Travels with V

Luxembourg

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tillbaka

The fortress on the hill

Luxembourg

We’re on a train from Liège in Belgium to Luxembourg city. It’s a two-hour journey through lush landscapes. It’s an Intercity train, but it stops all the time in tiny villages with about three houses. By accident we’ve booked 1st class tickets, but the only difference from 2nd class is that the headrests are different. And it,s more expensive.

As we’re approaching Luxembourg city the scenery changes dramatically. Rivers have carved deep scars and created steep hillsides all around. The train rolls over a bridge with high arches, and we’re there. 

Luxembourg is of course bothe the name of the city and the whole country, the last grand-duchy in the world. It has a messy histiry, having in times been owned by France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and also the Habsbyrg dynasties, both the Spanish and the Austrian. But since 1890 it’s autonomous, and one of the smallest countries in Europe.

HAUTE COUTURE SHOPS IN THE CITY
SQUEEZED IN BETWEEN THE GRAND PALACES IS THE CITY HALL
GUARDED BY STONE LIONS

Just as in Liège the district around the train station is some distance away from the old city centre. And here there’as also a deep ravine in between. But we hop on a free tram and pass over the impressive bridge “Pont Adolphe” straight into the city center, which is a financial and political hub with palace buildings and fancy shops. 

WALL ADORNED WITH PAINTED GLAZED TILES
HQ OF THE LOCAL PIRATE PARTY

The Grand Duke’s castle is a house, not small but not the grandest in town either. And it’s right in the middle of the old town with its narrow streets. Its royalness is evident by the armed guard standing at the entrance. A serious man, but not really the strong defence force you would expect.

The first to build a fortress up here were the Romans. Around 1000 ad a new fort was built, and over the years it was gradually extended until it covered the whole plateau where the old town “Ville Haute” lies today. With ramparts and batteries, and a network of tunnels inside the mountain, so called “casemates”. Today you can enter and explore them.

Fortifying a hill where surrounding rivers have carved 65 meter high and steep hillsides allowing free sight all around is of course a military dream. If you want to descend to the district below, the so called “Ville Basse”, there are some lifts that can take you there. And you should, Ville Basse is a very different environment, more like a small and cosy country town.

Luxembourg city is definitely worth a visit, it’s history and architecture is fascinating and the dramatic city landscape with steep hillsides and ravines is so beautiful. It’s easy to move about in the city and there are plenty of restaurants, bars and cafés in the narrow streets. We found a superb Greek restaurant for our dinner, and their moussaka was to our great satisfaction made with cinnamon. That’s a sign of good quality!

LUXEMBOURG MEANS LUXURY AND MONEY, HERE'S THE COUNTER IN A LOCAL DELI.
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