Luxembourg of June 2004, Log 01

     
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• Luxembourg Log 01

We leave Brussels at about 1pm and arrive here in Luxembourg at 5pm. We rushed like crazy to see one of the protected heritage sites found here in this country (A country we thought was really small!) It's in the middle of Belgium, France and Germany! The tourism site is here.

Founded in 963, Luxembourg became a grand duchy in 1815 and an independent state under the Netherlands. It lost more than half of its territory to Belgium in 1839, but gained a larger measure of autonomy. Full independence was attained in 1867. Overrun by Germany in both World Wars, it ended its neutrality in 1948 when it entered into the Benelux Customs Union and when it joined NATO the following year. In 1957, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the European Union), and in 1999 it joined the euro currency area.

     
 

Arriving late we rushed down the streets from where we parked and headed for the old quarters and fortifications - the Casemates. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was designated in 1994.

It dates back to 963. In that year, Count Siegfried came in possession of the strategic rock. He built a castle there, which could be defended easily because of the Alzette Valley that surrounded it for the largest part.

     
 

The successors of Siegfried did not succeed in keeping hold of the rock, though they built large walls to defend themselves. Until the 19th century several European powers overtook control. Among them were the Burgundians, the Spanish, the French, the Austrians and the Germans. Every single group fortified the place even more, until it was known as the Gibraltar of the North. Underground a phenomenal network of casemates, 23 kilometers in total, was constructed. This was meant as a hiding place for the soldiers in times of war.

     
 

Em was really good. She pleaded as a fluent genuine sincere and feisty young lady who was insistant that despite the counter lady's intention to close the ticketing booth, got her to say yes and we bought our tickets! The condition? That we come out within 30 minutes as the electrical gates would close automatically. And in we went. You can see the town here it was built to protect and well, long passages that reeked of urine. Dingy and somewhat poorly lit, there were even areas that went vertically down to no man's land! There was even praying chambers in here!

     
 

When we were done, we started walking the shopping streets. Nothing fantastic actually and we were walking by at about 6pm and it felt like 3pm in the afternoon!

Em's an angel to have driven us here and Amsterdam too! We pose for pictures against the backdrop of the EU flags and you can see from the pictures from an unknown abbey of Gothic origins. Mostly Catholics here and I hear there are alot of castles here!

     
 

There's MacDonald's here too and as a key place of visit; we had to go in - to visit the toilet! Yes! I was tempted on a milk shake but Em suggested we try the French Quick Hamburger Restaurant place which was couple of shops down and we did!

Good stuff! Focaccia bread with sun dried tomatoes or the other one we tried with the pesto, basil and ham if I recall correctly and I still got my milk shake! You really need to try what the locals eat when you're there boy!

     
 

We were walking round and sat around the fountain. By then it was about 7pm and it doesn't really look that dark eh?

Jen was sitting by the pool and cajoling the kid next to her and he was eating this bun and one thing we observed is the level of comfort adults leave their kids to their own devices! They are in a world of their own and able to explore all the surroundings. And what did this kid do? He dropped his bun onto the floor, picked it up and started to eat it. He dropped it into the pool, the Dad saw it, took it and returned it to him and he was still happily eating away!

Can I also just say that this is the first instance where we start seeing the men bringing the kids out. What are the women doing?? :p

     
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