Luxembourg City


An 8 euro return ticket got both of us in 30 minutes from Wasserbillig to Luxembourg, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. 

Austin made a quick pitstop before we started our tour. I told him not to touch anything in the public toilet. This was the result. (See left)


First we headed to the town hall on William Square which is graced by the statue of Grand Duke William II of Luxembourg and King of the Netherlands (1840-ish). From here it was a natural progression to see the Palace of the Grand Dukes. Unfortunately the current Grand Duke was unavailable for a tour. 


At this point we were still unaware of the ancient ground we were treading. But as we stood at the edge of Constitution Square and looked into the valley below, we realised that the upper city is perched on a steep rock cliff and ancient fortifications, the first of which, a fortified castle was built by Count Sigfroi in 963. Further belts of fortification were added across the centuries with up to 15 forts carved into the rock. This gave the town the name  "Gilbralta of the North”. Amazing is to walk around the casemates which once were a network of 20km of underground galleries serving as shelters for men, horses and equipment. They included living quarters, bakeries and slaughter houses, all lodged inside the city’s rocks. In case of a sudden alert of bombardment 35,000 people could seek refuge in these tunnels.


Missing out on afternoon tea with the Duke we saw at least the graceful memorial of (we think) his grandmother,the Grand Duchess Charlotte. We also visited the beautiful Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin.

There was more than enough to see in town, lots of climbing stairs and walking from lower to upper town, but only so much our tender trotters could take.


The next morning we left for a place called Schwebsange where the boats harbour contains a service station with the before mentioned cheap diesel fuel.

It was Austin’s Birthday and he made me captain the Freshwater while he answered all the Birthday emails and messages he had received. I was only relieved to make cups of coffee, scratch his back etc..


The weather was  like a summer's day, absolutely beautiful, and we were back to shorts and T-shirts.

Arriving in Schwebsange we saved a cool 150 Euro for 500L Diesel compared to prices in France and Germany.

Thus elated we jumped on our bikes. Cycling southwards we came upon a group of hikers who looked lost. They happened to be from Leverkusen, 20 minutes from my hometown, and were walking a section of the Jakobsway (a popular pilgrimage in Europe). Last year they had walked from Cologne to Trier, and now they were on their second instalment. Lucky for them, Austin and the TomTom on his phone could point them in the right direction. 

We cycled on up to a town called Schengen. Here Luxembourg, Germany and France meet at the so-called “Three Country Corner ". The “Princess Marie-Astrid”, a historic ship, has its mooring here. On her the Benelux countries signed an Agreement in 1985 to relax boarder controls. This was an important prelude to the formation of the EU. A lovely park area along the river memorises this event. With one foot in Luxembourg, one foot in France and looking across to Germany, we had a drink on the terasse of the Europe Museum. 


© Austin Robinson 2019