Luxembourg is about the size of Rhode Island and is squeezed in between France, Belgium and Germany. Until 1437, it was a County headed by a Count. After this, it was a Duchy, ruled by a Duke until 1815 when the Congress of Vienna made it a Grand Duchy where it entered into a personal union with the Netherlands. It gained full independence in 1839 but unfortunately it's realm was cut in half as a large chunk was given to Belgium. Luxembourg is currently the ONLY Grand Duchy in the world.
As you can see, Luxembourg has slowly been shrinking since 1659!
(By Spanish_Inquisition - LuxembourgPartitionsMap_english.jpg, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14648192)
On the road again mid morning on Saturday. Todd and the kids are about to get another country! The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg!
"In proud remembrance of the achievements of her sons and in humble tribute to their sacrifices, this memorial has been erected by the United States of America."
Believe it or not, there are so many soldiers in unknown graves.
"Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms, known but to God." I can't get over these. What is the story with these boys? How could nobody claim them? Did they not have mothers? Did they not have any family? Did they not have friends? They had no one who cared enough to search for them? Were they burned or disfigured beyond recognition?
Such sadness on a beautiful day.
The Star of David was used for those of the Jewish faith who were buried here. These brave men died fighting for a cause you KNOW they absolutely believed in.
I really loved the old military vehicles they were driving around in before the ceremony.
A great and tragic story about Day Turner, Medal of Honor recipient. The citation went like this: "He commanded a 9-man squat with the mission of holding a critical flank position. When overwhelming numbers of the enemy attacked under cover of withering artillery, mortar and rocket fire, he withdrew his squad into a nearby house determined to defend it to the last man. The enemy attacked again and again and were repulsed with heavy losses. Supported by direct tank fire, they finally gained entrance, but the intrepid sergeant refused to surrender although five of his men were wounded and one was killed. He boldly flung a can of flaming oil at the first wave of attackers, dispersing them, and fought doggedly from room to room, closing with the enemy in fierce hand-to-hand encounters. He hurled hand grenade for hand grenade, bayoneted 2 fanatical Germans who rushed a doorway he was defending and fought on with the enemy's weapons when his own ammunition was expended. The savage fight raged for 4 hours, and finally, when only 3 men of the defending squad were left unwounded, the enemy surrendered. Twenty-five prisoners were taken, 11 enemy dead and a great number of wounded were counted. Sergeant Turner's valiant stand will live on as a constant inspiration to his comrades. His heroic, inspiring leadership, his determination and courageous devotion to duty exemplify the highest tradition of the military service." Tragically, Sgt. Turner died exactly one month after this battle.
Natalie found a solider who shared our last name. He was a Corporal who was from Minnesota. He was born in July 1920, entered the Army in February 1943, and was killed in action in Luxembourg in January 1945. Just a kid at 24 years old.
The American flag at half staff.
Lt. General Richard Clark, Commander of the 3rd Air Force at Ramstein places a wreath. He's in the dark hat on the far left.
Even the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of the Kaiserslautern-Ramstein area got to place remembrance wreaths.
The Air Force Honor Guard shot off these big guns, making me jump. Natürlich.
One of America's most famous generals, General George S. Patton, Jr. is buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery. He was commander of the Third Army in France and Luxembourg after the allies invaded at Normandy in 1944. When he died following a car crash in Germany in December 1945, he was buried here in Luxembourg because he wanted to be "buried with [his] men."
Since it was already late and the kids had stayed up SO late the night before in K-town, we stopped for some burgers at Snooze. Diekirch is one of the beers of Luxembourg. A nice light beer on a hot day!
I saw on Google maps that there was a Laduree in the downtown area. MUST. STOP. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 Euros. Everyone got two... not sure Grant really appreciated this expensive treat, but I know Natalie and I did! We opted for a rose macaron and a lavender macaron and they were DIVINE!
Water table set up at the finish line. It was so hot. I felt so bad for these runners!
Walking across the Grand Duchess Charlotte bridge, you get a really neat view of the Bock Casements.
Fort Niedergrünewald. We didn't have time to explore this one! Maybe next time!
This guy won the half marathon! His name is Cosmas Mutuku Kyeva. He finished in 1:11:03. Impressive!
St. Jean du Grund church sits right in the floodplain on the Alzette River.
"You guys, don't move and I'll do a panorama."
Hamming it up in Luxembourg. Grant's captain hat that he bought in Venice sure has come in handy!
Just below the Casemates du Bock, they have nice gardens along the Alzette River, across from the church.
This is the view to the north from the Casemates. You can see the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge we had been on the evening before.
The Huelen Zant, or the "Hollow Tooth" It's a part of what little remains of the old fortifications that were razed in 1867 when Luxembourg's independence was once again solidified by the Second Treaty of London. The Prussian troops left, and the fortification was torn down within about 16 years.
Inside the Casemates du Bock. It was a warm day and thankfully it was nice and cool in there!
Looking north-northwest out of the casemates. These little caves that were open to the outside housed cannons to fire at the enemy.
