Categorized | Living, People, Travel, Travelogue

Adventures Abroad! The Lure of Luxembourg

Wayne resident, St. Mary’s Presbyterian church member and Main Line college student Missy Pearson has agreed to take abroad for not one, but two semesters! Missy will be sending us her travel adventures and pictures as the Loyola University (MD) junior participates in her university’s oldest study abroad program at Katholieke Universitat in Leuven, Belgium. Pearson and her classmates are experiencing the beautiful countries and cultures of Europe for this entire school year. Missy reports she is busy studying diligently with her international classmates in the recently remodeled Loyola University student house. Thanks Missy for taking the time to share the experience of a lifetime! Dank u wel!

Count Siegfried’s Bock Casements

Count Siegfried’s Bock Casements

Despite being a history major, I must admit before coming to Europe last month, I knew very little about the small country of Luxembourg. Once part of Charlemagne’s empire, Luxembourg is a very wealthy European country. To give you an idea of its scale, its about half the size of Delaware with a population around half a million. After spending a long weekend in the Grand Duchy not only did I learn loads about this great gem, I was also tremendously impressed with everything I saw. Luxembourg City is located in the southern part of the small nation and is only a three hour train ride from Brussels. After a slight mishap of not having my confirmation number and missing my train and having to purchase another ticket to Luxembourg (luckily my friend, Dan, also forgot his so I wasn’t alone) I arrived in the small yet gorgeous capital city.

I have to give serious credit to the Tourism Office conveniently located in the train station, for 45 euro we were able to purchase a “Go Pass” which gave us access to all public transportation and every museum and tourist spot we visited (winery included!!). We used our Go Pass to reach our hostel which was immaculate! It was myfirst experience staying at a hostel but I have heard stories and I can tell this place was top-notch. We had our own room for the five of us with our own bathroom and shower, a yummy breakfast was served every morning as well lunch and dinner offered in the cafeteria and the view was gorgeous! We spent Friday exploring the Bock Casements which are a series of caves and tunnels built into the ancient fortress of the city originally built by Count Siegfried. These casements have been used in the past as everything from housing for armies and citizens to being used as a slaughterhouse. Walking inside the rocks offer some of the most panoramic views of the Grand Duchy. We really lucked out as well because the weather was gorgeous on Friday so it was perfect for exploring the Casements and the city as well.

Afterwards, we walked to the Musee d’Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg. Located close to the Palais Ducal, I learned all about the construction of the city beginning over 1,000 years ago and its involvement in European history. While Friday was a perfect day for exploring the city and learning about Luxembourg, Saturday was by far my favorite day. We woke up early and went back to the train station to visit Vianden, about an hour north of the city). Vianden is most famous for the castle that sits up high in the hills and has been perfectly restored in the past thirty years. Vianden also prides itself on being home to Victor Hugo during his exile from France.

View from the Bar<br>Vianden, Luxembourg

View from the Bar
Vianden, Luxembourg

We were dropped off in the center of town along the river that flows through only to have to turn around and crane our necks upwards to see the castle that we would have to hike to. The walk through town and up towards the castle turned out to not be so bad (ormaybe it was just welcomed after all the baguettes I had been eating) and the higher we climbed the more spectacular the view became. The restoration that has been done to the castle is incredible and was well worth the walk. We enjoyed our time out in the sun but we also had big plans for the afternoon so we were eager to walk back down. Besides itsfamous castle, Vianden can also claim to be home to the only chairlift in Luxembourg. Thank goodness for our ‘Go Pass’ because we were able to get right on the chairlift after showing our card. My friend, Meggie, and I rode up together and after initially freaking out because it was so steep we quickly became absorbed in the beautiful scenery thatsurrounded us. If the view from the castle was amazing, than this view was indescribable!Being the frugal travelers that we are, we had brought our own lunch which we enjoyed from the top of the mountain. But, the bar located at the top proved to be irresistible. Now realize I am in Belgium, home to many bars. I am studying in Leuven which is famous to being home to the largest strip of bars in the entire world, the OudeMarkt. Yet, this bar takes the cake—seriously!! The views, the sun…we were in heaven!

Winery in Remich

Winery in Remich

We spent our last day in the wine-region of Luxembourg in a town called Remich. It was a relaxing last day as we walked along the Moselle, shopped at a flea market and visited St. Martins (a winery which still uses the traditional practice of hand-turning the bottles). St. Martins is made up of a series of underground tunnels in which the sparkling wine is produced. While having some previous knowledge about wine production would have been helpful, it was still interesting and the glass we sampled at the end was delicious.

This trip was a great first experience as far as planning trips goes. It was simple enough to reach and now we all feel more comfortable traveling on our own. I learned the importance of always knowing your train confirmation number so that you don’t get stranded at the station. If I didn’t have the luxury of a year here in Europe, I’m not so sure if I would have ever visited Luxembourg but I am so glad I did!

Classes have started here in Leuven and we are sure keeping busy. I had to wake up early this morning to continue the registration process of becoming a resident at the City Hall and I have reading to do for my class tonight (Institutions and Policy of the E.U). Also, visitors are already coming to Leuven! This past weekend two of my good friends from Loyola who are spending the semester in Spain spent the night at the huis and on Thursday we have three more girls coming from the Loyolaprogram in Paris. I can’t wait to see them all–hope all is well back home on the Main Line! Miss you Mom and Dad!


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Michael Clancy Says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading your first three reports from Europe. As a history major, you are well situated for weekend trips to Compiègne, Bastogne and Maastrich. And, if you get a little more time, maybe you could find cheap airfare to Malta or Rhodes. I look forward to the next report.

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