In late May 2012 I travelled to Luxembourg which is bordered by Belgium, Germany and France. What a beautiful and friendly little country it is.
Luxembourg City (founded 963) is surrounded by massive walls and fortifications that once protected the city (the location of the city has always been of strategic importance) and it is very picturesque as it is built on multiple levels with a lower and upper city within and outside the fortress walls. It is very green with lots of trees.
You can wander past the Grand Ducal Palace of the Grand Duke (currently Henri who assumed the throne in 2000) and take in the sights of the rest of the old city at a leisurely pace (think high-end stores).
While I was there the city was hosting a free American Music festival which had a large crowd and was a great way to spend an early summers evening with a beer and a sausage in bread.
I had the opportunity to travel not only to Luxembourg City but also a number of other places around the country including Diekirch, Ettelbruck, Wiltz and Troisvierges. Diekirch to the North of Luxembourg City is a nice looking town. I went there to visit the National Museum of Military History that has a great collection specifically focused on the Battle of the Bulge that took place in the Winter of 1944/45 and then the later conduct of the military of Luxembourg in peacekeeping and other duties.
Nearby is the town of Ettelbruck that has a great memorial to General George S. Patton (1885 – 1945). There is also a museum dedicated to Patton in Ettelbruck but I did not have time to visit it on this trip.
General Patton was instrumental as the commander of the US Third Army in the battles involved in the final defeat of Germany in World War Two including the Battle of the Bulge around Luxembourg. Although he died in Germany in 1945 from a head injury suffered in a relatively minor car accident (not the way a fighting man wanted to go) he is buried in the American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg City where he wanted to be buried with his men.
On my way to Bastogne in Belgium I briefly stopped in Wiltz to take a look at the town and old buildings. Also very picturesque. After a day in Belgium I returned to Luxembourg and stayed in the northern town of Troisvierges at a nice little hotel restaurant just outside of town and enjoyed wandering around the quiet streets.
Troisvierges translates to “The Three Virgins” – apparently the town was originally part of an ancient cult dedicated to worshipping these virgins! It is also the town where German soldiers first started their Western Front offensive in World War One in 1914. Luxembourg was occupied for 4 years following this event.
The countryside around Luxembourg ranges from forest to rich and very green farmland. The small back roads provide a great way to take in the special beauty of a country that I think most tourists never get to see as it is overshadowed by its much larger neighbours. If you get the chance I thoroughly recommend taking at least a day trip outside of Luxembourg City to see what else the Grand Duchy has to offer.