September 13, 2001
On the way to our next stop, Amden, we see a brown sign along the highway for some ancient ruins, and decide to stop to take a look. The thing that amazes me the most about this entire complex, which was once a really huge Roman city, is that there are houses right next to it. I can just imagine the directions: take the road past the Roman ruins and we live in the first house on the right with the broken column in the front yard.
The majority of the time, we are just guessing at what we are seeing because the signs are all in German. It must have been a decently large place because there is an amphitheatre (in the middle of restorations), a temple, an aqueduct, baths, and intricate mosaics.
The drive to Amden takes us for the first time into the mountains. We take several narrow roads straight up. The village is on the side of a mountain overlooking a circular valley with a lake in the middle. The weather so far hasn’t been terribly spectacular. It’s been mostly overcast, but today it’s sunny and perfect.
It is so pretty, so picturesque; it’s straight out of a movie.
We get the best room in the hotel. The proprietor paid attention to our reservation form and the tick in the Honeymoon box. Our room has two floors and a balcony that is to die for. The picture above was taken from it. I don’t think it is possible to get tired of that view.
Since we are on a mission to see all the surrounding countries, we take a drive to see Liechtenstein and Austria. Technically, our US drivers licences don’t afford us the right to drive in Austria, but no one seems to care when we cross the border. On the way, we pass some spectacular waterfalls and yet more castles. In Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, we drive by one that says “NO VISIT!” I guess they got tired of tourists like us asking. So I snapped a photo hanging out the window of the car as we passed.
Each time we crossed the border no one seemed to care. We’d just get our passports out and again the guards would see that they were American and would just wave us on through. No stamps, no nothing.
When we get back to the hotel, we ask what’s for dinner. “It’s whatever my wife is cooking,” the owner told us. Turned out to be Swiss steak. At dinner we met a couple about our age from Boston who were biking across the Alps. We talked about home a little and about the craziness. Because the owner was so attentive, he brought us an extra large dessert, vanilla ice cream with fresh blackberries. Oh yes, I forgot, the berries in Switzerland are amazing. They were in season and everywhere we ate. So good. Then he brought us an after dinner drink of this pear liqour. Good stuff.
Since we (the other American couple were exhausted and retired early) were the only guests around, the owner and his cousin (or maybe his sister, I can’t remember) joined us for a long discussion of America and politics and what must be going on at home. He offered us a place to stay if we couldn’t get back. I seriously think we would have come back here, it was that beautiful and peaceful. The picture just doesn’t do it justice.