During Late March 2011, I was waiting to start my new job and had couple of weeks. So I decided to do a 10 day trip to Germany. My close friend from engineering college, KK Dev was living in Koblenz at that time. KK is one of my friends whom I have known for over 15 years and who are still in touch. College friendships last for long, I guess. Anyway, so I went to Germany and stayed with KK during that time. I was planning to do day trips / short trips to areas around Koblenz like Frankfurt, Bonn, Cologne, Brussels, Luxembourg etc.
On one of the weekends, KK and I did a trip to Luxembourg city which was couple of hours’ journey by train. After leaving Koblenz early we boarded a train which we had to change in Trier, a town on the way. Well !! we goofed up and boarded the wrong train and went on in wrong direction towards France. We left the train at Saarbrücken, a town on the border of France and waited for our train towards Luxembourg. We killed time by roaming around the train station. It was cloudy and raining a bit so not a great weather to be lost. After our short stint with uncertainty, we found the train and boarded it to reach Luxembourg.
Thankfully, by the time we reached Luxembourg city it was sunny and perfect weather to roam around. Luxembourg city is the capital of Luxembourg, a small European country. Luxembourg is founding member of EU and Benelux countries and has the highest per capita GDP in the world. Luxembourg city is one of the three “capitals” of the EU and has a mix of French and German cultures.
The train station had some nice artistic paintings and ceiling. After coming out of the train station, we enquired at the tourist office for the things to see and got ourselves a city map. We started walking towards the centre of the city via ‘Avenue de la Liberté’. It was a clean and wide road with beautiful buildings on either sides. There were not many people on the streets.
We went on towards the Adolphe Bridge and on the other side of it. Luxembourg has hilly terrain and there cliffs and valleys of the rivers in the city. It was quite different to other European cities I have been to. We kept on walking further inside the city and through the streets. We passed ‘Place d’Armes’, which was crowded with people sitting and having their food in the numerous restaurants all around the Plaza. As we walked, we reached ‘Place Guillaume II’ which was very beautiful with flowers all around. Although these flowers were for sale by the flower vendors there. There was a walking tour getting started from there, but we did not take it. Since I am quite good with walking tours myself I did not feel any need to take professional help 🙂 .
We had lunch at a nearby restaurant before the tour. Next to the plaza was the Royal palace, ‘Palais Grand Ducal’, official home of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. I was quite surprised that the Palace was just like another building on a street, unlike other royal palaces I have seen elsewhere.
There were some security guards outside the palace. The building had some good carvings and design on the stones used in it. We saw the building from outside and moved on to our own walking tour. The total population of Luxembourg is around 500,000 making it a sparsely populated country. The city was no exception, we could find many empty streets. Small Cafés all around made it a nice walk.
We passed through the National History & Art Museum and St. Michael Church to reach the high cliff overlooking the Gründ. It is also known as Casemates du bock. This is a UNESCO World heritage site.
This place gives a panoramic view of the city and it was nice. The cliff was steep and it was a bit scary to look down. Nonetheless, we cracked few jokes about heights and newspapers and moved on.
Walking through the streets we reached near ‘Cathedral Notre Dame’ (same as in Paris). There was another viewpoint of the cliff and valleys. There was a monument of remembrance, ‘Monument du Souvenir’, nicknamed ‘Gëlle Fra’ (Golden Lady). This was to remember the people who volunteered during world wars.
We spent some time there and then moved to do more walking around the streets before returning back to the cathedral. We went inside the cathedral and sat there for a while. It was quite big and decorated church and as usual very peaceful.
The time for our return train was getting closer and we did not want to miss it or make another goof up while going back. Thus, we started moving back towards the station. We picked up some snacks on the way. Our train was supposed to pass through Trier, where we had to change to another train.
We reached Trier, a small German city on the border of Germany and Luxembourg. Since there was still time and some day light left, we moved in the city to have a look. Trier is a historical city with many old roman buildings and structure.
‘Porta Nigra’, is a roman made gate which is still standing. It was built with heavy stones and I could understand how it withstood the time. It was old and had black markings all over, rather all of it had become black by the time.
We started moving towards the ‘Trier Cathedral of St. Peter’. This cathedral had different structures from the ones I had seen. Built like a fortress and it had gothic style to it too.
Although we could not go in as it was closed, but we roamed around it and around the area. There were multicoloured buildings making up the plaza and were very beautiful.
We spent some more time roaming around the city and its markets. The markets were quite new and modern.
It started getting dark and the time for our train was nearing. So, we came back to the train station and boarded the train back to Koblenz.
Next day would be another journey, to Frankfurt.