Four countries in a day




Did you guess?  We set off from Trier this morning, bright and breezy and in no time at all, we were crossing the border.  Please, be impressed by the efficiency with which we can pack the car these days – not a square inch is lost!




Anyway, here we were in Luxemburg and with time to spare, we thought we’d take a closer look.




We parked by a statue of some jolly Luxembourgers though once again, our search for a blue accessible parking space was thwarted.  What happened to European legislation on this side of the Channel, eh?




We followed the walking tour suggested by the tourist office and tried hard to think of a famous Luxembourger.  Famous Belgians?  We can name a few.  But who could we think of from the Grand Duchy?  Sadly, no-one came to mind, so when we encountered two young women from the tourist office standing outside the palace, wearing “Ask me a question” jackets, we did exactly that.  They could name only the heir to the Duchy, Guillaume and his wife Stephanie and what’s more, I was admonished by my hero for asking a question which could only emphasise the lowly status of the country in terms of world rankings.  Needless to say, that could not be further from our intentions and actually, Mary and I had an interesting conversation with the pair of them, learning about what’s great about growing up as a Luxembourger.  Great education, they said!




From the terraces by the modern Palace of Justice, there was a fine view of the lower city, reminding us all of Quebec.  It was a lovely place to spend a few minutes in the sunshine.




A little further along, I spotted this column in the distance and zoomed in to take a photograph, thinking I’d find out more later.  I haven’t found out anything yet and have no idea who she is, but I hope that whoever she is going to drop that cream pie on is ready and prepared for it!!




Our next stop was the cathedral with a collection of interesting and curiously shaped spires.




My eyes went immediately to the ceiling.




Then to the stained glass, both old




and new. (ish)




We were curious about the language – meng stad, especially when I spotted the three dots above the M in Luxemburg.  Is it a real linguistic form or a mere advertising gimmick?  Need to know (and will find out…but not now!)




Time was moving on and we needed to be on our way.  We hit the road again and passed into Belgium without further ado.  Not really a great deal to say about that.




The roads were pretty busy and there were quite a few heavy lorries making driving a challenge for my hero, but he coped of course!  Filling the car was another matter, since for some reason, the filling station demanded pre-payment – not that they explained that to anyone first, of course.  The result was that several people were trying to get the pumps to work with no success at all and there was much shrugging of shoulders and puzzled expressions until we heard the magic words “il faut prepayer” or whatever. 


Even the French pair at the pump beside us were perplexed and for once, there was a distinct entente-cordiale in this part of the filling station.  Doesn’t take much more than a weird Belgian practice to foster that, then!




Shortly afterwards, we were in France and almost at our destination: Lille.




Our hotel is near – almost in – the Grand Place and the decor so bold that I’m a little worried that the triffid will give me a hug in the night.  Hopefully, George and the other travelling companions will keep an eye on it.




The view is pretty good though.




We spent the afternoon wandering about and since Mary hasn’t been here before, we saw things through new, Californian eyes.  Yes, it is indeed a pretty spectacular place.




Of course, we’ve shopped at La Droguerie, too.

Our last dinner of the trip was rather smarter than we’ve been accustomed to of late, at L’Ecume des Mers.  Had I not ordered two courses which needed much mircosurgery and excavation, then we too would have been smart.  Still, the crab and the huge prawns were delicious and I’m sure no-one really noticed the splatter marks on my clothes (and on those around me)  as we left.

Goodnight from Lille!

and that was that.

The day improves