Published: March 5th 2011March 5th 2011
You can just see the belfry that we climbed up to later.
Thursday 3 March 2011
John was very boring today and worked until about 2.30pm when Ali 'dragged him out' for a last wander around Vianden. We sauntered along the river and around the few streets, climbed up to the belfry for some more great views over the town, found (finally) the little cloister behind the Trinitarian Church (a monastery was founded here in 1248), and stopped for afternoon tea (which turned into pre-dinner drinks!) at the very cool "Cafe Ancien Cinema".
The cafe has a film and music theme going on (e.g. the menu-covers are reproductions of old LP album-covers), with jazz/soul music playing and, hand-written on a huge blackboard was an excerpt from a conversation between James Bond and Felix Leiter about making Martinis (from Casino Royale???). It was a bit of a gem among the often kitch cafes in the area. While we were there, a local wandered in with his dog (the size of a small horse), and as though it was the most natural thing in the world, the waitress simply brought out a bowl of water for it!
Friday 4 March 2011
Up at 6 AM (ouch!) and off to Luxembourg. We deliberately
went via small back roads in an attempt to avoid the commuter traffic. This took us through some lovely areas, but of course the closer we got to Luxembourg, the more frenetic the traffic became.
We managed to catch an early train from Luxembourg to Bruges (Belgium), thanks to an enormously helpful and friendly conductor. Once we were on the train, he made a point of looking up our connection in Brussels and told us where to change (there were a few options) as well as the time and platform. Unfortunately for us, the connecting Inter City train ended up being canceled and we ended up crammed into a regional train - but only as far as Ghent, where we had to change again! At least this time we got onto an Inter City and back into a 1st class carriage (much less crowded).
A friendly local lady who helped us out when the train was canceled in Brussels, suggested the train problems may have been caused by the current political strife. Belgium has been without a government for 8 months! She said there is a rift between the Flemish-speaking north (Flanders) and the French-speaking south (Wallonia). Flanders
Inside Vianden's Cafe Ancien Cinema
Done with afternoon tea - on to aperitifs (i.e Belgian beer!).
has surpassed Wallonia economically and feel they're carrying the rest of the country, so want more influence in parliament.
Bruges is amazingly beautiful - even though the taxi ride took us through some crowded and touristy streets, where we're staying is quiet and close to some lovely stretches of canals.
Our B&B (Dieltens) has loads of character and very gracious hosts (also quite squeaky floor boards - at least in our room!).
Just to give Lonely Planet a plug - we went to one of their recommended bars, L'Estaminet
, for an early dinner and it was great! It's always encouraging to find locals dining/drinking alongside the visitors.
There are more photos below