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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

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Luxembourg was just what I needed after a pretty miserable week, what a fantastic place!  I’ve now had the opportunity to ride some of the best cycling networks in the world, but (so far) Luxembourg is head and shoulders above them all. The cycling infrastructure is a joy to behold, not just the cycling lanes (which are absolutely everywhere) but the actual surfaces, including the roads are top notch.

Entry to the city with cycle lane on the right, Luxembourg

It’s pretty obvious that having two real Tour de France contenders has impacted on the country, because cycling is so prominently promoted and supported. These bike stations were all over the country, not just in the city. You simply pay at the meter, then ride and drop off at another station.

Rows of bikes outside Luxembourg

And if you’re worried about your fitness not being up to cycling those hills, well these bikes come with electric motors which you can turn on to help you. I passed a few and joked that they were ‘wusses’.

Hi-tech bikes with electric motor if you need it!

There is a lot to see, but my first call was at the famous cathedral where I waited patiently for the coaches and tourists to move away from the front. I wanted to go inside, but sadly it wasn’t open.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg

However I did find this rather nice water fountain on the right hand side of the Cathedral:

Water feature, Notre Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg

Just across the road was a rather striking memorial, the ‘Monument du Souvenir’ or ‘Gëlle Fra’ which commemorates the Luxembourgish volunteers who fought alongside the French and Belgians during the first world war. It was pulled down by the Nazi occupiers in 1940 and not reconstructed until the 1950’s, where it now also commemorates those fallen in the Second World War.

Gëlle Fra (Luxembourgish for ‘Golden Lady’) statue, Luxembourg

The raised pedestal is adorned by a bronze sculpture representing a man mourning a fallen soldier.

The fallen soldier, Gëlle Fra memorial, Luxembourg

The city center was a real pleasure to wander around. That statement in itself should tell you how much I enjoyed it, because ‘I don’t do’ crowds. Luxembourg is different though, the open plan spaces and cycling ways let you get up close without having to park your bike up somewhere, you’re allowed everywhere!

City center cafe’s, Luxembourg

The main square was surrounded on three sides by cafe’s and restaurants, the choice of different foods and cultures was amazing.

Main square, Luxembourg center.

On the fourth side is what I think is the town hall:

Town Hall, Luxembourg

The architecture around Luxembourg is world famous and you can see why. It is a great place to visit with so much to see and I feel I barely scratched the surface. Had I had company there is no doubt I would have bought a guide to the city.

Stunning architecture is everywhere around in Luxembourg

Luxembourg city.

Looking down into the valley, Luxembourg city.

It’s amazing what a difference sunshine makes. I was able to do my washing and finally dry out my wet kit. The forecast for the next week is promising as I head south towards Germany. I’ll follow the Mosel river to Strasbourg, calling at Metz to see if I can get some kit from Decathlon. Looking at the route it appears I can travel to 3 countries in a couple of minutes – I’ll let you know if that works out in my next post! 🙂

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 8:49 am

great to ‘sense’ the joy in your words, Derek, you talk about a wet week before arriving in Luxembourd, was that through the Ardennes? When I’m there, for me it always feels as if something terrible has happened there, it is scarred. Beautiful and lush, but scarred, by the ‘great’ war, I suppose? keep up the good spirit, I’ll be pedalling and jogging in Sardinia next week

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Sam, It rained as I entered Belgium and made my way to Ypres. From there I headed south to Luxembourg and was followed by the rain. Thankfully it brightened up the day I actually visited the city and it’s now getting warmer – yippeee….

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 8:54 am

Glad it is picking up! In a couple of weeks you will be too hot!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 10:00 am

Very glad the weather has picked up, hopefully you’ll have plenty of sunshine to make up for the appalling conditions you’ve been through.

Schengen (after which the agreement for passport controls was named) is the place to head for to visit three countries in three minutes!

Depending how far south in Germany you are planning to go, I love Freiburg and especially Titisee. I first camped at when I was about 12 and have visited many times since.

Another interesting route in Germany is which goes through many medieval walled towns. See link for “Cyclists can follow the green signs of the Romantic Road Long Distance Cycle Route over the 440 km from Würzburg to Füssen. Under the number D9, this route is also part of the German Bicycle Club (ADFC) network of cycle routes.”

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    @ Julian, hope you are right!

    @ Tim, Frieburg is the way I’m going (via Strasbourg) and yes I’ll call in at Titisee as it looks beautiful. I’m hoping to pick up a copy of the German Bicycle Club routes once I hit Germany, as so far I’ve not seen one but been told also by others how good they are. I’ll check out your link too, thanks.

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