Trier and Luxembourg

Trip Start Aug 03, 2009
Trip End Sep 02, 2009

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Flag of Germany  , Rhineland-Palatinate,
Sunday, August 23, 2009

We left Munich mid-afternoon and arrived in Trier at 8pm (that's 20:00 in Europe).  We checked into our hotel and settled into our room with an amazing view of Trier.  Trier is the oldest city in Germany (home to both first the Celts and then the Romans), and the site of the oldest Christian church in Germany (built in the 4th Century).  From our hotel on the hill we can see the whole city.  Breathtaking.

After a long day of driving, we needed to stretch our legs so we walked down the hill to the city centre.  It was Saturday night and in a university town, that means party night.  There were several stag and stagette parties going on, and a number of people just looking for a good time.  We found a little beer garden (8 tables) and Attila wound down with a Bitburger beer.  As we were leaving the beer garden, we were approached by two young people who offered us candles and invited us to "Nightfever" at the church in the market square.  We followed the crowd into the candle-lit church, lit our own candles and sat in a pew to enjoy the sound of the choir echoing off the stone walls.  The candle-light and music was beautiful and very peaceful.  We left the church and walked around the centre until we felt sleepy and ready for bed.

In the morning, we awoke to the sound of Sunday church bells.  It was a lovely sound.  We enjoyed a big breakfast at the hotel and hopped in the car for a day of touring.

Our first stop was the city of Luxembourg.  For some unknown reason, Rick Steves doesn't have a Luxembourg city guide, so we went to the TI to get a map and some basic info.  They gave us a DIY walking tour, but it was not the quality of walking tour that we have come accustomed to with Rick Steves.  Still, we enjoyed the sites; particularly the valley park with its miniature railway, beautiful green spaces, and huge overhead bridge arches.  Unfortunately being Sunday, almost all businesses were closed and our options for activities were limited.

On the advice of our hotelier, we drove for Wiltz.  Wiltz is a small town at the north end of Luxembourg.  It was a nice town but it offered even less options on Sundays than did the city of Luxembourg.  On the way out of town, however, I noticed a memorial that had some familiar insignia on it -- it was a statue dedicated to Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Guiding and Scouting movements.  Apparently, Wiltz is the European base for many Scouting events.

Our next stop was the town of Vianden.  This town was much more alive than the other two we visited.  There were tourists everywhere, and the main road through town (cobblestoned with two narrow lanes and no sidewalks) was buzzing with cars, bikes, motorbikes, and pedestrians.  We down the hill to the bridge where we found a brasserie where we could get a bite to eat.  The food was a little disappointing but it filled the void.

It was starting to get late and we wanted to get back to Trier while there was still daylight, so off we went.  Back at Trier, We wandered through the town centre, checking out the Porta Negra and the Cathedral.  The Cathedral (the first Christian church in Germany) is massive.  I didn't realize how massive it was until I asked Attila to stand at one of the doors so I could take a picture of the whole building with him as a scale.  Wow.  He looks like an ant.  I can see why the townspeople were so ticked off at the bishop for building such a monstrosity.  Talk about overkill.

We followed Rick's walking tour through the centre, over to the Basilica and the Roman ruins.  As we started to lose our daylight, we settled into a street-side cafe for coffee and dessert before heading back to our hotel on the hill.

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