Day 3: Luxembourg City, Luxembourg - 28/08/2012
Miles: 100 appx.
After our first night in the new tent we got up, sorted ourselves out with the obligatory cup of tea, a couple of cereal bars and packed up for our day out. As we were staying at the campsite for two nights there was no need to carry all of our stuff with us other than documents and valuables. We were positioned within a very short walk to the facilities although the ground was very solid which made it difficult to pitch our tent the night before. We also made friends with a grasshopper but unfortunately it didn't fancy coming with us to the city centre :(.
So after a very short 15 or so kilometres we made it to the city centre. Motorcycle parking was right next to Luxembourg's iconic "Golden Lady" and also bang in front of the beautiful valley. I set about locking the two bikes together with the cable lock I had brought with me and we then heading down into the valley. However, Emma did her famous trick of leaving the key in her bike so we had to walk all the way back up to the top to retrieve it. Once that was sorted we decided to tackle the valley later in the day and so went to walk about the city centre for a bit. The city itself isn't all that large and seems to work on a grid like system. There are a few fashion shops, the typical McDonald's, sandwich shops and cafes. I managed to stumble across an unlocked wi-fi connection and so sent an email back home just to let everyone know we were safe and had made it this far.
We returned to one of the sandwich shops where we ordered a couple of ham and cheese baguettes (probably because it was the only thing I could ask for in French!) and went for a sit down to plan what we were going to see. The lady at the campsite was very friendly as I went to pay in the morning and handed out some maps and guides with recommended walks and sights. Our main stops were the history museum and the underground bock casemates.
The underground tunnels were impressive, holding around 30,000 people in times when the city needed to defend itself. There were so many steep steps, low-height ceilings and awkward passage ways that I was exhausted by the end. There are also lots of places to see out of and appreciate the valley too. We then went searching for the "Corniche" which is meant to be Europe's most beautiful balcony. I think we are still quite unsure which part was the Corniche as there were stunning views from many points. After then spending quite a bit of time in the history museum and understanding Luxembourg's place in Europe (and also seeing a strange swing, lit up by lights all on its own in a kind of exhibition room) we then took on one of the recommended walks through the valley. I strongly believe that if you visit a place (and in particular if you are quite limited on time) you should at least visit their history museum. It is nice to find out about where you are, how it started out and how it became what it is today.
It is probably also worth noting that there is a train that goes round the valley, although I am not sure how much this costs (see left). We are used to walking and quite like taking things in at our own pace so we opted for that instead. Our walk took us back through the valley, past a miniature railway track, under the Adolphe bridge and all the way back up to near where our bikes were parked. As we were doing this trip on a shoe string budget we grabbed a bite at McDonald's before heading out for our ride round Luxembourg. Before leaving the city however, I made sure we rode over all three bridges that we saw (purely because I could) and then got out to the more rural parts of the country.
Below is the route we took round the country before heading back to the campsite. Again, if you would like the Garmin files to any of these then please leave a comment below.
As you can see from the map, our route took us back north towards Belgium before heading west and then south again to the campsite. The N (national) roads in Luxembourg are really scenic, although some of the bends can be challenging (although not as much as the Black Forest but we'll come to that later!). It was a lovely sunny evening and despite the Garmin trying its best to get us lost (it sent us down a 6 mile stretch of road in both directions before deciding on the correct route) we managed to get back before it got too dark.
As we got closer to the campsite our surroundings became more enclosed as we rode through mountains and other valleys. Unfortunately though I don't have any pictures of these.
We also ended up through small villages with cobbled-paved roads that went up hills and round tight corners. We did see some interesting buildings along the way too.
[Next Up: Day 4: Steinfort, Luxembourg - Ostwald, France]