Luxembourg and Metz

First impression of Luxembourg (or Lëtzebuerg in Luxembourgish), it has a very nice train station:

Luxembourg train station
Luxembourg train station

This photo was taken while waiting for a bus to my friend’s house to drop our stuff off. Afterwards we came back into town, found the Christmas market (which was still on for some reason) and had some Glühwein. Then we went for a walk and attempted to take photos of Luxembourg by night, such as this one:

Hmm...
Hmm…

As you can see, my camera is not made for taking photos in the dark!

The next day, we took a trip to Metz, which sounds German but is actually in France. It probably was German at one point though. Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region of France and home to the University of Lorraine.

The sun was shining when we arrived, and I was actually able to get some photos of the Cathedral with blue sky behind it:

The name of the cathedral, Saint Étienne de Metz, means Saint Stephen of Metz. Who knew? I would certainly never have guessed that Étienne is French for Stephen!

Inside the cathedral were many stained glass windows, as Catholic churches tend to have:

A stained glass window inside Saint Étienne de Metz Cathedral
A stained glass window inside Saint Étienne de Metz Cathedral

Here is the St Marcel bridge. This would have made a much prettier picture in summer!

St Marcel bridge, Metz
St Marcel bridge, Metz

Metz is 49° North, as this tower so kindly informed me:

Metz - 49°N
Metz – 49°N

There is a bridge castle in Metz called the German’s gate (Porte des Allemands) and being there with two Germans I obviously wanted to find it. Here it is:

Porte des Allemands, Metz
Porte des Allemands, Metz

The street you can see through the gate is the Rue des Allemands. Naturally – because what else would you call a road leading to the gate of Allemands?

The next day, New Year’s Eve, we headed up to the Kirchberg area of Luxembourg, which is where many of the EU buildings are located. From there, you can look down on Luxembourg City:

Luxembourg viewed from the Kirchberg
Luxembourg viewed from the Kirchberg

No, I don’t have a clue what any of the stuff down there is…
On the Kirchberg, there is also a reconstructed fort: Fort Thüngen. There’s a museum inside, which is pretty interesting. We got in for free, but we’re not sure whether that was because it was New Year’s Eve and half an hour before closing time or it’s always free. Interesting nonetheless, and there are old maps of Luxembourg in there. We spent a while checking each one to see whether we could find the area of Luxembourg that my friend lives in.

Fort Thüngen
Fort Thüngen

At midnight we obviously wanted to see the New Year’s fireworks, so we went and stood on a bridge.

FireworksFrom there we could see the fireworks going off all over the place, some more professional than others. These ones seemed slightly more professional (although there was no “official” fireworks display from the town – apparantly they did one when the prince got married earlier in the year and one official fireworks display is enough!).

Luxembourg fireworks
Luxembourg fireworks

On New Year’s Day we slept late, had a long drawn out breakfast (or “brunch”) then spent the rest of the day watching TV and playing board games.

We weren’t leaving ’til around 4pm on the 2 January, so we dropped our luggage off at the train station and went to take a look at Luxembourg in daylight – or what passes for daylight in the middle of winter. The sky was rather grey…

“Daylight” in Luxembourg

We decided to go for a walk in the giant gorge that basically splits Luxembourg city in two. It’s incredibly quiet down there, away from all the traffic that thunders along the bridges that span the gorge, and you get to walk along pretty paths and down steps that look like this:

In the Luxembourg gorge
In the Luxembourg gorge

The walls of the gorge are made up of sandstone cliffs, like this:

Sandstone cliff
Sandstone cliff

And there is also a really cool church/chapel thing built into the cliff:

Church in a cliff, Luxembourg
Church in a cliff, Luxembourg

We then walked into the aptly-named Grund quarter of Luxembourg, which is located down in the valley below the main centre of Luxembourg city on the banks of the Alzette River.

River Alzette, Grund, Luxembourg City
River Alzette, Grund, Luxembourg City

I found this yellow cow outside a museum and couldn’t resist taking a photo of it:

Moo!
Moo!

After our walk around Grund (very pretty by the way – but go in summer when you might have a chance of blue skies!), we took the lift up through the cliffs back to the main part of town where we went for a late lunch before heading back to the train station.

A spot of lunch at Cafe Konrad
A spot of lunch at Cafe Konrad

And that was how I started 2013. I hope the new year began just as well for you!

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