It had been a long, cold night. Temperatures dipped to just 2 degrees and stayed there till the morning. Heating in the van just hadn’t been up to it until Kim read the instructions, it was running at half power on a low fan speed, it didn’t stand a chance! It’s a shame we know that with only two more nights to go.
By our standards it was an early start, out before 9:30 to catch a bus into the capital city. Our enthusiasm was misplaced, at the bus stop we faced a 45 minute wait in biting cold so decided to walk along the bus route to keep warm. Three stops down, and obviously looking like bewildered tourists, a local kindly provided some guidance and advised us where to get off. A few minutes later we were seated on a warm bus travelling into town.
Within 15 minutes we were in the centre of Luxembourg City, and still acting like bemused tourists. We had maps, Jacky even had a walking route, but we could not get our bearings. Google Maps rescued us, yet again, and directed us to a cafe for a well needed caffeine fix.
We orientated ourselves and started our tour of the city at the Pfaffenthal Panoramic Elevator with views across the valley towards the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge.
Kim and Jacky walked round the top fortifications via the Spanish Turrets, while John and Ken took the glass elevator down.
Fortifications around the old city are a UNESCO World Heritage site and we all met at the Bock Promentary and Casements with its fantastic views.
Following the Casement round and down into the Grund, or lower town was a smart move. There was a small art market on the bridge with live music. The sun was shining, we were out of the wind and they had refreshments.
Of course we felt obliged to support the local economy by sampling the local delicacy of chips with mayonnaise.
We checked the map again…..
Our next stop was the centre of the old city via a very smart Justice Quarter.
The state funeral of Grand Duke Jean had taken place yesterday and there were signs of his passing everywhere. He’d abdicated in 2000, in favour of his son Henri, and died in April aged 98. Jean had served with the Irish Guards, fought at Normandy and Arnhem before returning to Luxembourg to lead its liberation. It was obvious as we walked the city that there was a lot of affection for him. White orchids had been laid at the statue of his late wife, Josephine-Charlotte
Next stop was the Grand Duke’s Palace where the Guards kept us entertained with their foot stomping. (short video below)
More white flowers were laid outside the Palace
Another corner turned, another market appeared. This was more bric a brac but kept us entertained for a while before moving on towards the Cathedral
The cathedral remained wreathed in orchids and there were long queues to view the Grand Dukes final resting place in the Cathedral’s crypt.
We were weary and it was time to find a bus back. We took a look over the ramparts into the Vallee de la Petrusse below rather than walking down through it. It looked like a glorious walk but our feet were complaining.
Having just missed the bus, and not wanting to wait an hour for the next one, we debated options that got us on a bus within 10 minutes. We had a slightly walk at the end of the route but we were cold and buses are warm!
Our final evening ended in the local pizzeria, starting with some very tasty hors d’oeuvres and ending with complementary Limoncello. Somewhere in between were the biggest pizzas in the world.