WILDTHG TRAVEL

Liechtenstein is tiny, and randomly really cool

by , on
Nov 28, 2018

I’m currently based in Zürich and had a few days’ off of work for the All Saints’ Day long holiday. I had never been to Liechtenstein (is that a thing?) and so figured why not! I didn’t really know that much about this tiny landlocked nation before visiting – I knew there was a Prince and had heard about it being a friendly billionaire tax-haven. After spending a few days in this country, sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria, I can attest to it being absolutely lovely, and very worth a visit.

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downtown Vaduz, Liechtenstein

To get to the capital city, Vaduz, I took a train from Zürich HB to Sargans, right on the Swiss border and then a bus to Vaduz, Post (quite central). The commute was stunning and I could hardly stop filming out the window – leaving Switzerland, the train passed Walensee with its beautiful turquoise color and quaint sailboats bobbing in the wind, and then once I switched to the bus, the scenery switched to magnificent snowcapped alps. The entire trip only took about 1.5 hours , which was very reachable and even more convenient than several trips I’ve taken within Switzerland!

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Views from the train en route to Vaduz

As it turns out, Vaduz is basically all things pleasant about cute European cities – quaint, pleasantly walkable, nice restaurants, (very) artsy, clean, organized, and photogenic. Not having known what to expect before going, I was pleasantly surprised and certainly happy that I went ahead and made the trip.

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Not knowing exactly where the most poppin part of town was when I made an extremely last minute booking, I ended up in a hotel just across the town border in Triesen (only about 20 min walk from downtown Vaduz). The Meierhof Hotel was super comfy, snuggly and the perfect little nest for a few days of exploring Vaduz.

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View from our room at Hotel Maierhof (technically in Triesen)

I only spent one night in Liechtenstein and for two partial days of exploring, feel that I saw Vaduz fairly thoroughly. I started with a delicious Italian lunch at Amarone, then headed to see Schloss Vaduz (Vaduz Castle), the current permanent residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein and family.

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Pasta, raviolis and locally-brewed beer at amarone in downtown Vaduz

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view from a lookout point on the walking path up to Vaduz Castle from downtown (if you look closely, you can spot Red House on the right hand side of the photo!!)

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vaduz castle

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You will see several of these “no drones” signs throughout Vaduz but particularly closer to the castle – out of safety and privacy for the princely family

After stalking the Prince for a while, I continued on through the old part of Vaduz to the Red House, which was built in 1338 and is famous mostly for its color but has also passed ownership various times throughout the years and centuries… as one would hope.

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The famous “Red House” of Vaduz

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View of Schloss Vaduz from Red House (across the vineyard forming the Red House’s backyard)

Walking down from the Red House through the old town (Mitteldorf area of Vaduz) was very peaceful and the perfect place to experience a gorgeous sunset, with quaint vineyards of Red House and other small abodes in the foreground and Vaduz Castle, standing in front of impressive alpine peaks as a backdrop to purple billowing clouds.

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By the time sun had set, my exploring day had just about come to an end and I made it my mission to stop only twice on the way back to the hotel – at the chocolate shop Dolce, (you need this chocolate in your life) and at the Mövenpick wine store (also has wine-tasting available!). I actually made three stops by mistake, as I ended up buying shoes on the way home (eye roll) – they are warm comfy boots, how can you go wrong?!

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Chocolates and Nusstorte from Dolce and some red wine for a lovely evening in

After a solid night’s sleep and a lovely breakkie at Hotel Meierhof, I set out for exploring day 2, but with a different agenda in mind. I headed directly for Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, the 10 year old modern and contemporary art museum that houses a thoroughly interesting collection, largely comprising of the provate collection of the Principality of Liecthtenstein. The architecture of the building itself is quite renown for its “great structural complexity and and discreet simplicity,” built by Swiss architects and contributing significantly to the overall aesthetic of this central pedestrian street of Vaduz.

