is also one of the wealthiest royals in the world, surpassing Queen Elizabeth as the richest in Europe. Who knew?

Microstates are often called "postage stamp" countries because they are not larger than a postage stamp on a wall map, because stamps often constituted an unusually large source of their revenue, and because philatelists knew about them when few other people did. So, it was brilliant for Liechtenstein to have a little museum devoted to stamps.

The Vaduz castle on the hill and a replica in the town below.
Also see my post:  Microstates of Europe.