Which is which and which is where? Even though I have been to five out of six, I recently got in a muddle. I was happily telling a man selling wines on the Liechtenstein stand about driving for a day tip to Liechtenstein when I was a child and my father who was driving saw somebody talking to a policeman and identified the tourist as an Italian.
The man representing Liechtenstein wines nodded, agreed that you can identify Italian by the way they talk with the hands, and politely pointed out that in Lieichtenstein they border German and Switzerland and speak German. We had a very jolly, amicable and educational conversation.
When I got home, I looked up Liechtenstein and realized, to my invisible embarrassment, that I had been recalling a trip to San Marino. When I checked the locations I could see why. San Marino is only a few miles from Rimini in Italy, which I had visited many times as a child with my parents and later as an adult. Rimini with its long sandy beach is a destination which has for years been promoted in package tours to the British traveller. Let's come back to Liechtenstein in a moment and sort out the facts and look at the little countries in Euorpe in alphabetical order.
Andorra - see the skiing and speak Spanish, or maybe French.
Andorra in winter is a ski destination and my son went there specially to ski last Christmas time as a side trip from northern Spain and sent me pictures of streets and restaurants, landmarks and attractions. Andorra has mountains with skiing in winter and water providing seafood. Sandwiched between Spain and France, depending on the area you visit, you can get by with speaking and reading menus in French or Spanish. You are in the north of Spain, near the border with France, and if the Spanish sounds strange, or the spelling is slightly unusual and unexpected, that's because they are speaking the related language Catalan. The Catalan language is found both sides of the country, in place names, family names and everyday language in Andorra as well as adjacent Spain and France.
Leichtenstein is a German speaking principality. I immediately recognized the word stein as German for stone, as in Einstein, a surname meaning one stone. The Leich part means light, like modern German as well as the Scottish. (I recall the Scottish poem from Burns, 'a broad licht moonlicht nicht, a broad, light, moonlit night). The spelling is i before e at the start.
In Liechtenstein, a big attraction is the wine cellars of the prince. The country produces ice wine, which means it has some cold moments.
Eiswein, which is German language for Ice Wine. They speak German.
Luxembourg has more than one place to visit. Again in mountains. Multi-lingual opportunity and challenge.
Small but affluent. They speak French and German and the local language. As for food, Luxembourgish cuisines like Bouneschlupp (green bean soup), Ierzebulli (pea soup), and Glühwäin (mulled wine).
Monarch of Monarco - and its Casino
Driving east along the southern coast of Spain you reach opulent Monarco. When I went there from Nice I could not get into the country. You needed a visa. I can't remember whether we lacked the money or time to get one, but either we or the border control thought that the opulent country, its luxury fancy hotels and restaurants, was beyond our budget at that time.
A side trip from Rimini in Italy. A road uphill to the top with the view. Buy postcards and postage stamps and drive down again. Speak Italian.
The Vatican has assorted treasures, the physical ones, the architecture, history, paintings, treasures, documents, as well as the living treasures to see, the pope, the priests, the nuns, the devotees. The blessings and the balcony. The outdoors and the shady indoors.
It also has the world's shortest railway.
Railway station platform.
St Peter's Square.
A top attraction for Roman Catholics, especially at certain times of year. If you are not religious and want to avoid crowds, time your trip off-season or at a suitable time of day, according to advice from the Vatican and your local travel agent or online.
Expect to speak Italian. They used to speak Latin in services.