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Luxembourg offers great Travel Vacation

August 24th, 2005

Luxembourg Germany offers great Travel Vacation

Luxembourg

The Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg doesn’t sit comfortably on most people’s ‘must-do’ lists when travelling, but it is definitely worth stopping by.

Luxembourg 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.

The youth 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.

 

The city 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.

We discover 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.

luxembourg bridges

Bridges in Luxembourg

Luxembourg 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 art installations.

Leaving the 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.

At Diekirch 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.

 

Vianden is close to perfection and the ideal place for us to finish this stint of traveling. 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.

Vianden Luxembourg Germany

Vianden chateau

The spot 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.

Vianden 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.

 
 

Vianden Luxembourg Germany

Vianden

 

River luxembourg Germany

River around Vianden

 


By Morag Ingram
Freelance Writer

 

Books about Luxembourg available at Amazon

 

 

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:45 PM