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Published: March 26th 2018
Yesterday we were going to Bettembourg but Tim had a dream or something during the night and the place changed to the Valley of the Seven Castles. We’d have a look at a couple and come back on another day.
The day was overcast as usual but I felt warmer than I had for days. We travelled along narrow tree lined country lanes and happened upon a village that started with an R, had a CH in it and O may have been the second letter. If I can gain a bit more detail, or buy a vowel or a consonant, I’ll let you know.
This village was like a ghost town and we only saw about 10 people while we were there, including the 4 customers and the owner of the bar that we had coffee in. It was awarded the most tidy town award in France recently and the entry to town proudly displayed this honour. Originally a fortified castle, the village has been subject to many wars, the most recent being WW2 in 1944, when the Americans dynamited the main gates to allow access for their tanks. The village received grants to restore the walls, and
judging from the progress made, it was invincible in its day.
The next last minute decision was to visit the Gardens Of The Grand-Château of Ansembourg. This remote castle had gardens originally laid out in the early 18th century and completed in 1790. They remind me of the perfectly symmetrical hedges and topiary plantings that are often represented in movies depicting finely dressed women and polite gentlemen strolling along discussing how to survive when the peasants work out the truth about inequality (fast forward to 2018, yikes,!). Unfortunately at this time of the year most of the garden has been pruned, ready for the new Spring growth; we‘ll come back in a month and look for improvement.
On the way home we discussed the notion that a trip to Bruge in West Flanders, Belgium could be squeezed in before flying to Poland for Easter. At home bookings were made and we had a date with the 8.05 train from Arlon, Belgium in the morning. Tim would drive us there as catching the train in Luxembourg increases the expense considerably. Sue and Tim went to a show last night while Natalia and I opted for a vigorous walk around
Built to thank God because they escaped the plague
some of the many walking paths in Luxembourg. I actually noticed signs on some posts for where the Camino de Santiago passes through Luxembourg so who knows, I may change my own travel plans.
Travelling by train to Brussels does clear up one myth; sometimes the destination is more important than the journey. The final leg of the journey to Bruge is quite charming, passing through small villages and large expanses of lush farmland but the often hilly scenery to Brussels is usually obscured by banks of earth cut into the hills to allow the train a smooth ride. Maybe I’m being unfair because I don’t think the weather really shows the countryside in a favoutable light.
We had one incident on our train that, alarmingly, broke the monotony. A young girl sitting adjacent to us slumped across the aisle, obviously in distress, trying to communicate her problem to us. Sue managed to find help in the form of two women who seemed to be medically trained. They stayed with the girl, raised her feet and made her comfortable, and you could tell when their mood lightened and the girl was seated upright that she had improved. It
seems she may have had a mild epileptic episode but was now OK. One of the ladies returned occasionally to check on her condition. This was a bit unnerving for all the passengers around her who couldn’t help, so 3 cheers for the Good Samaritans.
Life is never dull on French trains. People are very animated, school aged children always seem to be on an excursion and sit wherever, and chat to their fellow passengers. I don’t think you’d see that in Australia but maybe we’ve gone too far with the ‘ stranger danger’ message and now nobody trusts anyone. I certainly know I have an awareness of possible perceptions even if you smile at a child; it’s a bit sad really.
It’s 7.30 so we’re going for dinner and a nighttime look around. I’ll pop some picks on now and give a run down on Bruge tomorrow. I will say one thing; it’s one of the most charming, original unspoilt places I’ve been to. Apparently it scooted through 2 world wars without much of a scratch, and considering its in Flanders, that not a bad effort.
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