Friday, November 14, 2014

Things We Learned About Luxembourg

We recently went to Luxembourg for a weekend.  It's a short drive from Frankfurt, and we found a cheap hotel near to downtown on   Before going to Luxembourg, we really knew nothing about it.  Here are some interesting things we learned....

1.  Luxembourg City has a ravine - making it a city with a lot of natural beauty.
The biggest surprise I had about Luxembourg was how beautiful it is!  I expected it to be pretty, safe, and interesting, but I did not realize that it is basically built around and within a ravine.  There are many trails, parks, and bridges which are spectacular.  It's a great city to explore on foot.

2.  The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus is an easy way to get to know the city.
We explored the downtown and historic areas of Luxembourg City on foot, but enjoyed the double decker hop-on hop-off bus tour to get a sense of the city as a whole, and the immense amount of banking and industry.  Luxembourg is a really wealthy place!

3.  Luxembourg has a Grand Duke!
Luxembourg is the last "grand duchy" in the world.  The historic center of Luxembourg has a small castle, with a patrolling guard (with a gun).  This was super interesting to our kids.  If you go, we highly recommend getting hot chocolate at the "Chocolate House", the chocolate, tea and coffee shop across from the guard.

4.  Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANT, you have to go see the US and German World War II Cemeteries.
The Luxembourg American Cemetery contains remains from about 5,000 American soldiers who gave their lives fighting the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.  It is a short drive from Luxembourg City and an absolute must-see.  It is immaculately maintained (the grass looks like a golf course) and a very peaceful and somber place.  Our children were awed by the sacrifice these brave souls made.  It is also worth noting that General Patton is buried there.

A few minutes away from the American Cemetery is the Sandweiler German Cemetery, which contains the remains of over 10,000 German soldiers from the same battles.  It is, as would be expected, significantly less-well maintained (with wildflowers and some weeds growing around the gravestones).  To see the two cemeteries juxtaposed is a poignant reminder of the tragic loss of life on both sides in any military battle.

5.  Luxembourg is a great weekend destination!
We had fun exploring the city, providing us, and the children, with a moment to remember the fallen during World War II, and learned quite a lot.  Luxembourg is worth a visit!


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