Marvellous Malbun

2015-10-04T23:16:06+00:0011 September 2012|Liechtenstein, Mini countries, Quirky corners, Solo travel|


Malbun is a sweet, little mountain village in Liechtenstein, accessible by car or by the post bus from Vaduz.

After a cow stop near Triesenberg, the bus continues its zigzag up the winding road. At 1 600 metres’ altitude, the landscape here is less jagged than many other places in the Alps. The mountains seem rounder, gentler somehow. But no worries, this is still excellent skiing terrain. Liechtenstein has had several Olympic champions. Also, Prince Charles learned to ski here in Malbun. I hear he isn’t half bad.

I get off the bus, gawk at the absurdly pretty landscape, buy an ice cream, amble along, and soon spot a chair lift going up to Mount Sareiserjoch, 400 metres higher up. For one insane moment, I forget I loathe the rickety contraptions and buy a return-ticket. Thirty seconds later, I hold on for dear life. Don’t know why such an irrational fear have come over me lately. Between deep, deliberate breaths, I wonder if it’s a question of age.

The German couple sharing my 4-seater sends that theory right out the window. Mid-80s, they’re giggling, touching, flirting; eagerly pointing here and there. With every gleeful “look over there!”, the chair rattles perilously. Or so it seems.

At Sareiserjoch

Happy to be back on solid ground, I take off along one of the many trails. The mountains seem so near, as if I can hop on to the nearest one and waltz to the top. Had I only the agility of the average goat, that is.


Afterwards, the terrace of Bergrestaurant Saris offers idyllic views of Malbun: small clusters of alpine homes on green meadows look adorable from above. I could stay here all day long, enjoying the view, letting my thoughts flow.

Malbun, Liechtenstein Malbun, Liechtenstein

But time waits for no one. I have places to go, things to do. Also, two black crows on a ledge above are gazing rather menacingly at me and my packet of crisps. Can’t help but wonder whether they’re discussing lunch or thinking of using my head for a toilet.

I contemplate braving the lift once again. Hm… a brisk walk down instead, perhaps? It’s much healthier, after all…

Then I see a man hopping off the chair lift, casually carrying a tiny, pink-wrapped baby on one arm.

Going down is even worse! My eyes remain closed all the way down, except for the occasional peek now and again – to reinforce the fear, you understand.

Bergbahn, Malbun Malbun

I feel very lonely in chair 34. It’s not that I’m afraid of heights, exactly. Cable cars are fine, but in that wobbly chair lift, the vagaries of nature – and of man-made machinery – feel uncomfortably close. The thought of being stuck up here for any length of time… well, I know I look white as a vampire at the mere thought.

Back in Malbun

Back on solid ground once again, I’m annoyed at this ridiculous angst. Then I re-think: Damn it all, it ain’t brave if you’re not scared. There, feels much better. For a wacky minute, I even consider taking a lift up the other side of the valley. Nah! Enough stomach-churning for one day. Time to move on.

From the bus stop, I spot a pretty mountain chapel on top of a steep hill. The last bus back to Vaduz leaves in six minutes. Plenty of time to sprint up for a quick look-see. Halfway up, I’m breathless. The breath-taking views have nothing to do with it; my heart actually feels as if it’s about to jump through my ribcage. Two sturdy old women with walking sticks tramp past, slowly, steadily. They know better than to run in thin mountain air.

Friedenskapelle Malbun

At the top, the Friedenskapelle Malbun beckons. I revel in the pleasantly cool stone interior.

Outside, an attractive wellspring is thoughtfully provided for mindless hikers like me, who walk the hills without carrying water.

As I gorge myself at the well, I see the Vaduz-bus about to leave. Rushing back down the hill, I shout like a madwoman for the bus to wait and barely manage to stumble on board. The driver and a group of preschoolers on an outing stare at me as if I’ve escaped from a mountain spa for the terminally deranged.

Well spring by Friedenskapelle Malbun

Have you ever behaved foolishly in nature – or perhaps you suffer from irrational fears? Please say you do.

For more photo fun, hop over to this week’s Travel Photo Thursday.

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  1. D.J. - The World of Deej 12 September 2012 at 0250 - Reply

    There wasn’t much that I knew about Liechtenstein, other than it was small…great post:)

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1336 - Reply

      I think that’s what most people know about it 🙂

  2. Laurel 12 September 2012 at 1201 - Reply

    I love your image of “shouting like a madwomen” and kudos to you for taking the chair lift even if you were scared to. I still haven’t been to Liechtenstein despite it being so close to Munich, but it’s definitely on my list.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1337 - Reply

      Just around the corner, Laurel. Very much worth a visit it is.

