I have just spent three days in Esch sur Sure in Luxembourg’s Ardenne. It is a very picturesque commune with a castle ruin. It only became a tourist town since the second World War and it’s main claim to fame was that it was the second smallest commune in Luxembourg. Otherwise it just relies on its’ charm.
Just five minutes up the A12 from here is a monument to the fallen during the Battle of the Bulge. This was the Nazi’s last serious attempt to break through the Allies lines and had it been successful could have created a stalemate and possible opportunity for a negotiated settlement. Unfortunately for them they chose an area under the control of a very determined American force rapidly joined by General Pattons’ armoured divisions and they weren’t for turning. There are a number of trails through the forest with all weather displays, including foxholes, command posts and many lifesize figures of soldiers from both armies.
The day after visiting this I took a free public service bus into Ettelbruck. I was informed proudly by the bus driver that all public transport in Luxembourg is free at the point of use. All paid for from taxation, so I thanked the driver for paying my fare and set off to explore Ettelbruck. I hadn’t been looking around for more than fifeteen minutes and I stumbled across the Patton Museum. It has some excellent items that give an interesting insite into civilian life under the German occupation as well as a host of military paraphernalia. They also run a video taking you through the Battle of the Bulge told from the Luxembourgish (they assure me that this is there recognised term) viewpoint. It is, as you would expect different from the usual over the top “shoot ’em up” version which is the American film style.
The visit was an eye opener for me as the only thing I associated with the country was from my teen years when every cool dude listened to Radio Luxembourg. Because of atmospherics most of us couldn’t receive a signal until after dark! For some reason I also thought Luxembourg was further south than it is. I would encourage any UK based classic car user that is a little nervous of going ‘too far away’ to try it. The driving is easy, the roads are good and you could include one stopover in either the Waterloo area, as I did, or alternatively around Lille.
Anyway, today I was like a dog with two tails. The replacement wheel studs (two, one for immediate use and another spare) arrived from Summit Motors (Maidenhead) and we fitted the rear passenger-side wheel back with the required four studs. I should also mention MFCar Garage of Wiltz in Luxembourg who jumped through hoops for me from the moment I drove up to their door. I was on the road by 9:30 AM and heading south. The road was one of the ‘old’ roads that were used before they laid the Toll roads. If you haven’t driven around France, but might in the future, I strongly recommend these roads. Most are very good roads with very light traffic and you save a fortune.
Tonight I am in Thann, in the Alscae region (Yes, that’s where Alsace wine comes from). It is a very hilly area with lots of forest and extremely scenic. The town of Thann has a lot of interesting architecture dominated by its’ Gothic Church. That dates back to the end of the thirteenth century. There is a host of 16th/17th century buildings as well as having the start line for a 170 km wine route, not to mention the Rangen, a vineyard existing since the Middle Ages. It has been classifeid as “Grand Cru” since 1983.
Early evening and I have just discovered that I have again come away without a jacket despite putting one out ready to go. This evening it rained!