Day 213 12.02.13 Luxembourg
Well that was a chilly one! We give the van a blast through with the heating before either of us dare venturing out from under the covers! After wrapping up warm we set out on the long walk to the city centre. It’s probably the coldest it has been so far and our faces are quickly red from the biting wind. We find the centre relatively easy though and pick ourselves up a free map and city guide from the tourist information office.
We walk to the Palais Grand-Ducal which is a little underwhelming for a ‘palace’ but does have some chilly looking guards with guns outside parading back and forth. We walk through the main square ‘Place Guillame II’ with its large statue and some buildings of note. Following the very helpful street signs we make our way up to the ‘Three towers’ and the start of the city’s fortifications. The towers are quite nice although sadly graffiti ridden. The rest of the Bock promontory is where the real interest lies. The UNESCO protected fortress walls are mightily impressive indeed. Built up from the natural defence of the surrounding valley these powerful ramparts offer spectacular views over the town. Sadly the Casemates underground tunnels through the rocky foundations of the city are currently closed. We take a while enjoying the lovely view of the abbey, river and colourful houses from our lofty standpoint. Wandering back through town we make our way to the square with the town hall and all the cities eateries. It’s too far to walk back to the van for lunch and in the absence of any supermarkets or mini-markets to grab food we end up in good old McD’s although the wifi is locked and nobody seems to know the password *sigh*. It’s cheaper than in France at least and Chris’ ‘Bigger Big Mac’ is quite the feast!
After some more pottering about town we walk down to the Constitution Square and Gelle Fra memorial. This amazing viewpoint offers just awesome views over the deep, snowy valley of the Adolphe bridge and Place de Metz on the other side. It’s a wonderful sight, probably the finest in the city. Looking down the steep fortress walls to the valley below there looks to be plenty of kids using the fortifications to launch pretty epic snowball fights! In summer I bet this place is a wonderful, green park. In fact I should mention that there are lots of huge green spaces in and around the city with some fantastic play areas for kids. We spotted a massive pirate ship play area that I would have ended up in myself had it not been covered in snow! The parks are very well looked after even in this weather so no doubt in summer they must be blissful.
We take a walk over the long Adolphe bridge high above the valley. On the other side we find a fair few grand buildings including the very attractive ArcelorMittal Headquarters, a fancy baroque affair. That’s the last of the sights according to our map and I must say we’re freezing! Its mediateque time! We settle in to the toasty warm Mediateque in the late afternoon and get some writing done whilst thawing!
I’ve been quite surprised by how small Luxembourg actually is. There are some very lovely views afforded by the surrounding valleys but otherwise not a great deal of attractions. There’s clearly a lot of money in the city as the locals are all impeccably dressed and the majority of shops are very high end labels. It’s a quirky little place but I hoped it would have a little more to offer. Perhaps we visited at the wrong time; I’m sure in summer I’d fall for the enormous parks and come away with a much more favourable opinion!