While I wish that I was posting about the adventure that I was supposed to be having in Switzerland at this moment, the pandemic has made that an impossible dream. But, we decided that there were still a few things that were 1). allowed by various countries as far as travel and quarantine restrictions go and 2). safe enough for us to get a small getaway in. With that in mind, we headed to Luxembourg City this past Friday and then to a campground in Malmedy, Belgium for a little hiking for the rest of the weekend, and thus, after months without, I am finally able to post something about our travels in Europe again!
During our couple of hours in Luxembourg, we walked around the upper level or old town of the city and the lower level referred to as the Grund. Many people in Luxembourg were wearing masks, unlike in The Netherlands, and masks were required to go into the cathedral there. The cathedral was the only building we were planning to go in, but as we did not have any masks with us, we were unable to. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable walk around the city.
The old town and The Grund are very compact areas so we could easily and quickly see many things. We saw the cathedral, the Place d’arms, Place Guillame II, and the Passarelle Viaduc.
We walked to Place de Constitution and the Palais Grand-Ducal where we watched the guards marching out front before making our way to the Casemates du Bock.
There are tunnels under the casemates that were used in WWII but the casemates themselves were closed so they were not accessible. We did, however, enjoy some great views from the casemates and a nice walk down the Chemin du Corniche on our way to The Grund.
While in that lower level of the city, we had a short picnic lunch and walked along some gardens and orchards before heading back up to the old town.
On our way out of the city, we stopped at the American Cemetery of Luxembourg where General Patton is buried.
After arriving at our campground and setting up our tent, we took a short walk about the mountain trail that was accessible from the grounds. There were some nice panoramic views of the area.
On Saturday and Sunday, we hiked about 25 miles worth of trail both near Malmedy and near Spa. Worth mentioning, between our campground and the trails, was a small town with some cute little churches and this beautiful gazebo in the center roundabout.
Our hike on Saturday morning included trail along the river which looked almost like blood because of the red mineral running out of the earth, through a pine forest and some open meadows.
Our afternoon hike began from our campground so we decided to have an outdoor lunch at the campground restaurant which featured 44 Belgian beers. We tried a couple of different ones including one that is brewed by the campground itself.
The afternoon trail was bit tough as it had a lot of uphill sections and sections that were a little overgrown and required sure footing to pick your way over all of the rocks. Nonetheless, we made it through and were rewarded with views of the forest, pastureland, a small castle or manor estate and the largest waterfall in Belgium. We even walked through a deforested area and a rock quarry before ending up hiking along the river where we saw the backside of a deer retreating into the forest.
Finally, on Sunday morning, we did our final trail which required that we climb along the riverbed crossing it many times over bridges or shallow areas and even walking in a very narrow path along the side of the hills running along the river. The path also crossed through several forested areas and passed homes on large pastures before ending up running along a larger, fast-moving river.
All in all, it wasn’t the trip we had planned on taking but it was fun (and tiring) and it felt good (and safe) to finally get out away from home.