Travels with V

Liège

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A city where you change trains

Liège

We’re really on our way to Luxembourg but strangely there are no direct trains between the EU headquarter cities Brussels and Luxembourg. You have to change trains midway, in Liège. And since we had to, we took some time to explore this historical Wallonian capital, since medieval times a center for coal mining and steel-making. Quite a few of the area’s craftsmen moved to Sweden in the 17th century to help build a metal industry there.

As you leave train station you notice its spectacular roof covering the platforms. It is designed by the Spanish architect  Santiago Calatrava, in Sweden known as the designer of the high-rise Turning Torso building in Malmö.

First impression of Liège is that it’s a bit of a worn down city. We see quite a lot of drunk and obviously poor immigrants roaming the streets. One of them, a man most likely affected by illegal substances starts to stalk us, but we elude him by a classic method – we walk into a shop. Liège is an elongated city and the central parts lie a bit north along the river, a twenty minute walk from the station.

So we walk along the river Meuse, quite broad and with a big marina. The river has played a catastrophic role in the city’s history – several times it has overflown causing great damage to houses and drowning people. One building that was flooded many times is the cathedral St Paul. A massive gothic church with its oldest parts from the 10th century. Inside there are some beautiful statues, among them a rare motif – the defeated and chained fallen angel, Lucifer.

In Liège’s old town there are some noteworthy buildings, among them the Opera house with its modern extension, and the palace of the prince-bishops. French-speaking Wallonia had for several hundred years catholic church leaders that were also princes.

But the main tourist attraction in Liège is, bizarre as it may sound, a staircase. A long staircase with 374 steps. It’s called Montagne de Bueren and it was built in the 19th century to honour soldiers who defended the city against an attack by the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold in the 15th century. We ascend of course and it’s not as hard as it may seem. From the top there’s a great view of the city. 

Our hotel is right by the railway station so we can easily hop on a morning train the next day. It’s an Ibis hotel, but an attempt to create a kind of designer place. And it’s great, good breakfast, a nice bar and very quiet rooms. And it’s just a short walk to the fine dining restaurant “Riva” where we end the day with a superb bouillabaisse and a nice evening by the river. Tomorrow it’s a new town in a new country, Luxembourg.

Resebloggar finns det gott om men vi har en lite annan tanke med våra berättelser. Vi vill främst beskriva våra upplevelser av udda platser, människorna vi möter och miljöer som är rätt annorlunda mot vad vi möter hemma.

Därför hamnar vi ibland i avlägsna indianbyar i Guatemalas berg eller bland andetroende bybor på en ö i Indonesien. Men också på mer kända platser som Machu Picchu i Peru eller sandstränderna i Goa. Allt sett genom våra ögon och kameror.

Den som vill ha restips får också sitt - varje resmål har en avdelning med sånt vi kan rekommendera. Eller undvika. Vårt fokus är framför allt att sporra er läsare att göra som vi - resa rätt ut i den vida världen.