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Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein (Museum of Modern Art)

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unique art lining the streets of the old town

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something tells me I won’t be able to fit these babies into my luggage…

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At the time of my visit, the featured exhibition was Yuri Albert’s Elitist Democratic Art. This exhibition is the Russian-born artist’s first comprehensive solo exhibit outside of Russia. [In this series the artist contrasts the language of art with the languages of blind or deaf people or also the terminology of sailors and stenographers in order to analyse the individual semiotic systems and the system of art as a whole, their comprehensibility and accessibility. The museum visitor is always an interlocutor in these studies of the relationship between artwork and interpretation, image and text, visibility and invisibility, original and copy. Yuri Albert’s works draw us into a dialogue with and about art, inviting us to ponder the status of art: elitist or democratic.]

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“Arbat in the morning” by Yuri Albert

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meant to be read by the blind

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meant to be read by stenographers

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“how did it occur that I made this particular artwork in this particular style?”

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Yuri Albert’s collection of pieces dedicated to “who he is not” as an artist

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“I am not Andy Warhol”

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After absorbing (or not understanding anything as likely intended this time) of the delicous modern art, I set about buying a few souveneirs with my last hours in Liechtenstein. I visited the main souvenier shop that was open, as Hoi was closed for the public holiday. For souvenir hunters, you needn’t look further than this pedestrian walk, as the Landesmuseum Liechtenstein also has a unique selection, and further up the road, Nimrod AG turns the “traditional to fashionable” with dirndls and lederhosen – Oktoberfest plans, anyone??

For the museum fanatics, there are multiple museums precisely in this area of Vaduz, including the Landesmuseum (country history), Postmuseum (post office, stamps and related history) and various others. I was super content with my dose of contemporary and modern art in the morning, and after grabbing a cold Alpenlager at my hotel, was ready to head out for a leisurely return to Zürich.

Overall – Liechtenstein is just precious. Would I prioritize coming back every year? – maybe not, but if you’re wondering whether it is “worth” visiting (on a super packed Eurotrip, for example), I would say it is! If you are in the area and it is relatively convenient and not extremely expensive to get to, I would 100% recommend this tiny and fabulous mountain nation.

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LIECHTENSTEIN IN A FLASH:

Where to stay: Hotel Maierhof

What to do: Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz Castle, Walk through old town (downtown), Red House

Where to eat/drink: Local vineyards, Mövenpick Wine Outlet, Dolce, Amarone

 

 

 

 

GET HYGGE WITH IT: 10 Words From Around the World That Will Keep you Cozy This Winter

by , on
Jan 21, 2018

Wintry days are here to stay (for those of us not lucky enough to be in tropics), and for those souls who claim to enjoy said brisk season, now is the time to bundle, bundle bundle – whip out the fuzz, the wool, the coats, scarves and hot cocoa, and commence with the crackling fireplaces, good company, coziness, and general snugglery. Here are some fun and snuggly words from around the world to get you through these frosty days and through to springtime!

 

  1. HYGGE (Danish) Hard to explain and even harder to pronounce, the Danish word “hygge” (pronounced “hooga”) has exploded in popularity around the world. It translates roughly to “cosiness,” but it means so much more than that. Hygge is more than a cosy room full of candles, company and good food. Hygge is a philosophy; a way of life that has helped Danes understand the importance of simplicity, time to unwind and slowing down the pace of life.
  2. KUSCHELN (German) To cuddle, to snuggle. Elicits images of cute fuzzy puppies napping in a basket.
  3. MYSA (Swedish) Nearly the equivalent to our English “snuggle,” but if you’re gonna be mysering in Swedish, you can do it with someone, alone, or even in a café – perhaps “to cosy up” fits the bill.
  4. GEMÜTLICH (German) Descriptive of an agreeably pleasant atmosphere; cozy, comfortable, lovely.
  5. SHEMOMEDJAMO (Georgian) The feeling of extreme fullness, but, because your meal’s so delicious, you can’t stop devouring it. If Thanksgiving were one word, it would be shemomedjamo.
  6. SOBREMESA (Spanish) While sobremesa literally means “over the table,” the more meaningful translation is a bit longer-winded. It’s that time spent after a meal, hanging out with family or friends, chatting and enjoying each other’s company. It can be applied to either lunch or dinner, and often includes family members, but also friends — and it can even include a business lunch. Descriptive of a cultural tradition not really practiced in the U.S., Sobremesa describes the importance of the act of eating and getting together for a meal itself, rather than just the type of food being consumed.
  7. ABBIOCCO (Italian) That sleepy feeling you get after a big meal. Everyone has succumbed to drowsiness after a meal at one time or another, but only the Italians have enshrined the phenomenon in a single word. When you wish you could take a nap after lunch, you’re “having the abbiocco.
  8. GEZELLIGHEID (Dutch) Comfort and coziness of being at home, with friends and loved ones, or general togetherness.
  9. GIGIL (Tagalog) The desire to pinch or squeeze something (or someone) that is overwhelmingly cute.
  10. CWTCH (Welsh) A hug. A safe haven given to you by the one you love.

