Sunday, February 3, 2013

Trier & Luxembourg

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The weekend after the Nice business trip we decided to take a short weekend trip to Trier and Luxembourg in the hopes of enjoying some nice fall colors.  However, the weather wasn't looking great and since we didn't want a rainy weekend we decided to see if the next weekend was better.  If it wasn't, we just wouldn't go.  We spent that weekend making pancakes (as usual) and generally relaxing indoors and out since it turned out to not really be bad.  Oh well.

We left the following Saturday morning early to make it to a falcon show my husband wanted to see at a castle in Cochem.  This turned out to be my favorite castle.  It was on a great hill overlooking a river and surrounded by vineyards.  It just seemed the most "castley" of all the castles we'd seen and just what I pictured my own castle looking like :-)  The falcon show was all in German so our understanding was a bit limited but we enjoyed it anyway.  He had the bird go around and land on everyone's head (eek!) and I almost got forgotten but Brice was sure to point out that I had been missed (such a good husband!).  The town was absolutely adorable and we enjoyed walking around.  I finally got the Magnum ice cream bar I had been wanting since we got to Germany and we picked up a bottle of wine for Brice's boss.

Porta Negra
From there we drove on to Trier which was a major city in Roman times.  (I was thinking how funny it was that it was one of those places the whole world revolved around at one time and now people hardly ever think of it.)  We saw the Porta Negra and had our picnic lunch on a wall nearby (nuts, crackers, apples, and of course, a Ritter Sport).  Then we toured the impressive cathedral and nearby churches before walking over to the basilica (not what you're really thinking of, click the link for more info) and saw the Roman baths from the outside.  We paid to get into the amphitheater and walked around inside and underneath.  I, of course, had to touch everything I possibly could because it was so old.

Next we drove to Echternach to stay the night.  It was another quaint little town and we had a room above a nice restaurant.  We had some time before dinner so we took a walk over to a church (do we get enough churches?) and then walked along a path by the river.  Coming back into town we took another road and found a church up on a high hill and walked up to it.  It didn't appear to be used or open anymore as the doors we very dusty and firmly locked, but it had benches with a nice view in the overgrown yard.  We made our way back closer to the hotel to find dinner.  It turned out the options were limited in this little place but we finally settled on a Chinese restaurant and were relatively satisfied.  It wasn't that late when we got back, but I had been battling a cold and was ready for bed by 8:30.

I felt quite rested in the morning when we woke up.  After a traditional breakfast at the hotel we packed up the car and took another short walk.  When we paused to try to take pictures of this really cool dew-covered spider web, two Dutchmen stopped to talk to us and tell us about a nearby waterfall they had been to the day before.  We got the name and decided to try to find it.  First we visited a castle in the town of Vianden in Luxembourg.  There were some beautiful colors on the hillsides all around the castle that we were able to enjoy.

Beaufort ruins!
We continued on our drive to the waterfall and passed some great ruins of a castle called Beaufort.  (Brice has family in Beaufort, NC so this was exciting.)  The surrounding yard was filled with sheep so that was fun too.  We kept on and eventually found Müllerthal waterfall.  There was a nice little hike to get there through some gorgeous woods and a really enchanted-looking bridge over the falls.

In the casemates
Afterwards we drove on to Luxembourg city.  It was an unusually warm day so we were actually quite hot walking around the city.  There was a huge crowd outside of the church and we discovered the royal wedding for the Luxembourg had been the day before.  The church was still decorated so the public was allowed access to see the church (since I suppose they had paid for the wedding).  We took a few minutes to collect our souvenirs since this was a new country for us and then walked over to explore the casemates, tunnels through the hillsides.  Somehow we both kept think of the Cask of Amontillado.  On our way back we considered going in to the church.  The line didn't seem too bad and did appear to be moving.  Upon closer inspection, however, we discovered that the line wound around the church several times and did not go straight in.  Not being citizens, we figured we'd skip it.  There was an open-air market nearby though that we decided to peruse for napkin rings.  We saw a few, but none that we liked until we saw an antique silver one.  These are often very pricey so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was quite reasonable so we got it.  The rest of our napkin rings are new, so this was a bit different.

Patton's grave
Before heading home we decided to stop by the American cemetary located nearby.  It was closing about 5 minutes after we arrived, but we managed to get in and the guard was kind enough to give us a few extra minutes, perhaps because we were American.  We saw Patton's grave and took some pictures.  We do wish we had timed it better so we could have spent a little more time there.  It was nice to have a little spot of America there, something that you truly appreciate when you have been a foreigner for a good amount of time.

It was a nice weekend trip for fall colors and a little different from American autumnal trips to the mountains or Vermont for hiking and apple-picking.

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