Wednesday began with Gregory beginning his first official day of his first official job. The new young banker off to work in a suit and tie! Serge was more nervous than Gregory. Military men are trained to show up early and wait. Gregory approaches life with a lot more serenity than that. He was planning on being maybe 5 minutes early--no more.
Our day began with the customary coffee and croissant--and a hard boiled egg just for me. Then we were off to see the Castle of Viandon. Its construction began well before the Middle Ages and continued through the 15th century. Before we reached the actual castle grounds, Serge stopped at a look out so we could get pictures. The look out was also a WW2 memorial to the liberation of Viandon by Allied troops. The village was the last place to be liberated in Luxembourg. They even had Secret plans posted that showed how the liberation battle would be carried out. There were flowers growing around the memorial plaque and as we were leaving, the street cleaner was arriving to make sure the memorial was free of any debris.
As we began walking up the cobblestoned street to the
castle, we could hear the sound of horses clopping along the road. Two big draft horses were ridden by teenagers were each leading another horse on up the curving hill. Serge told us they were logging the woods the old fashioned way, with the horses pulling the skidder.
Finally we crossed into the castle grounds through 2 arched gates and then the drawbridge. From there we could follow the book that led us through the various rooms, including an upper and lower chapel, a large and small kitchen, the knights' chamber as well as a bedroom and music hall. In what was once a grain loft were pictures and dioramas of the stages of reconstruction. In another hall, famous people’s photos that have visited over the years,including Bess Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt and other political figures. The castle has also been used as a location for movies such as one starring Patrick Swayze--can’t remember the movie, but his autograph is on the wall!
After lunch at a Japanese resturant, we headed to downtown Luxembourg City to see the cathedral and the palace and parliament building. The cathedral has the Grand Duchess Charlotte entombed below in the crypt and a large statue
of her is in the square outside. She is still very much beloved here--her grandson Henri is the current Grand Duke. The duke’s palace is very impressive with gold plated balconies and a guard marching in front of the gate. Parliament is adjacent to the palace. Next we headed off to find a few souvenirs from Luxembourg--our first chance to do any shopping at all here--Serge had kept us running till late every night!
We had to head to the train station for our multi-connection trip to Venice. Our train out of Luxembourg was late, and we had only 3 minutes to spare to change trains in Metz, but we made it! That was a fairly short hop with another change in Dijon. France is the only country we’ve been in with no translations of any kind in English--thanks GW!! My limited French got us through and Ted’s “Do you speak English?” to the girls at the diner helped as well!! The train from Dijon to Bologna was an overnight train that was to arrive at 6am. So we got up at 5 from our little sleeper and got all ready to go……..but 6am came and went with no stop
in Bologna, 7am, 8am--no Bologna! Finally our porter, whose English equals my Italian, explained we had been stopped for 3 hours in the night!! Our connection to Venice was to have been at 9am: I am typing this on the train @ 9:30! The little porter told me we can get the next train to Venice “no problem”--we’ll see. It’s been the only bump ion the road so far, but I’m getting hungry and I miss the wonderful fresh croissants!
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