 

Go forth and snuggle, friends – and stay warm through these last few nippy months – just keep in mind, spring is around the corner, and in the meantime, enjoy the coziness that only the cold can sometimes bring!!

A Weekend Getaway at the Mountain Resort, Koh Lipe, Thailand

by , on
Jul 9, 2017

Koh Lipe is a secret paradise in and of itself, and on the north most tip of the island, practically with its own private beach, is perched yet another paradise – the Mountain Resort.

 

After arriving to Koh Lipe by traditional Thai longboat in a sudden downpour, I was happily to drag my soggy self into a comfortable room in one of the several “garden villa huts” at Mountain Resort. In my room were two twin beds, both clean and well-made, classically decorated with Thai colors and fabrics. The furniture was minimal and tasteful, and the bathroom and shower were outdoors but walled within my room, separated from my bedroom by a sliding door (which later proved extremely helpful in keeping away unwanted mozzy visitors).

 

There are a number of different accommodation options at the resort, from hut-style single-bedroom villas to raised huts on stilts down on the beach, through to more condo-style, concrete and glass rooms within a larger cluster. All have nearly equally-stunning views of either the luscious green surroundings, the ocean, the neighboring islands, or all of the above. Some of the rooms would have a fantastic sunset view, along with their own little rooftop balcony areas (romantic getaway, anyone?)

 

What to do: If you came to the island to lay in the sun and read all day (cough cough), well you’re in luck – the beach is your backyard. If you came to go on wild snorkeling adventures, Mountain Resort provides all the gear you need, just visit the little shack down by the beach, down the staircase from the restaurant and check in building; you can easily float just off the shore and spot various underwater life amongst the coral reefs. The beach next to Mountain Resort is the one that shows up in so many Google images of Koh Lipe – the one that juts out and becomes a bit wider and circular right at the end, lending an oxford comma to the sea. Aptly referred to as “Sunset Beach,” this spot provides an excellent view for amazing, deep orange and red sunsets.

 

If you for some reason get sick of being at the beach (on a tiny tropical island that you decided to come to)… Mountain Resort has got a lovely, turquoise blue swimming pool that also has a pretty impressive view of the sea, so you have the option to float around here for a while, or alternate between ocean and pool.

 

What/How to eat: Granted, there’s not tons of food floating around Koh Lipe, even as it is becoming slightly more touristy as time goes on. There are a few warungs and of course, a mix of backpackers’ hostels through to hotels and resorts scattered along the main stretch of beach, but otherwise not the type of place that you can roll up expecting whatever dish may tickle your fancy. Luckily, my laziness for the weekend was reinforced by delicious food, right at the Mountain Resort’s restaurant. The continental breakfast that was included in the room was quite typical for Thailand and Asian hotels, serving up the usual variety of Asian hot and western warm, cold or somewhere in between dishes. Fruit, cereal, coffee… there are plenty of small snacks for those looking to grab a light breakfast in lieu of traditional noodles before hitting the beach. It almost wouldn’t matter what you choose to eat, because the entire experience is made by the simply astounding view from the restaurant, out over the sparkling blues of the water and onto the neighboring Koh Adang.

 

I came to Koh Lipe for a quiet, relaxing and tropical getaway, unperturbed as possible by traffic, noise and even internet-connectedness. While the resort has WiFi, the vibe (and slow nature of all connection due to the island’s remoteness) gives a perfect excuse to unplug, throw on your swimsuit, grab a book, your flippers and head for the beach. Mountain Resort, tucked away and significantly removed from any other accommodation spots on the entire island, provides just one more added layer of privacy and luxury to an already magical place.