Saturday, February 22, 2020


I had hoped to scribble my mad thoughts in private, but when I descend to Edelweiss’s breakfast room with my leather journal in hand, JL, Mazey and Van Stein are already seated, eyeing me with incredulity after our imaginary friend psychoanalysis over dinner.

They’ve stopped talking.  What were they talking about? 

Our mission this day is to visit Liechtenstein, a tiny principality about 60 miles north. 

It is important to me, in the context of my day job, to visit all of Europe’s odd pockets, the microstates, and Liechtenstein will complete the set.

The views, weaving through mountains and valleys, are ceaselessly spectacular, if road signs are brutally German. 

Our destination is much less spectacular. 

In fact, Liechtenstein is downright anti-climactic, evoking memories of Andorra, and of San Marino, to which I’d trekked six months earlier, not with Van Stein in search of creativity and madness, but with JL, on princely microstate business.

At least San Marino has a little culture:  two torture museums and a wax freak show.  Liechtenstein possesses nothing—except for a Transylvania-like castle that hangs precariously from a mountainside.

Van Stein quickly dashes off a dismal landscape; JL, Mazey and I take refuge in Hotel Sonnenfeld’s parlor for coffee. 

A revelatory discussion clarifies how two parallel paths in my life have unexpectedly crossed:  my madness stuff is getting serious and my serious stuff is going mad. 

On the drive back, every time we pass an Ausfahrt sign Van Stein whoops, “Exit-stenchtialism!”

...a link, perhaps, to expulsion therapy?