Tuesday, August 25, 2009

May 19, 2009 - Buchs and a whole Bonus Country

The Buchs that we visited - there are several in Switzerland - is on the left bank of the Rhine in eastern Switzerland where the river forms the eastern border of the country. With a population of around 10,000, Buchs is a comfortable little burg built along the Rhine and fading into the steepening foothills of the Alps to the west.
Language was quite trying, being about a fifty-fifty mix of German and French. This does not
mean that half the folk spoke French and the other half German, but that each sentence contained about 50% German nouns and adjectives and 50% French. We never comprehended enough to even begin to decode the syntax. However, the campsite had a nice atmosphere, was handy to the town and the Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus style of owners were very helpful. The biggest negative was the local church clock with its unattractive and very loud chimes that persisted 24/7. With a positive turn in the weather we stayed on for several days, this being the first real chance to get to know Penny and sort out her little peccadilloes.
Across the river Rhine from Buchs lies the Principality of Liechtenstein, a diminutive, 62 square mile, doubly landlocked Alpine micro-state with its roughly 35,000 population. Liechtenstein is a constitutional monarchy, its capital is Valduz while its biggest city, Schaan, lies directly across the river from Buchs. The country has a strong financial sector located in Vaduz, and has been identified as a tax haven although, of course, all that chicanery may soon end in tears - we wish. Check out the time warp here.

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