so good they named it twice?

Sunday morning we shot through Belgium and arrived in Luxembourg (Belgium is being saved until last).  Our first impressions were so much space and a love of pink – in every hamlet and village pink paint abounds on houses, restaurants and even the odd garage. The other thing that struck us is we have hit autumn – in the space of a few hours drive the trees are in shedding leaves like there is no tomorrow.

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Our first stop was just outside Ettlebruck at Dietsch. A gigantic campsite next to the river but only five or six vans and a couple of caravans there so we had roughly 30 pitches of space each between us, or we should have. Not sure what’s with people who need to pitch next door, acres of space but three nights running vans came in and parked either side of us.

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Chateau Berdorf

Monday morning dawned cold, damp and grey, we got the bikes out for a ride to on yet more brilliant cycle paths, all off road – so good that despite the cold we continued onto Colmar (home of a Goodyear factory – weirdly good smell) before retracing out steps into Ettlebruck for a warming coffee stop – they even gave us blankets at the pavement cafe.

Being slightly confused with what language we should be using we asked the waitress, she said any will do, people speak French, English, German or often Portuguese!

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The way ahead – blankets at all cafes

The town was liberted by the US in 1944 but re-taken by Germany in the December during the Battle of the Bulge. No less than General Patton himself led the the troops into retake the town again a couple of weeks later for the final liberation from the Nazi occupation. With so much fighting taking place the town has very few older buildings, lots of post war apartments, shops with the occasional ally-way of pre-war houses dotted around.

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Pink painted buildings abound

Breaking a habit we went been to Luxembourg city for a day. We used the local train which  ran hourly, 40 minutes each way, a double decker train and €4 each – worth it for the journey alone.

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Luxembourg Luxembourg (ie the city bit) is  ranked 1st in terms of safety out of 221 cities across the world. Not surprising in a lot of ways as its very small, most people seem to be office folk and maybe because it was raining cats and dogs there were very few tourists around.  That said there are more than enough historic buildings to visit, we saw the Ducal Palace but sadly the castle was under wraps as scaffold covers a large part.

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For a small city there is a fair bit of up and down hill to get around. There are two deep gorges running through the city, both over 230 ft deep, most of the city is built high on the cliffs each side leaving the bottom of the valleys at parkland and open green spaces. We braved the rain and headed for the Bock, a natural cliff at the edge the city that contains the ruins of a castle and miles of tunnels.

It is an easy city to walk in a few hours, the old town has a good shopping area with all the household names but the rain meant we weren’t really that interested. Wet through we gave up after a lunch stop and headed back to the campsite.

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We decided to move along to the border region and arrived in Echternach, a small town on the German border, literally – cross over a small foot bridge and you are in Germany – less than 20ft between them over a small river. The town was founded back in 698 AD by a Brit, none other than St. Wilibrord from Ripon (another Yorkshire man!).  An impressive Basilica stands in the centre of town where Wilibrords tomb is housed in the crypt. The town was very much what we thought all German towns would be more like, medieval walls with towers, cobbled streets and tall houses – most of the town was badly damaged in WWII but has since been completely restored.

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Echternach

Another of the must see here is Vianden, a small village but with a whooper of a castle perched on the hillside.  Built in the 11th century it was left to fall into disrepair in the 1800’s. It was only recently in 1997 that the Grand Duke gave the castle to the state and restorations were completed.  The other main claim to fame is the annual ‘nut fair’  where local walnuts are on sale together with walnut cakes, walnut confectionary, walnut brandy and walnut liqueurs – it on this Sunday so we may go back.

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Vianden village

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Vianden castle

Whilst in the village, joy of joys, we came across a chair lift which climbed over 450 ft up a sheer cliff. We did, as you do – bloody nightmare. It started off fine, then crossed the river, followed by the main road and if that wasn’t bad enough your feet are dangling in the tree canopy all the way. Strangely enough no people coming down, just seats with beer barrels and crates!

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When we got to the top it was a bit of a let down, no views of the castle as the trees have grown way too high over the years. To use the loo they want another 50 cents of your money and for the photo they took of you terrified on the way up another €6. I was going to walk down it was that bad going up, to be fair the down trip wasn’t as bad.

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7 thoughts on “so good they named it twice?

  1. Hate to say this but Iain’s got a look of Steptoe in that photo!! More stair lifts, aren’t you a glutton for punishment. Don’t forget that lovely cheap diesel before you go.
    P.S. Spain is hot and sunny …

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    • oh wow he has hasn’t he! New day job coming up there as a body double 🙂 Sun is back with us now, not as warm as Spain but will do us 🙂 x

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  2. Ian looks like he is really cold! It is getting colder in Folkestone, but today was very sunny, so went to Dover Castle. Funny, I was thinking why miss Belgium.

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    • We are thinking there is a lot see in Belgium so do that last as ferry from Zeebrugge. The sun is back but yes getting much colder the nearer to home we get.

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  3. IAIN looks frozen even with the blanket round him still a very good photo of him all other photos great as usual what are we going to do when you get home (no blogs to read) all the best to you both xx

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      • I was NOT cold ……… I was bloody FREEZING! – it’s a age thing, don’t ya know, lol………. but you’ll all be pleased to know that plans are afoot to connect the bed at home up to the plumbing as soon as return to Wales
        (Anyone old enough to remember Albert & Harold should recall why, lol)
        Iain 🙂

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