Traveling past the stony cliffs of Liechtenstein, we made it to the capital, Vaduz, where we grabbed some lunch and in enjoyed it in the shadow of the Royal Family’s 12th century castle. Measuring just 25 km in length and 6 km in width, the country is barely larger than Manhattan, doubly landlocked by Switzerland and Austria. It has a very high standard of living, and though it might not look like much on a map, up close it’s filled with numerous hiking and cycling trails offering amazing views of craggy cliffs, quaint villages, friendly locals and lush green forests.
Over the border and into Germany, we headed to the university town of Heidelberg. With free time this afternoon, we relaxed at one of Heidelberg’s pubs and climbed the Gothic church’s spire for great views over this pretty town. Afterwards we followed along the Rhine River, weaving through valleys dotted with castles and vineyards. In the evening we entered the pretty, old-world village of St. Goar, complete with fairy tale castles and a free-hanging cuckoo clock. We learned about local know-how and got savvy on the craft of beer steins. I decided to purchase one of these steins for my dad. I also went into the Birkenstock store and found amazing deals on Birkenstock sandals. I left the store with three pairs.