Luxembourg offers great Travel Vacation
August 24th, 2005
Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg doesn’t sit comfortably on most people’s
‘must-do’ lists when travelling, but it is definitely worth stopping
City is a rather grand old place resting high up on a rock
surrounded by ravines. The areas in the valleys are filled with
quaint buildings and a meandering river or two – the Pétrusse and
Alzette. The ravines are spanned by some seriously impressive
bridges, some of which are drawcards in their own right. The city
itself is 1000 years old and has a history big in the art of war and
defence. The new sections of the city, mainly a commercial and
financial district, play an important role in the European community
and stretch far out onto the Kirchberg Plateau. The locals are
fiercely proud and rightly so of their country’s ongoing
contribution to the European Union.
hostel is in a brand spanking new building – the workmen hadn’t even
left yet. The facilities are brilliant however the reception a
little off-putting in its lack of interest. What sells us on the
place though is the free wi-fi connection in the cafeteria and the
hot chocolates that are well worth the euro or two.
feels rather like Brussels, with squares in the middle of the town
full of chairs, tables and performers. Paved pedestrian-only
streets dominate the main shopping area, which makes for a relaxing
wander while window-shopping.
two markets – flowers and vegetables at Place Guillaume II and a
brocante (antiques and bric-a-brac) at Place d’Armes. The former is
impressive in size and selection and it’s easy to come away with
lunch fresh from the garden.
City is one of those places where turning up one street and then
another can reveal some real highlights and polarities in
architecture. Every so often you’ll stumble across some serious
looking fortifications or peer over a stone wall or a soaring bridge
and down onto a pocket-sized village below. Along with the modern
office buildings, the Kirchberg Plateau has an array of over-sized
capital we drive north up the middle of the country following the
Alzette River. Turning east at Ettelbrück, we head through Diekirch
and onto Vianden, which sits right on the border with Germany.
we notice a trickle of walkers with red faces that soon turns into a
torrent. There’s also a number of proper army looking types among
them. This snake of walkers, all huffing and puffing, carries on
for a few miles of driving – there are serious numbers of people
exercising here! We find out later from an English person living in
Vianden that it’s the annual Army March – a weekend of 40
kilometer marches that
draws around 10,000 people every year from across Europe – including
a very tired and sweaty coach load at our next hostel.
close to perfection and the ideal place for us to finish this stint
The cobbled town flows down the side of a valley along a winding
roadway. Almost indescribably majestic is its chateau, which is the
town’s crowning glory.
Looking at it
in the flesh and in pictures, it’s virtually impossible to believe
this was a ruin just 30 years ago. Someone with amazing vision took
the shell that was the chateau and has restored it to its former
glory, working from drawings taken over the past few hundred years.
This chateau alone is worth the visit to Luxembourg.
started out as a Roman fort and over the centuries grew in size and
importance and was previously owned by the ruling family of
Luxembourg. It has an excellent display detailing the restoration
work and in some areas you can see the work still in progress. This
is a town’s labour of love and just incredible.
itself is set up for tourists and seems to be popular with those on
motorcycle tours. There is an ample selection of good cafés and a
museum to Victor Hugo who spent two years here while in exile from
France in the 1870s. To escape the daytime visitors, we walk along
meandering roads in the surrounding hills and woodlands that are
easy to follow and perfect for losing track of time on.
But we keep
coming back to the chateau – just about every viewpoint is directed
towards it – and it’s a pleasant way to finish our journey gazing up
at it as we sit by the river, sipping on a local wine.
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