[DWJ] House of Many Ways

Emma Falconer emmajanefalconer at gmail.com
Sun Sep 8 12:58:36 EDT 2013


Y
es, the cleaning struck me too! I guess that's a common thread with Howl's
Moving Castle.

I was in Liechtenstein for the afternoon the other day (I was working
teaching a holiday English programme just across the border in Feldkirch in
Austria), and it reminded me so strongly of House of Many Ways that I had
to re-read it the next day (this is when having an e-reader for travelling
comes in so handy!). The main town, Vaduz, has a massive castle on a hill
overlooking it, and that landscape that you find in that area, where there
are sudden flat meadows dotted here and there between mountains, and then
suddenly more mountain.

It was their late night museum day, so I bought a ticket that covered the
national museum and the art museum. The national museum was a bit like a
small town local museum, they had all kinds of local bits and pieces put
together in a haphazard, but charming way. There was a gallery of paintings
of all the princes of the country, with a little bio for each. They were
pretty much all called Hans-Adam, Johann or Aloys, there was a lot of
nephews becoming the heir, and there were a lot in the 1700s and 1800s who
were constantly trying to find ways to make the country money, while trying
experimental animal breeding techniques and buying books. They ran out of
money in the 50s and 60s and started having to sell off their paintings,
until they hit on the idea of becoming a tax haven and financial centre in
the 70s, and stopped being an obscure agricultural backwater. At one time
they had an army, because they had some kind of  leftover responsibility
from the Holy Roman Empire to the German Federation to have one, but it
only ever had about 20 people in it, so they got rid of it as soon as
Germany re-united, and they weren't members any more.


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