The Lap of Luxembourg

Trip Start Mar 04, 2008
Trip End Oct 06, 2008

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Flag of Luxembourg  , Luxembourg,
Saturday, August 2, 2008

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Sinuous doesn't begin to describe the Mosel River. Ridiculous, really, but ridiculously beautiful as well. The valley is blanketed in vineyards. Impossibly steep shale cliff faces sprout row after row of grape vines. Crops are transported via cable strung buckets down to the roadside. There's no chance you're getting any vehicle up there. An unbelievable sight.

The valley goes on for about 200 km or so from Koblenz before you can depart from the river and head off towards Luxembourg (lest you continue into France, heaven forbid). My first night on the Mosel I fluked upon an wonderful camping spot right on the river, complete with homemade shale bench and fire ring. There was even a tent spot cleared out of the bushes. As the sun set, i lit a fire, went for a couple of swims to rinse off the day's grime and watched on as the passenger boats putted by (invasively close, in fact, as the Mosel is a much more intimate river than the Rhine).

The next morning I had an unprecedentedly early start. Up with the sun and on the road by 7:30. While the riding on the Mosel is very beautful, the vineyards, bends and curves do get repetative. Before I knew it I had laid down 150 km of rubber and was nearing the Luxembourg border. I shopped for dinner, contemplated spending one last night in Germany, then pushed on to cross the border. As luck would have it, camping in Luxembourg just ain't that great. There aren't as many wild places as there are in Germany. After a long, weary search I wound up in a branchy thicket adjacent to a small grazing ground on the leeside of some big factory. Not cool. But it was late, dark, and I was beat having clocked a personal best of 168 km.

The next morning I had an easy cruise into Luxembourg City. I set up in a hostel and took my bike out on the town...all over the town. Put more k's down around Luxembourg proper than I did in getting there that day. Noticing the street signs are sometimes in French, sometimes in German, I inquired with a local as to why this was so. He informed me curtly that this was not so. The signs are in "Luxembourg", a language unto itself. Excuse me, I said, but they sure looked like French and German. Are you sure this "Luxembourg" language you speak of isn't just a desperate attempt to establish uniqueness and affirm your sovereignty? Of course not, he replied, and gave a very convincing arguement to the contrary: "I speak Luxembourg in the city of Luxembourg, in the region of Luxembourg of Luxembourg country. If we were trying to be unique, I think we could have tried harder."

Case and point.
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