Local Heart, Global Soul

January 16, 2015

A Bridge Over Untroubled Waters Of Two Nations…

Filed under: LIECHTENSTEIN,PHOTOGRAPHY,SWITZERLAND,Vaduz — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Liechtenstein capital of Vaduz sits just a stone’s throw from the Rhine river.

The Rhine is a demarcation of the Liechtenstein and Swiss border, with half of the river belonging to each country.

Further on the north side where we first entered Liechtenstein, we crossed a road bridge, but here close to Vaduz stands another bridge that clearly has some history.

I found a few websites that have me some information (links included at end of this post). Since one of the sites is in German, I’ve combined some snippets of information from both here, in italics.

“The “Alte Rheinbrücke”, (The Old Rhine Bridge of Vaduz-Sevelen) was built in the years 1870-1871 and is a covered wooden bridge linking the municipalities of Vaduz , the capital of Liechtenstein and Sevelen in the canton of St. Gallen, Switzerland. Measuring 135 metres in length, it was completed in 1901 and is today the only remaining wooden bridge spanning the alpine Rhine. Until the 19th century dams on the Rhine were not regulated in the border area between Liechtenstein and Switzerland, (with a few exceptions) and therefore could flow as free as possible.

The passenger and cargo transport, therefore, was carried out by Rhine ferries that were maintained between Liechtenstein and Switzerland in the early 19th century. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another wooden bridge was, erected at the same spot 30 years earlier.

 Due to the increase  of water from the Rhine dams, the bridge had to be raised in the years 1874/1875 and 1886 .

Poor structural condition finally made a new building necessary due to damage caused by the two raisings meant that in the years 1900/1901 the bridge was finally rebuilt on the piers of the previous bridge.

 Between then and 1975 the bridge served both motorized and no-motorized traffic (up to a payload of 3.5 tons)  but in 1927 a flood from a dam breakage in Schaan damaged the bridge which was then repaired and raised once again.

 In 1975  a new concrete bridge was created over the Rhine about two hundred meters south to accommodate modern motorized traffic, so the Old Rhine Bridge now services only non-motorized traffic making it particularly popular with cyclists. The last major renovation took place in 2009/2010. “

Just to illustrate the statement that the bridge was popular with cyclists, one cyclist conviently crossed from the Swiss side of the bridge to the Liechtenstein side… one of the easiest border crossings in the world! (In the photograph below we see the 1975 road bridge).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Alte Rheinbrücke Vaduz–Sevelen  (Text in German language)

Old bridge over the Rhine in Vaduz

January 10, 2015

The Hills Are Alive: With Our Feelings Of Guilt…

Filed under: AUSTRIA,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,SWITZERLAND,The vaguarities of Parenting — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags:
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s archive post, where we travelled briefly though Austria, we have now rounded a corner and found ourselves on a little road with a manned border crossing and no space to turn around and go back the way we came.

Our should-have-been-updated Our Lady Of The Tom Tom is taking us into Switzerland!  Himself and I let out an involuntary groan.

Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Agreement countries, which comprises most of the countries in western europe with the exception of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

No passport checks are done on people crossing borders within the Schengen Areement countries, but Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and therefore does not share a customs union with it’s neighbours so customs officers can stop visitors in order to see if they have anything to declare to customs. It’s important to know that Switzerland has some tough and expensive laws: for instance driving a non-EU registration car (i.e. a Swiss one), into an EU country (i.e. Austria)  needs to be accompanied with the correct customs clearance and registration documents upon entry, (otherwise it’s classed as an ‘import’ and failure to do so results in fines at the border: calculated as 10% of the value of the car in customs costs plus 19% import tax. Therefore a Swiss national needs to have things in order even if they are only going for a day trip across the border. Of course there are special papers for people who travel frequently over the border for business etc.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Driving into Switzerland  without a “vignette”  (autoroute sticker) is also forbidden,  This is the yearly motorway toll fee ( as of February 2014 it cost 40CHF (Swiss francs).

You pay for a whole year’s fee regardless if you make a day trip into Switzerland, or use it for a week or three months or the whole year.   The border posts all take credit cards and payment in cash can be made in Swiss francs or Euros.

Even having the vignette in a non-approved spot on your windscreen can catch you a hefty fine: 200 CHF (Swiss francs) and that translates as roughly Euro 165,– or USD 200,–. Needless to say since you also get a hefty fine for having no vignette at all,  (Himself thinks it’s Euro 600,– fine) and if we had wanted to enter Switzerland we know that we should have organised getting one before we came.

So here we are, creeping up to a Swiss boarder control  with no vignette on our windscreen at all, and no way to turn around and go back. We prayed that the border guards were in a good mood and have their attention on other things as we creep towards the window with fixed grins on our faces and me holding up our  four EU passports for them to see… we are lucky and they don’t notice and wave us through.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and I breathe out.

Now we need to avoid any police cars who also do random checks on non-Swiss registered cars.

Ideally we need to get out of Switzerland as quick as we possibly can, so like fugitives we take the nearest side road in the direction we think we need to go in… and end up on the wrong side of the Rhine River with no indication of where the next crossing point is.

Goodness knows career criminals must have nerves of steel, Himself and I couldn’t handle the stress of feeling guilty and the fear of getting caught  and we hadn’t even done a big crime. We have nothing against the Swiss, or Switzerland, we’d just rather visit “legally” without the possibility of massive instant fines hanging over our heads.

The side road we take is tiny and we end up next to some people harvesting cabbages where Himself asks a lady  in German for directions. Apparently they give directions at this farm regularly to lost tourists like us because the road we wanted is almost literally next to the border crossing but hidden on the far side of a roundabout that has some concealing “art”  on top of it.

With our new directions we head back to the border crossing, but directly before it, turn right, go round the roundabout and then hard left… now on the correct side of the river we are in the country we intended to be in, in the first place: The Principality of Liechtenstein. Phew, no vignette needed here…. breathe out again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The offending roundabout that hid our exit the first time around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another nature bridge…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And one of our first sights in Liechtenstein, a man driving what looks like a backwards facing boat on tractor wheels… (No, sadly we never found out what this was for…), but it certainly makes for an interesting welcome to a new country on our travel list.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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