Monday, June 15, 2015

Our trip to The Netherlands via Luxembourg... part 1

Ordinarily, I write blog posts about my trips after I get home.  That's because if I have to fly, I don't usually take my laptop computer with me.  Since Bill and I drove from the Stuttgart area on this trip, I'm going to write my posts as I enjoy my time in Holland.  This is my first real experience in the country.  Before now, I had only seen Amsterdam's impressive airport.

We left Germany at about 1:00pm on Saturday.  I had booked us a room in Clervaux, Luxembourg.  I actually meant to get us a room in Bastogne, Belgium and had plugged that location into Expedia.com.  I decided to go to Clervaux because the hotel where we stayed looked nice and was attractively priced.  For some reason, it popped up as a choice near Bastogne.


On the way to Herrenberg from our home, we came across a pink stretch limo... Don't see these every day!

This isn't the first time I meant to go to Belgium and ended up in Luxembourg.  Back in May 2012, Bill and I took our first military hop and ended up spending a few days in Trier, Germany.  We took a day trip to Luxembourg City, visiting again after having visited there for several nights in honor of my birthday in June 2009.

I'm not sure we meant to go back to Luxembourg City in 2012 because, although it's very pretty, there isn't that much to see there.  But we happened to end up there for the day, where we enjoyed a nice afternoon listening to a German high school band play live music in a gazebo and watching a drunk guy trying to conduct the teenagers while drinking a can of Carlsberg beer and staggering around the main square.  I eventually concluded that Luxembourg City is, if anything, a great place to people watch.

The next day during our visit in 2012, we ended up back in Luxembourg.  We went to Rodange.  We actually meant to visit Belgium or France, but made a wrong choice when we bought our train tickets.  It turned out to be a good choice, though, because although Rodange is a boring suburb, we had a wonderful lunch at a Portuguese restaurant and then ran into a hen party where we saw a woman wearing adult diapers and a rubber phallus on her nose.  The hen party ended up on our train with us, along with a couple of nuns and a few Japanese tourists who had no qualms about taking pictures.

This year's trip to Luxembourg wasn't as exciting as the one in 2012 was.  The GPS took us all the way up to Trier.  We couldn't go the way the GPS wanted us to, because there were a number of detours.  Consequently, we drove on a lot of back roads populated by farm vehicles, bikers, and other frustrated drivers.  The back roads were pretty, but they took us through mountainous areas with lots of switchbacks.  Our drive was supposed to take about four hours but ended up taking over six.

We were going to stop for lunch at the truck stop in Pforzheim, but it was jam packed with people, to the point at which we would have had trouble finding a place to park.  We decided it wasn't worth the hassle...  which, of course, made us "late" for lunch.  Being late for lunch means we have a lot fewer pickings to choose from and I am more likely to get "hangry".


I took this as we passed through Saarland.  This was after we were in Kandel.  Had to get a shot of the horses.

On the way to Trier, we stopped in a town called Kandel, which is very close to the French border.  It's a very cute town, but we stopped there because I needed food.  Every Saturday, it seems like Bill and I go somewhere and set off too late to catch regular lunch hours.  We end up having to find a place open past 2:00.  I get really cranky and annoyed when I get really hungry.  Fortunately, Bill is very patient.

We did eventually find a cute French style cafe that served soup, sandwiches, and salads.  We had salad for lunch, which probably wouldn't have been my first choice.  It was healthy and tasted good, though, and helped me with my "hanger" problem.






Kandel is pretty cool...  I snapped a few photos during our brief stop.


Where we stopped for lunch... it was a God send...


Beer from Karlsruhe...


A very refreshing chicken salad.  Bill's was the same, only made with tuna.  I thought the salad included kraut, but it was actually a celery salad.  Yummy and healthy!


If you're ever in Kandel and need nourishment, this little cafe is a good place to go.  We also picked up a couple of eclairs for the road.  They have a nice bakery.

Once we got to Clervaux, I was immediately impressed with how beautiful it was.  The town is very close to the German border.  It's also very close to the Belgian border.  It's basically located in a valley and is surrounded by natural wooded beauty and a couple of very impressive churches.  I was a  little enchanted by it, until it came time to park.  Clervaux has a very serious parking problem.  Our hotel supposedly offered parking, but it was extremely limited.  We ended up having to park in a business parking lot that had a sign up that said "gratuit".  We figured (correctly) that the car would be alright for a night there, since it was a Saturday.  I ended up just pulling out what I would need for one night rather than hauling all my stuff to the hotel room.

Hotel du Commerce in Clervaux is a nice three star accommodation.  It offers a good restaurant, bar, pool, and spa.  Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to really explore what the hotel offers because we didn't check in until about 7:00pm.  By the time we arrived, the pool was closed and we were both tired and crabby.  Nevertheless, the place was cute enough.  We were checked in by a guy in a chef's jacket; I'm guessing it's his hotel and he's the chef.  He and his kids are featured in a portrait in the hotel dining room.  They also have a big, sweet, friendly dog who came over to greet Bill and me.


Our no frills hotel room in Luxembourg.  It was a little over 100 euros a night and had a WC separated from the shower.



Tiny balcony...


View...



Seating.


And an old style TV that we never turned on.


Simple breakfast...

The room we stayed in was basic, save for the tiny balcony overlooking the little parking lot.  But it had everything we needed.  We enjoyed a very nice meal in the restaurant and went back to the room to crash until early Sunday morning.  After a quick breakfast, which was included in our rate, Bill and I were on the road to The Netherlands.

I wouldn't mind going back to the Clervaux area.  It's very beautiful there and I understand there is a nature park nearby.  It's also close to some good beer.  Next time, I might choose to stay in a place with better parking or take a train in.  There is a severe shortage of parking in that little town.  We saw a lot of illegal parking and people lurking for spots.



Parking is less of a problem if you drive a motorcycle.






Look at that!  A phone booth!


Cool looking hotel near ours.


Charming little downtown area.


Chateaux...


Even a sports bar!



Love the public WC built into the wall.



Border of Germany and Luxembourg...


Beautiful hillside church in Clervaux.






As I was taking this photo, a older woman approached us... She spoke German first, then French.  At first I thought she was looking for a laundromat, but she actually wanted to find a wrestling match...  We were no help.




Belgian border...

I will post a separate review of our dinner at Hotel du Commerce.  It deserves its own post.  

Part 2.

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