Thursday to Sunday, 2 – 5 July 2015 – Ride on Petrusse Express – (PetiteTrain) around old city and Flight from Luxembourg – Paris- Birmingham and Train to Telford – (Days 23 – 26)

Thursday to Sunday, 2 – 5 July 2015 –  Ride on Petrusse Express (Petite Train) around old city and Flight from Luxembourg – Paris – Birmingham –  Telford (Days 23 – 26) 

Got up a bit later today and over  breakfast, met and chatted with a Dawn and Mike. Finally said my goodbyes at the Il Piccolo Mondo hotel staff and caught the usual No 15 into Centre of Luxembourg.  Was already quite warm so stopped at the La Boucherie Restaurant and ordered a long coke.  I was able to leave my bag there and I set off to find the Petiet Train.image

Was not too far, but some of the little “rues” (alley ways) were really stifling.  Got on the little train and we set off.  I think it was about 42 degrees and although there were little windows, there certainly wasn’t any breeze. The commentary was  very interesting and gave  a good overview of the history of Luxembourg.

Had been to some of the places  when I did the walking tour, but the train went on some up and down places that I wouldn’t have wanted to tackle in this heat by foot.  By the time we got back, it was just time for me to come back to the Restaurant for my 1.30 table booking.

I came via the Palace and there was the solitary guide marching up and down as the Duke was in the country.  Luxembourg is being host for six months to members of the European Union countries so there were quite a few of the dignitaries outside the Palais.  The Duke offered free wifi so I took advantage of this.  For a short while, it was a little noisy as there is a building taking shape next to the restaurant and I was thinking that there are not any Occupational and Safety regulations as such.  There are huge cranes sitting above the walkways and heavy trucks coming up and down the alleyways where pedestrians are walking.  The skyline is dotted with these huge cranes throughout the city as so much restructuring is taking place. So I spent a short while just watching the men at work and hoped the crane stayed secure – it was extremely high.

Had a nice lunch and because I am by myself people ask where I am from etc. so time is spent chatting away.  Met Mark and Max from Germany and Mark had travelled to a lot of the countries I have been to.  As they were leaving to go and see some football match, they told me they had paid for my drink.

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I noticed that so many of the young people were extremely helpful – offering to carry my luggage, offer a seat, etc.  I called into the library again and spoke with Viviane for a short while and then met Sylvie for our last drink together.  Was quite pleasant listening to a few items by a jazz orchestra.  Evidently, there will be different activities just in the square near the restaurant for the next fortnight.

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I reluctantly collected my bag and Sylvie walked me down to catch the No. 16 bus to the airport.  Once there, I got the shuttle service to the hotel.  Booked into the hotel and decided to have an early night as have to be on the 5.00 am shuttle service to the airport.

Friday, 3 July 2015. –  Flight from Luxembourg – Paris – Birmingham and Train to Telford – (Day 24)

Well, my day didn’t start off as planned as I slept in and missed my 5.00 am shuttle to the very close airport. I quickly hurried downstairs to get another shuttle to the airport but when I went to book in, the gate had already closed. After a bit of phoning and several extra dollars, I was able to get another flight out of Luxembourg, via Paris and then onto Birmingham where I then caught the train back to Telford where I collected a car. Because there was not a lot of time in between the connecting flights, my bag that I had booked in was not on the same flights but was delivered by courier to the hotel by 7.15 pm that evening so that was quite a good service.  I had my dinner and then did some sorting out of my luggage and then went to bed.

So that was the end of my third week. I really loved Luxembourg. Just a beautiful city and the people so friendly and was a great pace. Could walk around quite safely and without people jostling you about.

Saturday and Sunday – 4 and 5 July 2015 – (Days 25 and 26)

Weekend was spent in Telford –  had a drive out to Little Wenloch, Meeson and up and down littler country lanes.  .

The district is so peaceful and so green you never tire and had a restful time ready for next week

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Wednesday, 1 July 2015 – Bus Trip to Vianden and Echternach – (Day 22)

 Wednesday, 1 July 2015 –  Bus Trip to Vianden and Echternach – (Day 22)

Up early for breakfast and then caught local bus into Centre to go on “Fire and Eyes” bus to Vianden and Echternach.  The bus left at 9.30 and we travelled through some lovely countryside –  forests, open fields,  and winding roads.  When the commentary was not on, there was some very pleasant soothing music.

We arrived in the lovely town of Vianden. Once again, got my information mixed up.  As my ticket was valid for two days, I decided not to stop in Vianden but go onto Echternach, stay the three hours there and return tomorrow and spend the time in Vianden.  But, the next bus driver informed me, that the bus does not go on Thursdays.  I was quite disappointed as there is a cable car up to the castle. Never mind, next year !!!

