National Geographic : 1925 Jul
REDISCOVERING THE RHINE Sevelen we jumped off the train and started to walk. We reached the farther end of a wooden bridge which straddled a very shal low and pebbly stream, hardly recognizable as the Rhine. Ahead rose a mag nificent pine-clad mountain, castle-top ped, its flanks clothed with the sleepiest of old-w o r d villages, through whose sole street great hay wains jogged and goosegirls drove their flocks. "This is Vaduz, the capital of Liechten stein," a passer-by in formed us. "Yes, our prince allows travel ers to visit the castle." "Our prince," goose girls, a village capital, and the principality's entire extent along the Rhine practically visi ble from where we stood! Small wonder that we felt like char acters moving in one of the novelists' "toy kingdom" romances. To our undying re gret the train sched ule would not admit of our encompassing lit t 1 e Liechtenstein, W . Photograph from Melville Chater STEIN-AM-RHEIIN, SWITZERLAND "As I wandered through Stein's half-dozen unnamed streets, with their overhanging balconies and their house fronts painted with medi eval tableaux, I felt that I should be bestriding a charger and accom panied by a largess-scattering squire" (see text, page 39). with its 65 square miles and .00ooo inhabitants, or of visit ing the chateau of Prince Johann II. And though we were really keen, for the first and only time in our lives, to go through the customs examination, we were robbed of even this experience by the fact that Liechtenstein's customs, postal, and telegraph services are ar ranged through the Swiss Government. An hour later the railway brought us to Chur. Thence, by an electrified, nar row-gauge line, we climbed onward to ward I)isentis, rising 16 feet a minute along the rim of a twisting gorge, at whose bottom the slim, swift Vorder Rhine, fresh from its source among Al pine snows, ran gray green over a semi arid bed. Still the green, scarlet-flecked moun tains lifted, lifted, lifted, with shrill rivu lets rushing down them to add their little to the slow making of a great river. And at last came the snow, blindingly white, on sheer rock profiles that cut with razor like sharpness the upper sky. And, though the peasants were already carting their winter forage and stacking their winter logs, a hot sunshine deluged the river's wooded ravine, from which rose to us earthy breaths as of spring.