First Day. Liège to Luxembourg
After 10 days of hibernation in Belgium meeting friends and family, cleaning private gardens of good friends and several hikes, we finally hit the road to Luxembourg. We took the bus 1001 from Liège to Arlon passing quaint villages and farms. It was a great idea to drop by a bit in Arlon and explore. The weather was a bit nasty with on and off rain but it never stopped us from checking the place which leads us to small alleys, market and finally to the Saint-Donat Church built on top of the hill overlooking Arlon. Now we know a place to hangout next time we get there.
Now it’s time to go back to the train station to catch the next trip to Luxembourg. We purchased a 2nd class rail pass for 83 euros with 10 train rides. Arriving from the train station, I was impressed with the mixed modernity and at the same time the complex classic architecture of their train station. The ceiling was so elaborate that I want to just stare at it for hours. But we needed to meet our friend somewhere in the city so we walked to the place traversing the city and finally to the Parcs de la Pétrusse close to the rendezvous. The Pont Adolphe is one of a kind structure you’ll see while in the park. We got lost and finally reconnected with our good friend Marc. We never wasted our time and hopped to the highest observation tower in the world- City Skyliner. It was an amazing feeling enjoying the 360 degrees view of the city while Marc showed us some notable structures and spots. Delphine was in a hurry to go down due to her fear of heights.
Here comes the best part of the day. Dinner. Long before we came here, I already made a research on what food to try. The Luxembourgish specialty Judd mat Gaardebounen made from smoked pork neck with broad beans, potatoes, and bacon made my day. Perfectly paired with Pinot Gris wine locally produced within the country. It was a big serving and good for 2. If I’ve only known, we could have just shared it with my wife. Live and learn. I can’t walk after that. To finish the day, we treated ourselves with a generous scoop of gelato and drove to Diekirch.
Second day. Diekirch and Luxembourg City
Located in north-eastern Luxembourg, this commune is the home of the famous Diekirch beer. The town also hosts the annual Eurocross which gained its reputation in the cross-country running competition. I enjoyed the early morning walk along Sauer river, a quick visit to the town, and sampled one of the best croissants for breakfast.
After the hearty breakfast we had, we slowly took the train to Luxembourg city and enjoyed more of it especially the food. We had plenty of time taking photos and tried another Luxembourgish cuisine. We were the only people at the restaurant and I loved it. After all, it was late for lunch. I thought the food wasn’t delicious there but I was surprised by what I had ordered. Filet de Boeuf du pays au poivre vert. Tender juicy beef with lots of salad and potatoes. The price was worth it.
We have to digest the big late lunch so we walked around the town with the Circuit Wenzel and reached the Casemates du Bock. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Fortifications built in 1745. Archeological discoveries in 1993 showed the vestiges of the first château comtal erected in the 10th century by the city’s founder, Count Sigfried, on the “Bock” promontory.
It was raining hard so we took refuge inside the casemates. We waited for our friend Marc to pick us up. From there, we met his friends for dinner and drinks. We were too full when we found ourselves sitting in a nice, cozy, family-run Italian restaurant. The smell of seafood and the smoke adds to the lively aura of the room. The abrupt shift of language made me amaze while savoring a glass of Italian wine carefully chosen by Marc’s friend. Luxembourg has 3 official languages: French, German, and Luxembourgish as their national language. I wish I still had space in my stomach to enjoy the good food that night.
Third day. Berdorf Wanterbaach and Château de Vianden
This was the highlight of the trip. Right after we partake in a nice breakfast, we drove to our first destination to Berdorf Wanterbaach in the Mullerthal Region. Dubbed as the “Little Switzerland of Luxembourg”, this 30 acres of forest is one of the main attractions in the country.
The dizzying labyrinths lead through silt marshes, past caves, rock formations, deafening grottos and crevices to superb viewpoints of the Valleys of Black Ernz, The Sure and the Aesbach.
I can’t contain my emotions when we passed by those small crevices where we need to side-step just to fit in those tiny holes. After 2 hours of wandering in the forest, we decided to look for some cold beer and fries around the neighborhood and continued our journey to Château de Vianden.
It was my first time to visit a castle. Built from 11th till the 14th century on the foundations of a Roman fort and a Carolingian refuge. It served as the seat of the influential counts of Vianden beginning of the 15th century to boast the close connections to the royal family of France and the German imperial court. Upon entry at the gate, the staff handed us audioguides depending on the language you speak and roamed around the castle. Pretty convenient we don’t need a human guide. We just had to press the button.
Under the reign of King William I of Holland in 1820, Vianden Castle was sold piece by piece which leads into a state of ruin. From a pile of rubble to its well-ornate state, it will never be restored to its former glory without the great effort of the family of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. It was transferred to state ownership in 1977.
What you’ll see inside?
Al Dikkrich Festival
The perfect send-off party for us after 4 days in Luxembourg. This big celebration started during the independence festivities in July 1939 in which a mayor and 2 deputies handed over the keys to the city. People tried to relive the festivities in the 1950s but failed until in 1968 when a funfair was celebrated bringing the formal foundation of Al Dikkrich Festival. A popular festival celebrated in front of Eglise St. Laurent in Diekirch by free live concerts, procession, children’s games, card games, dance and of course with lots of drinking of Diekirch beer. It was just perfect for us when we were there during that week and the finale of the event on the night before we left Luxembourg. Next year’s schedule will be on July 10-14.
Fourth Day. Upper Sûre Lake (Lac de la Haute Sûre). Considered to be Luxembourg’s largest body of water, this lake covers an area of 380 ha. Built in 1955 and originally created to produce hydro-electricity thereby reducing the country’s reliance on foreign imports. That was the last place we visited on our way to Tintange from Diekirch.
A popular recreation spot during the summer, its artificial beaches draw thousands of crowds on warm weekends. A panoramic viewing deck called Burfelt Panorama offers a mesmerizing landscape of the lake with solar-powered boats, scattered artificial beaches, and kayaks. Look for signpost “Neihaff or Belvédѐre” at the main road.