1st Blog by Valentine Bustarret - Friday, 29 September 2023, 5:33 PM Reflection about a particular cultural practice in Liechtenstein

Since I arrived here in Liechtenstein, one of the main questions people have asked me -apart from  the usual “where are you from”, “what do you study”, etc-, is the following : “why did you come to Liechtenstein ?”. At first, I was surprised, but now to this question I usually answer the same two things: because of the size of the country, and because of the hikes.

I like the fact that Liechtenstein is a small country. It is very green, not very urbanised, and mostly made of mountains. Also, because there are not too many people here, the encounters are more humane than in any big city in France : here, I can greet people I come across without seeming like a weird person ! Also, I love hiking, I do it a lot in my home country (we have beautiful regions to explore by foot), but only on holidays. To live in a mountainous region seemed like a perfect option: I wanted to have this opportunity to hike in my day-to-day life. And actually, I was able to go on a hike on every weekend so far!


Hiking: a family activity

During the hikes I went to with my friends, we came across a lot of people. From their accent and the “hoi” they greeted us with, they all seemed to be from here, so I figured that to go on hikes regularly is part of the life of Liechtensteiners. What surprised me that we met a lot of families -parents hiking with their small children. We even met a couple with their two or three-year-old son at two thousand meters of altitude! I was very impressed because the hikes are not that easy, it can be very steep and hot over there; but either the children hiked along, or their parents carried them (if they were too small to hike). Apparently, it is common for families to go on hikes on the weekend all together, no matter the age of the children. I thought it was an amazing activity to do with one’s family, and that people here are very lucky to be so close to nature -something that I don’t really relate to, living in the suburbs of Paris…

How easy it is to interact with other people

Also, during those hikes, all the people we met greeted us. I was so pleasantly surprised, given that I am not at all used to this kind of habit -again, when you live in the city, you do not greet everyone you come across… It is great to simply acknowledge the presence of other people, maybe have a nice chat, and share a smile! I love those simple encounters, the people we meet are always so interesting, and come from various backgrounds ; and even if we only share a “hoi”, it is still very warming and pleasant. At the summit of the mountain where we hiked last Sunday, we met a couple with their very cute dog ; we asked the dog’s name, and  just like that, we had a short but very nice conversation. They also gave us tips on where to go hiking next, so we know what we will be doing next weekend!

In summary, let’s say that I went to Liechtenstein looking for a warmer and more humane environment, as well as greenery and the opportunity to hike regularly; and I found exactly what I was looking for. So I had no problem at all to adapt, and I find myself really glad to live in this nice place for the next five months!