Today is the final day of our weekend away, so the get up / breakfast routine is followed by the pack up and check out procedure. We decided yesterday to visit Luxembourg city today, it’s not far from where we’re staying and should have many interesting things to see. To clarify, ‘Luxembourg’ is a country – the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg – as well as a city – its capital – and a province in the neighbouring country Belgium. The history of these parts reads like a complex soap opera, with dynasties, wars and conquests. We park outside of town and take a bus to the city center, the ride (free, remember) takes about 15 minutes and shows us a lot of impressive infrastructure works, then charming residential streets. We get a first glimpse of the impressive casemates which used to protect the elevated fort from attack.
It’s about ten thirty when we step of the bus, totally unprepared but connected to 5G, so we’re confident we can figure stuff out on the fly. Our first stop is the cathedral, but it’s closed because the Sunday service has just started. Next we walk to the famous Bock casemates, towering above a bend of the Alzette river – also closed, the sign doesn’t say why but cheerfully invites us to visit the close-by Pétrusse casemates instead. We decide to follow the Wenzel walk, which should take us by some of the interesting fortifications in the south part of the city. There’s many, many more to see, but as we walked 20 km yesterday we don’t feel like doing the distance of the Vauban walk. We make our way down to the river and follow one of the old city walls to the Rham Plateau, where we lose our way (or at least, the route) and let our stomachs lead us towards a quarter with some restaurant options. Mettwurst for me, that’s one of the many kinds of sausages they serve here, in a bun with lots of mustard (optional). They grill them right outside the bar, I suppose that might be because the dining area is actually carved into the cliff and has few ventilation options.
After lunch we evaluate the options. We’ve gotten smart enough to check whether things are open before walking there, so upon finding out the Pétrusse casemates are closed as well, we decide to skip it and go to the high town directly, taking the elevator in the cliff. We’re starting to understand that the whole old city center was one fort, of which now only the inner, middle and outer fortifications remain. We stumble upon the changing of the guard at the ducal palace (there is actually a duke still living here, the nominal head of the country) and then follow the people to the pedestrian shopping streets. It really is a charming town, with the river and giant fortifications around the low town and dignified buildings and steep, cobbled streets in the high town. If only more of it were not closed! We do manage to visit the cathedral on the way back, it’s suitably large and impressive.
We hop back on the bus around two and head home by car – through Luxembourg the province, past Liège and Brussels. We listen to Flemish folk/schlager on the way and discuss the weekend. Lovely hiking, gorgeous castles and fortifications, we’ll have to come back after the low season, to see all the sights that were closed down for winter!