Deluxembourg 2 - Moselle magic

Trip Start Jun 29, 2005
Trip End Nov 30, 2009

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

By Sunday morning a wintry sunshine was absolutely streaming across Luxembourg, and more specifically in through the bedroom window, which was making for a very promising birthday-day indeed. Fortunately a little lie-in was on the cards which was nice, because we'd be on the run for two full days and hey - I'm not as spritely as I used to be now I'm a ripe ol' 33!

The sugar-coated and candle-topped birthday 'Berliners' (otherwise known as jam donuts) for breakfast increased the energy levels however and not long after we were sugar-rushing our way to the fatherland. There are benefits to living in a tiny country perched precariously between European powers at the centre of the continent and within the hour we had crossed the Moselle River (pron. Moseller by locals in the know) and parked up in the weiner shnitzel-diggin' town of Trier, on Germany's side of the border.

What a cute and interesting little place this turned out to be. The early 17th century architecture was shattered by WW2 apparently and even the reconstructed stuff has had to be rejuvenated significantly in the last decade, but I was quite pleased with the results - hundreds of meters of ornate and distinct facades lining the streets and shining in the chill (4C) sunlight.

However the main reason we'd come to Trier was for the Roman history. The city was actually the capital of Belgica, a Roman province first subdued by our old mate Julius Caesar, and some significant sights remain even though it was a difficult asset to manage at the time and the tides of European conflict have washed over it remorselessly since then.

The Porta Nigra is the most recognisable site remaining, its black stone weathered to such a distinctive colour over the ages. Surprising I haven't really come across that in all of the other ruins I've seen recently, although not many of those are exposed to this type of climate. Anyway, I'd have to say that the massively overbearing Constantine Basilica was probably the most impressive - a gargantuan structure composed of thousands of tiny red bricks (yep, the type the Romans did so well) which is still standing complete and in use by some church or another, to this very day.

There were other weird and wonderful sights around the place, mainly religious or palatial in nature. And before you think I'd forgotten the ubiquitous Roman baths - essential to any self-respecting ruined Roman capital - the Imperial Thermal was the last port'a call on our whistlestop tour.

For there were other important things to attend to - like drinking Moselle region wine. We cruised south and maybe a little west, snaking our way along the riverbank a darn sight faster than the giant coal barges we saw chugging along it as well. However the only element of bad timing this weekend soon became evident, when one after another of the wineries along the shoreline ended up being closed, despite being such a beautiful tippling day. The reason? German 'Fasching' - their equivalent of Carnivale.

According to Max and Romaine, our Luxembourgish guides, this weekend would be the only time all year the Germans could let their hair down, so most of the inhabitants in this particular area would be nursing serious hangovers by Sunday lunchtime. Oh well, after heading up the steep vine-covered slopes to admire the valley views we did eventually find a river side bar that could serve a good glass, ensuring at least a liquid lunch.

The locals of Remich on the Luxmbourg side of the river were out in their thousands enjoying one of the best days of the new year so far. Unfortunately we had to abflug not long after, so with profuse thanks we bade Romaine farewell, loaded up with culinary goodies that we'll savour for weeks. Now that's the type of birthday you want to have every year - even if you need a holiday once you get home! Cheers all!

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technotrekker on

Re: Welcome to Luxembourg
Thank you Madame P - I look forward to checking out your Grandest of Duchies!

condenastgirl on

Hi! I am new to this but the website looks quite interesting. Happy BDay! I am based in Los Angeles and returned from Thailand in December. I am on an amazing journey. I have traveled 35 countries to date.

technotrekker on

Re: Re: You haven't left yet, have you?
Sorry for the confusion Madame P but it was a bit of a whirlwind so not surprising the entries ended up being too. Unfortunately couldn't stay longer but them's the breaks when you have to work for a living. Oh well :)

Keep trekkin'

darinisha woodard on

wow this country is amazing i wish i could be there it is so huge and very beautiful

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