Luxembourg – the city that is definitely worth of visit. I liked the city during my last visit so much that I decided to take the opportunity and participate on the event organized by Action Satisfaction Group. The bus took international students from few Belgian cities to Luxembourg for a very affordable price. However until we reached the destination we stopped twice – in Atomium and in the small town Dinant. To fill such a rich program into one day made it necessary to wake up really early. Regarding the party the night before, it was not so easy to get out of the bus when we reached Atomium.
Huge molecule as a symbol of Brussels
Fresh air and the big monument woke us up immediately when we stood up. This symbol of Brussels is pretty far from the city centre and that is the reason why many tourists visiting Brussels skip its visit. This was also my case last time I was in Brussels and therefore I am happy that I had the chance to see it during this trip! After seeing this 165 milliard times enlarged molecule of iron crystal we moved back to the bus heading to the small town in the south of the Belgium, Dinant.
How we climbed the cliff in Dinant
I was surprised even before we reached it. The land around was a bit different than the rest of the Belgium. We were driving through a forest in the small hills. Even though the hills were not really so high, it was kind of rarity to see them in flat Belgium. And when we arrived to Dinant I completely understood why our guide chose to stop in this town instead of driving immediately to Luxembourg. It was lying on the tiny river creating valley in between two cliffs. And those cliffs were truly impressive!
We stopped right in the hearth of the Dinant next to the old looking church from where the narrow stairs lead to the top of the cliff with the Citadele on the top. Wow! We first visited church, which was looking even bigger from inside and afterwards we climbed the hill to the Citadele. We had two options – cable cabin or stairs. We were tired and had limited time, so guess what we chose. Of course the stairs! Surprised? I think it simply had much more value to use the stairs. We had the chance to try ourselves the only option how people in the past could get to the top to reach a Citadele. Moreover you appreciate more things into which you have to put effort. And I am not even talking about that awesome view we were enjoying while climbing. In the top we could explore the Citadele from inside, the exhibition showed us the frightening past of this small town which was completely destroyed during the First World War. From the cliff terrace we could see a lot of saxophones. Why? Because this cute town is proud birthplace of Mr. Sax, inventor of the saxophone.
Our last 20 minutes before the bus departure we spend in a local bakery buying a local specialty. Cookie of Dinant! Excited to try how it tastes I get to the problem very fast. I almost broke my tooth in the effort to bite a bit of it! This cookie is very hard and therefore difficult to eat. Well, but at least I gave it a try.
“The town of bridges” or “the Gibraltar of the north” – the reason why Luxembourg received these nicknames was obvious from the beginning as we entered it. The city is built as a fortress with huge fortification walls surrounded by valleys making it necessary to build many bridges and viaducts to connect the centre with the other parts.
Concerning that the Luxembourg is the capital, it seems very small. Even though I guess I would be possible to walk from one side of the city centre to the other in 20 minutes, our guided tour took more than 3 hours. But how interesting it was! I, as a tourist guide, am always kind of sceptic about guided tours. However our guide in Luxembourg was really good! It was so obvious that our guide loves his job. He took us through the upper town and showed us main objects in the city as Clairfontaine´s square with the statue of popular Grand Duchess Charlotte who was supporting Luxembourgians during the tough war times, Notre-Dame cathedral, city hall, Grand-Dukes palace protected with uniformed guardians and the most beautiful balcony of the Europe – the terrace created from the former fortification walls.
From up there we came down to the valley. The atmosphere there was completely different. We were no longer in the city, we were in the picturesque village under the big cliffs of the city. We walked alongside the small river, in the former fortification objects, around the old cloister until we “got lost” in the romantic streets lined by the tiny houses.
The tour was really great but after it finished we needed to find some place to warm up – outside it was really cold. Why not to try a chocolate coffee right in front of the main attraction of Luxembourg – Grand-Dukes palace. Well seems, that we were not the only ones with such a great area because the place was full – at least we thought so. When we asked the waiter if they have a free table, she said: ”Yes, of course, there is a place for two.” And she pointed towards the table where already 4 other people were sitting. I don’t know how it works in your countries, but in Slovakia I would be rude to sit down to the table with the other unknown people. I even apologized them and explained that waiter send us to sit there but they didn’t seem to pay much attention. Later I realized that those 4 people were not even together, they were like us, just in pairs. Probably it is a typical practise in that coffee. New lesson learned! However the chocolate we received was great, I really enjoyed my Tiramisu flavoured one.
The last 2 hours of our time we spend walking in the city, especially in the parts we didn’t discover with the tourist guide. From the other side of the “city terrace” we could see the district located on the close hill which is the home for some important European institutions as well as the oldest part of the city, the so called Le Bock, where graf Siegfried build its old castle. Watching the sunset over the hills on our way to the bus was the great finish of this nice day.