Day tripping: Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, France
Blogger Libby of Lovely in Lux gets Fernweh, the itch to get out of town! Here are her suggestions for day trip destinations.
When the clocks move forward, the birds sing early in the morning and the sun shines all day, many of us start to get the itch ̶ the itch of allergies, the itch to clean out your basement and your closets, and especially the itch of Fernweh.
Fernweh is one of my favourite German words that has no proper English equivalent. It is the opposite of Heimweh, or homesickness, in that it actually means you're yearning to go away somewhere. The closest you've probably heard is Wanderlust, which is a German word that made it into the English language (only to spend the rest of its life getting dreadfully mispronounced, having its spelling butchered and being horribly overused in The New Yorker).
Luxembourg is a great place to live, in that it has dozens of things to do and see (many more than most other places of the same size). Have you already explored nearby attractions like the Butterfly Garden in Grevenmacher, Parc Merveilleux in Bettembourg, the Family of Man exhibit in Clervaux, or the castles in LaRochette or Vianden?
Another advantage to living in Luxembourg is that you can quench your Fernweh quickly (and cheaply!) by driving an hour in any direction and landing in a foreign country.
For those of you who are dying for a short getaway (and who have already explored the usual over-the-border shopping destinations of Trier, Metz and Thionville to the point of nausea) let me recommend the following day trip destinations:
Amnéville, France - This is a great place to visit if you're in the mood for some touristy family fun (even if you're the only one in your family!). Amnéville is known for its zoo, aquarium, thermal baths, swimming and golf courses...and it's only a 45-minute drive from Luxembourg City.
Bernkastel-Kues, Germany - I'm partial to Germany, and this place is what people picture when they think of the quintessential German town. Lovely timbered houses, wine along the Moselle River, and quaint shopping can be found only an hour and a half from Luxembourg.
If you've never been to Germany before, be sure to enjoy a Spaghettieis at an ice cream parlour (don't let the name "spaghetti ice cream" put you off, it's a delicious vanilla and strawberry sundae made to look like a plate of spaghetti), order an Apfelschorle (apple juice and carbonated water) or a glass of Riesling, and have a regional speciality like Leberknödel (liver dumplings...sounds icky, tastes wonderful!).
And just so that you don't think my only attraction to Germany is the food *cough* which is only partially true, you will love taking a cruise on the Moselle...an entire afternoon of castles, vineyards, and beautiful villages in the sun and fresh air. Talk about getting away from it all!
Bastogne, Belgium - You don't have to be American or a history buff to get something out of a trip to Bastogne, where the Battle of the Bulge was fought. The Historical Centre has a very interesting WWII exhibit and the impressive American war memorial is within walking distance. The Bois de la Paix (Wood of Peace) is a memorial forest of 4,000 trees - take a peaceful walk or a day tour of the battlefields.
And since you're in Belgium, you might as well stop at a fritterie and have some fries (although be forewarned - they may not be what you expect. Also see my blog on English Mythology). Bastogne is approximately one hour from Luxembourg City.
Daun, Germany - Those who would like a unique nature experience should definitely take a trip to the volcanic crater lakes near Daun, which is approximately an hour and 45 minutes from Luxembourg City. The area has dozens of hiking and biking trails. You can also you can rent a boat or go swimming on one of the lakes.
The water-filled volcanic craters (Gemündener Maar, Schalkenmehrener Maar, Weinfelder Maar) are connected by a hiking trail (see the German-language brochure here) and the entire Eifel region has an incredible infrastructure for local tourists (see also www.eifel.de).
Castle and Gardens of Annevoie, Namur, Belgium - I suppose I might be in the minority here, but walking through impressive gardens and castles on a lovely day is my idea of paradise (my husband is more prone to think of it as drudgery). For those of you fortunate enough to have a more enthusiastic travel companion, I can recommend the Annevoie Gardens and castle, located 2 hours from Luxembourg City.
Now I've got the dreaded Fernweh myself. Wherever you may decide to go, do get out and enjoy this beautiful part of the world - happy exploring!
A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Libby moved to Germany after finishing college and enjoyed four years there. In 2008, she left Germany for itty-bitty Luxembourg. Follow her adventure and her journey to happiness - no matter where on Earth she may find herself - on Lovely in Lux.
Photo credit: flickr.com/werkunz
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