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Published: October 19th 2014
Hello my fellow travellers!
Me and Andreas started very early today to catch a train to Brussels where we'd switch to a train bound for Luxembourg. We were in luck as the ticket we bought yesterday was valid for the return trip as well. It was easy to find the international desk at the station in Brussels and the staff was more than helpful to get us our tickets and direct us to the right track.
The ticket was 40 EUR and we had about 20 minutes of waiting so we went to a small café and picked up some baguettes for breakfast. The train ride was a nice and smooth experience even though we had some delay due to works on the tracks. The train between Belgium and Luxembourg has a high standard with fold-able seats so that you can sleep for a while.
When we arrived in Luxembourg City we went into a tourist information that was located at the railway station, here we received a very good map of the city and thus our tour of the city began! I can tell you that this place is a hidden gem in the world, it's not
one of the obvious tourist locations but it is so unbelievably beautiful. The city is based around a deep valley with both housing, medieval buildings and impressive fortifications crowning the peaks.
You get from one end to the other over bridges with such a scenery as to take your breath away! This was the sweatiest of our destinations on this trip as we went down from one peak into the gorge and up on the other peak, only to repeat it while going back. This trip required some stamina I can tell you! If you're of faint of heart or just, unlike me, don't want to feel your trip in your legs you don't have to worry though as there is Bock Casemates, Bock Promontary, Abbey de Neumünster and Wenceslas Wall.
Oh well, maybe I should take it a bit more chronologically, we started out by crossing the beautiful Viaduct into the very central of Luxembourg City, the view from up there is beyond words, a steep fall down into the Pétrusse Valley, covered in lush greenery and overlooked by the Holy Ghost Citadel. The first thing you see when you cross over the Viaduct is the National
Monument of Solidarity. From there we went to the heart of the city, the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin, which quite uniquely is joined with the National Library, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of State, all packed together into one big length of buildings and opposite from them you'll find the Town Hall.
From there we went to the Monument of Remembrance on the Constitution Square, just above the Pétrusse Casemates. It is a beautiful monument to those who served during World War I. From here you have a grand view of the Pétrusse Valley with the tower of the State Savings Bank crowning in the distant. After the obligatory photo in that scenic spot we headed to the William II Square, unfortunately there was some kind of reconstruction going on so it was hard to get a really good look of the equestrian statue of William II of the Netherlands. Right across from the statue is the Palace of the Grand Dukes.
Now it was time for the sweaty part! We started by going down into the valley, taking the path past the Three Towers and the Vauban Towers, absolutely beautiful examples of 12th and
17th century defences. What I was striving for though, and woefully dragging poor Ante with me for, was the crown jewel of the fortifications in Luxembourg. Up there, on the highest spot is the fortifications known as Three Acorns. Fort Thüngen! It was a very sweaty hike up there, past several other remnants of the old fortifications such as the Fort Niedergrünewald and the Fort Obergrünewald. We made it though, sweaty and tired we climbed the narrow pathways over the old ruins and arrived at the top (only to find a far easier route on the way down).
Going down we of course elected the easier way and we took some time to sit down and rest as we were both exhausted. I wanted to keep going from here up to the Bock Casements and then down to the Wenceslas Wall, Ante was spent though so we agreed that he'd remain outside as I went down into the Bock Casemates and then he'd stay and rest while I went back down by the river to look as Wenceslas Wall. I must say he really missed out, the Bock Casemates where spectacular and Wenceslas Wall was breathtaking down by the
river! I can't blame him though, we kept a very high pace and he was suffering from grass-allergies, I'm impressed he kept up for that long!
Going down into the Bock Casemates I asked some other tourists to take a photo of me and they gracefully accommodated me, when I heard them talk between themselves in Japanese I surprised them by first thanking them in Japanese and conversing with them.
They complemented me on my Japanese (very kind of them since it's woefully inadequate these days) and then we walked together for most of the Bock Casemates. They didn't want to go as deep inside as me though and when they returned to the surface I kept going on downwards, eager as always!
In my opinion they really missed out as the best part was. Once you've gotten all the way down it really opens up and you can visit the old battlements as well as the lodgings of the royalty that once sought shelter here.
Once I'd explored as much as I felt I could I went back up to Ante to check in with him before I went down into the valley and the
fortifications there. I stayed down there for quite some time, just walking around in bliss and eventually Ante actually came down to look for me. I felt a bit guilty, but at least that meant he also got to see it! After subjecting my poor friend to all of that I agreed to us returning back to the centre to grab something to eat and for a proper, well deserved rest. Said and done, we got some food in our bellies and then we headed back to the station where we took a free (no kidding) bus out to the airport to catch our flight back home.
This whole trip has been a wonderful experience and I wholeheartedly recommend a trip through this region to anyone with a taste for history.
Until next time I wish you all peace and happy travels!
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