Our decision to visit Luxembourg was an impromptu one. We needed fuel before heading back to France, which at present has the highest diesel prices in Europe, it was on our way after following the lovely Moselle Valley through Germany, and most importantly we had not visited here previously, so adding another country to our list.
Ruled by its own monarchy, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a small landlocked country tucked away between Germany, Belgium, and France, so has some excellent cultural influences
It’s a natural beauty, the sheer amount of green undulating hills, and the opulent architecture of the hilltop castles and villages are outstanding. Our first night was spent in Echternach a lovely village that just happened to be celebrating the 150th anniversary of its Fire Department, so there were displays, beer tents, and food, perfect entertainment, and dinner!
Luxembourg has it’s own language Lëtzebuergesch, that the children learn in primary school, but most Luxembourgers also speak English, French, and German. Walking through the city though you hear an amalgam of languages widely spoken by the many nationalities that live and work here and travel daily the short distance from Belgium, France, and Germany.
Well known for its banks, it’s also one of the founding members of the European Union, and one of the wealthiest nations on the old continent. Evident by walking their Grand Rue where you see every well-known designer brand you can think of, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Hermès, and Christian Louboutin just to name a few. Then there are the Jewellers!
Luxembourg City is not only for shopping though it’s also famed for its medieval fortifications, the Bock Casements.
For over four centuries, the best military engineers from France, Austria, Spain, and Germany made this city one of the most fortified cities on earth, helping is the fact the city sits high on a rock wall that helps its natural defense.
The vast Bock Casemates, 23kms of underground tunnels encompasses a dungeon, prison and the Archaeological Crypt, considered the city’s birthplace. Along ramparts above, the Chemin de la Corniche, called the most beautiful promenade in Europe, are dramatic viewpoints over the deep gorges cut by the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers, and they were also nice and cool on yet another hot summer day.
Their transit system is unique. Free travel on public transit for anyone under 21yrs, and only €2 for all others, and that is soon to be abolished to make public transit free to everyone. We parked in a free Park & Ride area and caught the bus into the city, and by the number of these P & R’s around, it seems most city workers do the same.
We have heard about the huge ferris wheel that has been in Caloundra the past couple of months, but how about this fantastic feat of engineering?
The City Skyliner is a mobile observation tower 72m in height that rotates 360 degrees. It sits on a massive base and weighs 270 tons the City Skyliner can carry up to 60 people at the same time and the trip takes about 8 minutes.
Right next to the Skyliner on Constitution Square is the Golden Lady that was set up in 1923 to commemorate the Luxembourgers who died in the First World War. The memorial represents a gold-plated female figure on a stone obelisk.
In 1940 the Nazis pulled the monument down and it was found hidden in the sports stadium. Restored and put back in its place of pride where today it symbolizes freedom and resistance for the Luxembourg people.
Talking about pride, Luxembourg was the first country to have an openly Gay Prime Minister, elected in 2013, and who married his architect husband in 2015. P.M. Xavier Bettel has spoken about gay rights at various conferences around the world, even in Arab countries. For a very tiny country, only 2500 sq kms, they are very forward-thinking.
Luxembourg is not really on the tourist route, but if you have the chance to visit do so, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Some random pics ;