european trip – part 3 …

We had loved our stay over in Simonswald and set off for Vianden in Luxembourg after a relaxed and decent breakfast. If we had drove there direct we could have been there in about three and a half hours – but taking the fastest roads are seldom the best roads … so we started with a look at a map with a decent amount of low level detail, looked for a pretty twisty bit of road and set of for a place called Bad Petersall .. and the route didn’t disappoint as we later joined the B500 and went towards Baden Baden.

In fact we had only been going about 30 minutes or so when we felt compelled to stop and wander around a glorious small town (whose name escapes me) but was typical of so many of the small towns in this part of Germany – timbered houses and shops, wonderfully clean and tidy and all of this as we basked in the hot morning sun.  In fact there were any number of towns that would have been a joy to stop and stroll around and we did stop in a few other places along the way before arriving at the Hotel Belle Vue in Vianden (Luxembourg).

After checking in and dropping our bags we went for a stroll, I has asked for a room with a view of the castle and we were not dissapointed.  The castle/chateau is superb and has a fine history, in fact it the biggest tourist attraction in Luxembourg but even so still attracts just 150,000 visitors a year which maybe says something about Luxembourg as a destination.  I’ve traveled and stayed in a few parts of Luxembourg a half dozen times or so in recent years and have never been dissapointed.  As an aside and as a stroke of luck – the fuel warning light came on the car just as we were in sight of our hotel, which was a real bonus when it came to filling up with diesel being only around £00.70p a litre it made for a worthwhile saving on an almost 70L fill.

On the Thursday we took the chair lift after breakfast which although only relatively short did rise to about 450m and provided some great views over the pretty town. From there we walked to the castle and thoroughly enjoyed our wander around it – it was restored by the State (in the late 70’s I think) and it most impressive.

In the afternoon we made the 50 minute drive into Luxembourg City – which is well worth a visit if you have never been, although on this occasion we had gone there for something specific and didn’t really do the tourist thing as we had spent three or four days there a couple of years ago.

Back at the hotel we took advantage of a very decent (and empty) pool at the hotel before having something to eat.

Friday was the last full day of our trip and after breakfats we headed for Ghent in Belgium and an overnight stay at the Hotel Carlton it wasn’t a long way to drive and meant that we had most of the afternoon and evening in there.

We had never been to Ghent before – but its a lovely place, sort of like Bruges in a way – incredibly pretty, wonderful historic centre and with a pretty vibrant feel to it.  Our stay there was only short and although we walked for miles and saw a good bit of it, it really is the sort of place that would merit a few days there to take it all in.

Saturday saw us head for Dunkirk and it was an easy drive to the channel port (about 70 miles or so).  Our crossing home was smooth and peaceful and I must say neither of us were looking forward to the drive home from Dover and what always seems like an inevitable slog across the M25 and then north via the M6 BUT I dint know why it was the case but we had a very easy journey home – we were off boat about 3.30pm and home for a little after 8.00pm having done the best part of 300 miles with a couple of short stops in that time.  Not much traffic and the only delays being a short stretch of about three miles on the M25 where the speed was down to 60mph and then some 50mph stretches through roadworks on the M6 – what a surprising and easy journey it turned out to be.

All in all then we had a great trip, saw some wonderful sights and in truth the pictures and these few words don’t really come close to capturing it … but we’re already thinking of our next trip and although we haven’t come to any decisions we may well take in some more of Italy. If you have not already read my previous Blog posts on this trip you can do so at Part 1 and Part 2.

Pictures are posted below and are in three separate sets, Travel in Germany, Vianden (Luxembourg) and then mainly in Ghent. Clicking on the first picture in each set will open a scrollable gallery.

Travel in Germany

Vianden (Luxembourg)

Mainly in Ghent