After passing through several pretty villages we arrived at Echternach

 

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I started my walk to the lake which is about 3.5 kms. For the first couple of kms it was quite pleasant as I was walking along pleasant shady tree lined streets, but the last part it was out in the hot sun.  I was quite pleased to see the lake.  There is quite a large youth hostel and restaurant so before heading back, I had a couple of refreshing beers.  I took a different route back, so was more in the shade.  When I got back to the town centre, I had a milkshake and banana split but was too much and felt quite ill. Piggy.

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I went for a very short walk over a bridge and then I was in GERMANY !  Evidently, this was a “check point Charlie” years ago. I could not stay too much longer as I had to be back for the 3.00 pm bus.  I was the only passenger on this double decker bus.

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On our way back we passed some waterfalls, but the bus is not allowed to stop.  We came back to the City Centre of Luxembourg passed the administrative side of town.

About 4.30 I met Sylvie again and she brought her 15 year old son Johnny in to meet me.  I had a nice light meal and we listened to some artists who were performing in the square for a talent quest.  We did not stay until the end as I caught the 7.10 bus back to my hotel after another lovely day.

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Spent some time talking to Tony, the owner of the hotel before I decided to have a bit more to eat.  I then spent time trying to take photos of the planes that flew right over the hotel. Gave up after awhile as it was too difficult as they were right overhead before I knew it.

Then it was off to bed after another super day in this beautiful city and the lovely countryside..

 

 

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 – City Centre and Walking Tour – (Day 21)

Tuesday 30 June 2015 – City Centre and Walking Tour – (Day 21)

This morning at breakfast was chatting with a Christine from Christchurch in New Zealand, Andrew her son from Brisbane, Australia and Paul from the United Kingdom. Andrew and Paul shouted Christine this trip as a birthday present. They were driving and had been to eleven countries in the month.

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After they left, I caught the local bus and went into the Centre and had lunch at La Boucherie Restaurant.  The bus ride is a very pleasant one as you pass by some lovely tree lined streets, then open fields of corn growing. Some of the homes are painted in bright colours.   I was so absorbed at looking at the different buildings, I missed my bus stop and before I knew it, the bus came to the end of its run. The bus driver was quite talkative when we were waiting for him to turn the bus around as we had about ten minutes before he started his run again. He even asked me for my email.  I was the only passenger apart from Edrt’s friend.

At. 2.00 pm I joined several others and went on the Walking Tour of the Old City.  As it was quite warm – I think it was 34 degrees – we just strolled along slowly and stayed in the shade where possible.  Our walk commenced in the Place Guillaume and passed by the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) and the statue of William II on horseback. William was the King of the Low Countries, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and the founder of the Grand Duchy.  We then came to the Grand Ducal Palace which is an architectural and historical monument and the left side of the Palace dates back to 1572/1573.  The Palace used to be the Town Hall and housed council chambers, the civil guard and the gaol along with other uses. Louis XIV visited the Town Hall in 1687 and Napoleon I lived here in 1804. It has been the official residence of the Grand Duke and his family since 1890.  The civil marriage of Jean, heir to the Grand Duchy and Princess Josephine of Belguim took place here on 9 April 1953 and it was also here, on 12 November 1964, that the ceremony took place in which Her Royal Highness Grand Duchesss Charlotte handed over to her son Grand Duke Jean after a reign of 45 years.  On 23 June,  Luxembourg’s National Day, crowds gather in front of the Palace to greet the sovereign.

We passed by some lovely old buildings dating back to the 13 Century.  We walked along The Promenade de la Corniche and has been described as the “most beautiful balcony of Europe” and incorporates the ramparts built by the Spanish and French in the 17th Century. Between the Esprit plateau and the “Bock” one finds aristocratic residences, renovated buildings, the beautiful Alzette Valley, the lower town and the Rham Plateau. Each section of the Promenade has its own special charm.

Luxembourg’s 95 bridges make it a town of great contrast.  The most recent bridge to be erected is the Pont Grande Duchesse Charlotte – is constructed in steel and painted red so stands out and is known in Luxembourg as “Roud Breck”.

image  The view at this vantage point is quite breathtaking.   You also see over to the Kirchberg Plateau which is home to those European Institutions which are based in the Grand Duchy. It is 2kms away from the city and 8 Kms from the airport. There is so much to take in.

 

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On our way up to another magnificent vantage point we could look down to the Grund and see beautiful manicured gardens and the River Alzette. We also looked down to the “widest” street. It is a narrow road, but it would have been wide in the early days. From this vantage point you can see the old fortresses and see just how rocky they are. The Porte du Grand (Grund Gate) is a good example of the type of fortress gateways built by Vauban.

