A couple of days after our return from Zermatt, Mom and Ken L. decided to take advantage of Zürich’s amazing location within Europe and check out some other countries.  While P was hard at work, the three of us (feeling quite guilty) hopped in the car and headed northwest to Munich (München), Germany.  Munich is only about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Zürich, and the journey goes through Liechtenstein and Austria, so the trip was a fun and quick way for Mom and Ken L. to get a feel for Switzerland’s neighboring countries.

After driving for about 90 minutes, we arrived in Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein.  We parked the car and hopped out to set foot in the world’s 6th smallest country.  We walked through a small pedestrian shopping area and made our way to Liechtenstein’s tourist center, where we were able to get our passports stamped.  During our brief visit there, we learned some surprising and interesting facts about Liechtenstein.  For example, this micro country, measuring in at 62 square miles, is a constitutional monarchy with a reigning Prince.  Also, Liechtenstein does not have its own currency; instead, they use the Swiss Franc!

Schloss Vaduz, the official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein, over downtown Vaduz

After our pause in Liechtenstein, we continued on our way and briefly enjoyed the Austrian landscape before entering Germany.  When we got hungry, we stopped in the tiny little German town of Buxheim for a local experience and a bite to eat.  We found ourselves at Seegarten, a tiny little restaurant on a tiny little lake.  The restaurant served traditional German fare, and the waitresses spoke hardly any English, so it was a fun way to venture off the beaten path and have a little view into suburban German life.

The Liechtenstein landscape, looking toward Austria

After filling our stomachs with various types of sausages, we hopped back in the car and finally arrived in Munich.  We dropped our things off at the hotel, then walked over to Munich’s old town, where we found ourselves surrounded by cobblestone pedestrian streets lined with beautiful old churches, shops, and, of course, beer halls.

After wandering a little, we stopped in Bürgersaalkirche, an 18th century Catholic church.  It was a surprising place because it almost looked like a theater from the outside, but on the inside it had all of the ornate embellishments one might expect from a grand, historic, European church.  Blessed Rupert Mayer, a leader in the Catholic resistance to Nazism, is buried in the church’s crypt.

A statue of Jesus in the crypt of Bürgersaalkirche, to which people had pinned countless military medals and other seemingly treasured symbols of their achievements

We eventually followed our stomachs to the Augustiner beer hall, where we had a dinner of more sausages, pretzels, and of course, delicious Bavarian beer.