Day 1: My mom, sister and I left Paris Saturday morning on a train to Luxembourg and my dad picked us up at the train station. We decided to rent a car in Luxembourg because we were there for four days and wanted to make the most of it. Once we got to the city, there turned out to be a huge event going on - the ING Night Marathon that about 15,000 people participate in. Since the marathon doesn't start until 7pm, there were festivities going on all day beforehand. We grabbed lunch then walked out of town and around the Grund were not nearly as many people where. The Grund is a historic area in a valley of Luxembourg city. None of us realized we were going to make it a 4 mile walk so eventually had to make our way back to the hotel to change shoes and get gelato. We ended the day with wine, bread, cheese and salami bought from the market watching the marathon out our hotel window. For such a relaxing day, we still got over 15,000 steps in!
Day 2 - Mother's Day: Sunday we decided to take the car and visit towns east of Luxembourg city. We started by going to Wormeldange which has a ton of vineyards and wineries. Second stop was in Grevenmacher, another small village close by and along the river bordering Luxembourg and Germany. Our third stop was in Wasserbillig which had a small aquarium we visited. Next was Trier, Germany's oldest city dating back to 4th century BC - only about a 40 minute drive from Luxembourg city. Walking through town we saw gorgeous fountains, Saint Peter's Cathedral, roman ruins and more. It seems very odd to see such beautiful, old buildings with an H&M or McDonalds sign in the front especially when in the US, a building that was built 50 years ago we consider old.
Our last stop after Trier was Ecternach, the oldest town in Luxembourg surrounded by medieval walls. By this time we were ready for food and headed back to the city for dinner with my aunt, uncle and cousin who arrived in Luxembourg earlier this day. After dinner, we rested up for the next day of adventures!
Day 3: After eating our delicious breakfast (if you don't know how good European breakfasts are you're missing out), we went to the Bierger-Center next to our hotel where we submitted our paperwork for dual citizenship because yes we are becoming citizens of Luxembourg! This was actually our primary reason for going on this trip and we have been working through the process for a little over a year now. In Luxembourg (and some other European countries) you are able to gain citizenship if you have ancestors who lived there years and years ago. Basically in the 1800s when individuals left the country, they were not allowed to come back as citizens. Because of this, Parliament passed a law in 2008 that gave descendants of those individuals from Luxembourg the right to reclaim their ancestors citizenship.
The next question people usually ask is why would you want to do this? Aside from it is awesome, there are benefits like once the process is complete, I could live and work in the EU under my citizenship. Also, my future children will get dual citizenship and be able to go to school in the EU (which is way cheaper than in America). There are other benefits as well, but to me these are the primary two that stand out.
After submitting our paperwork, we walked through the casemates (an extensive group of tunnels built in the 18th century to be used as defense and shelter) (pictures on the first day of a wall surrounding the Grund include the casemates). Then we took a drive to Leesbach where my Great-Great-Grandfather (mom's side) grew up. When we got there, I realized Leesbach was the house where he grew up - this was literally the only building there. Since my aunt and mom knew him, I can imagine it was a very special experience for them. What was even more special for me is that afterwards we went to Ettelbruck where my Great-Great-Grandmother (dad's side) grew up and I got to see both of their houses in one day. Talk about a day filled with heritage!
Day 4: The last full day in Luxembourg we visited more of northern Luxembourg starting in Vianden, a city most known for its castle or château built on roman ruins between the 11th-14th century. After exploring Vianden, we drove to Beaufort to visit the Renaissance (was actually inhabited until 2012) and Medieval castles (11th century). Little did we know you can only enter the Renaissance castle on certain days, but we did get to visit the Medieval castle (adjacent to the Renaissance). This turned out to be a ton of fun because since it isn't an extremely well known thing to do for tourists (or maybe because the Renaissance one was closed) there were not a ton of people there and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Not to mention they also have a little cafe where you get to try their liquor and get a cappuccino. Liquor check, coffee check, castle check.
After spending some time here, the next stop involved some walking on parts of the Mullerthal trail, a well known hiking trail with gorgeous views. On our way to where we planned to stop, we pulled over and found beautiful rock formations less than a minute walk from the main road called the Werschrummschlüff. Next stop was the hollow rocks or Hohllay on the Mullerthal trail. It was about a 7 minute walk to get to them from where we parked. These hollowed rocks used to be a mine or quarry where the Romans dug out stones for their buildings. One of the hollowed areas is now used as an amphitheater for the town. Our last stop was the Schiessentümpel bridge and waterfall. This stop we had to walk about a third of a mile from where we parked and I kid you not when I say I felt like I was in Tangled or some sort of Disney movie it was so beautiful.
We ended the day back in Trier for a German dinner, beer and gelato. It was great to explore so much of the country especially with such little time. Next time I return to Luxembourg, I should (knock on wood) be a citizen! Next stop... Barcelona!