 

Our next stop was into the lovely Protestant Trinity Church of Luxembourg. Around 1333, the first chapel was built here.  It has since been destroyed but rebuilt.

Then it was into the beautiful Cathedral of Notre- Dame.  There were imposing pillars that carry the weight of the aisle vaults and are decorated with the characteristic interlacing that are found on the facade of the grand- ducal palace. The stained glass windows were adorned with various paintings of biblical scenes. The cathedral has two organs, one built in 1938. And the other in 1995.  Downstairs, was the Princes Vault in the Crypt. The bishops and archbishops (since 1988) of Luxembourg have been buried in the underground crypt. This Cathedral was beautiful in its own right.

 

 

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We then crossed over the road to where there is a great landmark of the Monument du Souvenir in the form of a 12 metre- high pyramid. This obelisk is crowned with the Gelle Fra (Golden Woman) statue of the Goddess of Victory. The monument was erected in memory of the soldiers who fell in the wars fought by Luxembourg.

Another view was taken in of the parks and gardens that border the Petrusse and the high bridges, beautiful buildings and the Pont Adolphe (Adolphe Bridge). The bridge was built between 1900 and 1903 and was a daring work for its time. It overhangs a large expanse of open ground and the parks below. At this time, it is having major works done so was covered up. It was my landmark when I was commuting between my hotel and the city centre as I did not want to miss my bus stop again.

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The guide of the tour was very knowledgeable and was fluent in eight languages. It was a lovely relaxed and informative tour.

After the tour, I went to La Boucherie Restaurant once more and met a lovely lady, Sylvie so while having a drink we chatted and made arrangement to meet tomorrow night.

It was then home on the local bus and bed after an amazing day.

 

 

 

Monday, 29 June 2015 – Travel from Telford – Birmingham – Amsterdam- Luxembourg – Paris – Birmingham – Telford (Days 20)

Monday, 29 June 2015. –  Travel from Telford – Birmingham – Amsterdam – Luxembourg-Paris-Birmingham-Telford – (Day 20) 

Was up early to get to the Wellington Train Station and got the 6.50.am direct train to Birmingham International Station.  It was a pleasant hour’s trip passing through Telford Central, Wolverhampton, Birmingham New Street and to Birmingham International. As I was getting into the lift, I met a Warren and his two children, Anthony and Emily.  They were kind enough to give me directions to the monorail that I had to catch to go to the International Departures.  Did the usual Immigration and Security checks and boarded KLM Flight KL1422 (23D) and we left at 9.40 heading for Amsterdam.  It was a nice smooth flight and arrived at Amsterdam..

Amsterdam airport is quite large so I boarded the shuttle bus for Gate B18 and KLM Flight KL1741.took off at 1.10.  Another short smooth flight and I arrived at the Luxembourg Airport. I had a transfer to my hotel, but could not find the person. It is only a small airport and found out where the transfers take place so after waiting almost an hour, I caught a taxi to the Il Piccolo Mondo Hotel in the Hamm area.

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I booked into the hotel and quickly changed as was very warm, had a refreshing beer before getting a local bus into the City Centre to get some information from the tourist bureau.  Did a stroll down the little rues and saw the Palace.  Stopped off at the Le Boucherie Restaurant. I chose this cafe as there was an ornamental cow outside and one of my friend’s friend collects cows so thought it would be fun to send a photo of THE COW.

 

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The staff here were very friendly so was a good reason to stay.  Another beer went down and was nice and relaxing watching the people go by and also there were “3” people who spent several hours in the same position.  They are at the same place every day only to move into a shady spot. How they stayed for the length of time that they do shows determination.

Then up to get my bus back to the hotel. When I got there, I suddenly realised I didn’t have a clue what bus I was supposed to get .  Was too excited when I arrived at the Centre. Anyway, some kind person told me which one.  It was now time to have my dinner but didn’t have a clue what to order as the menu was all in French without English translation. Sitting at the next table, two ladies had their meals delivered and they looked very nice so I said “I will have the same…….”  Was a tasty goats cheese salad and a yummy strawberry mousse.   Had some conversation with Viviane and Yuta. They are from Luxembourg but learnt that they meet and eat here on a regular basis.

After dinner, went to my room to sort out my things when suddenly I thought a plane was going to land on the roof. It was the loudest I have heard a plane. The hotel is right in the flight path but the roar is only for an instant as they go over so quickly and you couldn’t hear them approaching.  They don’t seem to have a curfew as one went over at 1.00 am.  The big cargo planes are the loudest but after the shock of the first plane flying over, it didn’t bother me.

So that was my first day in this lovely City. – Luxembourg is a beautiful city.