  3. Steve 12 September 2012 at 1749 - Reply

    I don’t know who decided that hanging a chair under some string was the proper way to get people up the mountain, but I’m betting he had some sadistic tendencies. You’d think that by now we would have at least found a way to stop the chair from bouncing all over the place. Is rolling over rollers every 100 yards or so really the best we can do?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1342 - Reply

      Couldn’t have said it better myself 🙂

  4. Mary @ The World Is A Book 13 September 2012 at 0927 - Reply

    Beautiful scenery and I think I’d brave the chair lift for these views. I don’t know that much about Liechtenstein but these pictures make me want to visit. That chapel looks so inviting along with that wellspring. I’m glad you made it through the lifts.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1343 - Reply

      The views are worth the pain, theoretically, at least…

  5. jan 13 September 2012 at 1113 - Reply

    I am a wimp about heights, but I challenge myself to do these things when I travel. I refuse to travel across the world and then miss out because of my phobia. I am proud of you for doing the chairlift.
    Budget Jan

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1343 - Reply

      Thanks, Jan 🙂

  6. [email protected] 13 September 2012 at 1335 - Reply

    Thank you for braving the chair lift and taking these beautiful photos of the stunning views. This means that, if I ever go to Malbun, I can head straight to the chapel and don’t have to brave the chairlift that I hate so much! Phew!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1344 - Reply

      Lots of gorgeous spots down in the village, too.

  7. Fiona 13 September 2012 at 1522 - Reply

    Great post – I feel like I’ve really learnt something about Lichtenstein and I kind of want to go there now. All I knew before was that it was Europe’s smallest country. In terms of irrational fears, I remember taking a cable car in Barcelona and being terrified to look down on the way up.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1344 - Reply

      Glad I’m not the only one.

  8. Leigh 13 September 2012 at 1539 - Reply

    I love your description of this outing. I take it your not a skier – at least if chairlifts are involved. What a pretty spot in a country we hear so little about.
    I think I suffer from rational fears only – heights is big but I work through it and maintain a five foot circle of fear which really helps. I don’t look beyond that 5 feet – on many of my hikes of late.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1345 - Reply

      Skiing here usually means the kind you can strap on right outside the door and just go, no lifts required.

  9. Really enjoyed this vivid post! I can actually see pictures in my mind as I was reading. I don’t usually have fears but recently in deep tunnels with only a guide I found myself wondering what would happen if something happened to him. We safely arrived topside but it was unnerving.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1346 - Reply

      It does feel good once it’s over, I think – a certain sense of achievement.

  10. InsideJourneys 13 September 2012 at 2241 - Reply

    Nope, can’t say that I do, Sophie.
    BUT, I do think some of it might be age — we *know* enough to know that things happen and we’re trying to be prudent. I never used to think about crowds, now if I’m in a crowd, I’m the one on the periphery.
    I love this post, Malbun sounds delightful. I had no idea that Prince Charles learned to ski there.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1347 - Reply

      Staying on the periphery of a crowd is probably sensible in many countries.

  11. Vera Marie Badertscher 13 September 2012 at 2309 - Reply

    Glad you didn’t drop the camera!
    They say you should do something every day that frightens you. I’m so glad you undertook this journey, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything of Lichtenstein outside the city.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1347 - Reply

      Hm… every day… think I’ll settle for occasionally 🙂

  12. Ana O 14 September 2012 at 0023 - Reply

    I have a fear of flying. I’m managing it better now but I’ve had to take medication for it. I’m terrified of snakes and Texas happens to be the natural habitat of rattlers. I freak out every time we’re out in the country.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1348 - Reply

      I think you should move to Norway, Ana. Only one poisonous snake here, and it’s quite timid, hardly ever seen.

  13. Cathy Sweeney 14 September 2012 at 0451 - Reply

    Yes to both of your questions! Always comforting to know that we’re not alone in that. Good for you –you faced the fear and you won. Your account of rushing to the bus and screaming like a madwoman made me laugh — saw myself in that story. 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 September 2012 at 1349 - Reply

      Very good to know we’re not alone 🙂

  14. Michele @ Malaysian Meanders 14 September 2012 at 1701 - Reply

    I think we are kindred spirits. I don’t like chair lifts either but endure them for the scenery. Nice image of you catching the bus! That stone church is so rustic and charming.

  15. Jackie Smith 15 September 2012 at 1553 - Reply

    Wow, simply wow! For both location and those stunning photos, Sophie. I love the one of the church and the mountain in back. Thanks for great information as well.

  16. adela @FourJandals 16 September 2012 at 1059 - Reply

    These pictures are stunning! The mountains look awesome against the blue sky. Really enjoyed reading this. And good work going up the chairlift that is my least favourite part of skiing!

  17. Angela 16 September 2012 at 1433 - Reply

    Wonderful, would love to stay there for a while, to relax and get rid of my “computer” headache 😉

  18. ItalianNotes 17 September 2012 at 0928 - Reply

    I used to be afraid of dead birds to the extent that they’d topple me off my bike. Now I just close my eyes and drive past. With age we learn to cope, I guess:)

  19. Nancie 19 September 2012 at 0100 - Reply

    This looks so pretty! Getting on the chair lift is my fear. Once I’m on I love the ride.

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