Amsterdam-LU-Brussels


Day 6 - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - In the Morning a Guided Tour of Luxembourg City; Free Time in the Afternoon or Optional Tour of the Mountain Towns

The weather is holding for us! There were blue skies today and the temperature was already 66° with the humidity at 63%.

Stephen Lyons, an expert local guide took us on a walking tour of the Constitutional Monarchy. Also called The Green Heart of Europe; there are three official languages, Luxembourgish, French, and German.

Our first stop was to be The American Cemetery so before we arrived Stephan gave us a review of the military strategies of the German and Allied troops, The Battle of the Bulge, and the interactions between the generals; Patton, Eisenhower, and Montgomery.

As we entered the hallowed ground, a hush grew over our group. A couple from New Hampshire has a friend whose father is buried in the cemetery. The superintendent was able to look in the records and they went right to his grave.

Vic took photographs for them and the superintendent gave them a packet of information explaining the battle and specifically where the man had been killed. It was a very emotional time for many of us.

We saw General Patton's grave as well as the 5,076 white crosses or Stars of David marking the burial sites of men killed in the region during the fall of 1944 and winter of 1945. We left the cemetery at 10:15 and headed back to Luxembourg City.

Stephan began the city tour by pointing out the Roman ruins, fortresses, and the walls of the old city. He also told us about the many European Union organizations that have administrative offices in the city.

After our tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site we had lunch at Snack Ankara. We had two durums (kebabs), shared an order of fries, and had a soda. Although it was over 14€, our meal was probably one of the most reasonable in the city!

Gennie bought a few post cards and stamps and then we met the bus at the parking area for a trip back to the hotel. We had 15 minutes to get our belongings for the afternoon Optional Excursion “Luxembourg: Medieval Heart of Europe”.

We drove north of the city through what is called scenic "Little Switzerland" to the Château de Beaufort. While most of us spent about 40 minutes visiting the old castle, Vic was asked by a woman from the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce to fill out a survey on tourism.

The area is known for its local sweet liqueur called crème de cassis, made from local blackcurrants and raspberries. We were on the bus at 2:30 and drove through rolling hills, sculptured limestone, groves of hardwoods, and plots of fir trees, harvested for wood products.

We followed the Sauer River to the small town of Echternach on the border with Germany. During the Battle of the Bulge, this town was located on the front lines. Our City Guide Alan Miller described the battle and how the people of this town were evacuated by the Americans and relocated behind the Allied Lines for protection.

We visited the Abbey of Echternach, founded in 698 by St. Willibrord, an English monk. During the battle the Abbey was bombed as was most of the village. After the war a special tax was assessed to restore the Abbey in the 11th Century style.

Alan gave us a tour of the Abbey and we visited the sarcophagus of St. Willibrord in the crypt under the church. This church is located on the northern route to the Way of Saint James and we saw the scallop shell markers pointing the Way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

We had free time for a “coffee” and some folks had lunch, a snack, or just sat in the sun. Vic suggested a visit to the grocery store where we bought meat, cheese, and sodas for our dinner tonight.

He went to the bakery and began speaking to the clerk in Portuguese! There is a large community of Portuguese in Luxembourg who have come to work in construction and other trades.

Thomas met us at 5:00 and we walked to the bus. Because the bus park was right by the river and the borders of the EU are wide open, a group of us took an extra few minutes and walked across the bridge and into Germany.

By 6:15 we were back at the hotel, dinner in hand, ready to capture our day’s adventures, and pack for our departure tomorrow.

Accommodations: Grand Hotel Mercure Alfa - - - Meal: B - - Rating: B-

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  Comments

Very enjoyable. Keep up the good work. Dick and I are off to Japan with OAT tomorrow. Jeanne

Jeanne Clark Katucki   April 19, 2013 - 9:09am

Pictures beautiful...picture of overview of city...did you notice the one green building.. fabulous view

Nor   April 18, 2013 - 4:15pm

Samantha Ferguson and I are reading The Diary of a Young Girl together.

Susan P   April 18, 2013 - 2:12pm
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Patton's Grave - American Cemetery in Luxembourg

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