Hard to imagine what the fortress ON TOP of these casements would have looked like! The word casemate is defined by Dictionary.com as, "
The casemates were dark enough to require the light from my cellphone in some parts. Other areas had plenty of natural light. Some parts had floor lighting but that actually made it harder to see because you would stare at the light on the floor and that made the dark parts even darker!
The water well was 47 meters deep! Todd had to take this picture. I'm terrified of heights, as everyone knows!
Views back to the St. Jean du Grund and the rest of the casemates.
Grant, please do not climb on the cannon.
It appears as if we are spelunking here.
Poor Todd. He has this problem everywhere we go.
The random blue and purple lights made the casemates look really cool inside. The deeper you went into the casemates, the more stairs and nooks and rooms there were.
The kids wanted to explore and lead the way.
Lots of super narrow stairs. Some green moss, too!
The stairs to nowhere!
Long empty hallways are kind of my jam right now.
After our visit to the Casemates du Bock, we went out in search of a park to eat our picnic lunch in. But first... the Grand Ducal Palace! It's the official residence (and workplace) of Grand Duke Henri and his wife Grand Duchess Maria Teresa. Interestingly, during World War II, the Nazi's used the palace as a pub and a music hall!
Todd always takes a nice panorama!
Lunch views of the Adolphe Bridge, which was built in the very early 1900s.
After lunch, we stopped by for a quick look at the Monument of Remembrance, also known as the Golden Lady. It's a monument to the thousands of Luxembourgers who served during WWI, WWII and the Korean War. The monument was erected during the first World War, but was taken down by the Germans in the second World War. The Golden Lady remained missing until she was found in 1980 under the seating area at the nearby national football stadium! WHAT!?!
One soldier is dead and another is mourning him. Of the 3,700 men who fought for France during World War I when Luxembourg was occupied by Germany, about 2,000 (or well over half) of them died.
Cool Fortress. Check. World War I and II monument. Check. Time to see a church! We stopped at the late gothic era Notre Dame Cathedral as it is the only cathedral in all of Luxembourg. It was built in the early 1600s but expanded in the 1930s. It's where members of the royal family get married! They had this beautiful (what appeared to be a) heart floating from the ceiling that we all really liked.
The stained glass in the Notre Dame Cathedral was incredible. I am a big fan of stained glass ANYWAY (hey, I'm a sucker for colors!) but it was really detailed and in excellent condition. Interesting though is that the stained glass in the nave of the church was very different in style from the stained glass around the alter. In the nave, it was very realistic.
Although hard to see, the stained glass behind the alter was much more modern and a bit more Picasso-esque.
The kids had to really behave if they wanted to go to the famous Pirate Ship park (or Park de Monterey) in the afternoon. That meant no complaining about visiting churches, no whining about the heat, and no fighting with each other. They would be rewarded with a couple of hours at the park, and Todd and I would be rewarded with these!
The park is very big and there were tons of kids there on this sunny, warm day.
The little snack bar had a water spray mister that you could stand under to cool off.
And of course... it was hot enough for popsicles!
Knitting club was going on at the park!
This things was pretty cool! (Is it weird I kind of wanted to play on it??)
Because the kids got to bed so late the two nights prior, we decided to head over to the Barrio Grund for an early dinner. Just strolling the streets of Lux, here. Not a ton of color to their buildings!
Oh, why hello there Grand Ducal Palace. So good to see you again.
Since the standard for the Luxembourg Grand Duke wasn't flying, I assumed the Grand Duke wasn't at home. This guard continued his march back and forth in front of the palace, however. We saw pictures on the internet of two guards marching... so perhaps when the Grand Duke is in residence, they have two?
Quiet Lux street.
Grant, oh Grant! What will we do with you?!? Here we are at the Chemin de la Corniche, otherwise known as the world's most beautiful balcony! Now that's a view!
Grant decided that the graffiti behind us needed to be peeled off.
Because you wanted ONE MORE picture from the Chemin de la Corniche. The Casemates du Bock are on the left, "beneath" (in the photo) the newer skyscrapers that are actually back in the Kirchberg area.
We couldn't find the elevator to go down, so we just walked and you get lovely views of (poor floodplain management along) the Alzette River.
If you travel with kids, paper and pens, crayons or colored pencils are a MUST. They help keep the whining down to a minimum!
After dinner at Oscars, we tooled around the Barrio Grund area. Lots of ruins still exist along the Rue Munster. I liked that this nice, newer building appears to have been built right in the middle of the ruins!
Once a stable or a carriage house, perhaps.
I'm sure they had to put these gates up to keep people out of here!
A built out restaurant deck over the Alzette River in the Grund area of Luxembourg. I wish we had more time to explore this area because it was quite a bit more charming than the rest of the city!
We finally did find that elevator, thankfully because the hike up from the Grund would have been tough on the already-exhausted kids. Once we walked out of the building that the elevator was housed, I spotted some color!
Thanks for a great weekend! Until next time, Luxembourg!