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The norteast of Luxembourg

Home -> Europe -> Luxembourg -> Travelogue Luxembourg -> 13 March 2007

Tuesday 13 March, the norteast of Luxembourg

We are a little earlier today than yesterday, but not much. Again we have slept a long time and are awake with a clear sun shining. Outside a sweater is almost not necessary and we notice that it is really spring, the birds whistle and the trees are starting to sprout.
It is warm in March Castle of Bourscheid Today we come across many castles again, like here at Bourscheid. A fortress has stood here since Roman times, and the oldest parts of the current castle are more than 1000 years old. The castle is gradually being restored and you can hardly see that it was no more than a ruin a few decades ago.
The hilly landscape with occasional high rocks was of course excellent for nobles to build castles; they are strategic places with a good view of the surroundings and easy to defend. The nice thing we find is that you can see that they are real medieval, so old, castles. Many castles in the Netherlands are just 'too new' for our taste, here they look more like castles from fairy tales. It is striking that many castles are being restored, sometimes for decades. Not in every country so much money is spent on restoration.
Castle of ViandenAfter the castle of Brandenbourg (a dilapidated ruin) we drive to Vianden where from a plateau we have a beautiful view over the majestic castle that fell into the hands of the house of Nassau in the 15th century. This castle is also built on earlier fortifications.
Vianden Town-hall, ViandenThe upper town of Vianden is still medieval with the original city walls and many watchtowers. There are virtually no tourists here, but fortunately there is a terrace in the sun. In the summer it can be very busy here, Vianden is a real tourist attraction, especially because of the castle and the beautiful location but there are also several museums and you can walk in the area.
The Our river, ViandenNear the river Our is a house where Victor Hugo lived (he was completely thrilled about the city) and we have a view of the castle and in the distance also the only cable car of the country leading to the Belvedere, a restaurant with a nice view over Vianden and the surroundings. The chairlift is still closed, so we save it for another time.
LongsdorfA little outside Vianden we pass a dam that is connected to one of the largest hydropower plants in Europe. There is an underground turbine plant that you can visit for free. We drive further through the rolling landscape where even the smallest villages are often built against a hill. Most villages in Luxembourg only have a few hundred inhabitants.
Rocks near Beaufort Castle of BeaufortThen we approach the area that is also called La petite Suisse, or Little Switzerland. Steep rockeries and narrow gorges attracted tourists already a long time ago and with this name they wanted to attract even more people in the 19th century. Also in Beaufort the 12th century castle ruin is being renovated, but we have been inside already a couple of years back and remain on the outside. The lure of the castle is the medieval torture chamber where the various pain instruments are displayed that probably all have been used. Fairytales are not always just fun and living happlily ever after...
WasserbilligWe drive through the scenic surroundings and then decide that tomorrow we will go to this area again to make some walks. Through all the small villages we now tour first to the east, towards the German border. In Wasserbillig we park the car and for the first time in Luxembourg we have to pay parking fees. Wasserbillig is a busy town along the Mosel and has traditionally been a trading center. The river Sûre joins here with the Mosel and from here to the south grapes are growing as well as in the Mosel valley in Germany.
View on the Moselle river Ferry on the Moselle riverBehind a railway tunnel we see the Mosel, the natural border with Germany and along the bank are beautiful flowering trees. We sit down on a terrace where it is pretty crowded and we have a view of the ferry that sails to and from the German bank. Actually this is the first time this holiday that we are in a place in Luxembourg where it is lively on the street; until now there most touristic attractions were closed, including catering, and there were few people on the street despite the nice weather.
The Moselle river at Wasserbillig The Moselle river at WasserbilligWe do not know exactly what kind of trees this is, but at least they give the bank on the Luxembourg side a nice color. We walk for a while in the sun before we go back to our house on the other side of the country.
We take the route via Luxembourg-city, but we should not have done that at the end of the afternoon: traffic jams everywhere! We get off the highway as soon as possible and take rural roads back to Bigonville. We are on the road a bit longer, but at least we do not have to stand still and now drive through pieces of Luxembourg that we had not seen yet.
In the evening we follow the same ritual again: eating, reading all night and going to bed early. This is really a relaxing holiday!


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