Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Would you willingly climb into a truck with this complete stranger?  If you too had been wandering in circles in the hills for over an hour, trying to reconnect with an elusive trail, you would have been right there beside me.

It turned out that a relatively new expressway had blocked the way of the GR5 (what were they thinking???), the trail was rerouted, but the trail guidebooks and recent maps didn't reflect this yet. After coming down out of the hills after a very frustrating waste of time, I saw this nice man sitting in his small truck in a nearby parking lot. After I tried both English and French to ask directions, we quickly established that he didn't know my languages and I didn't know his (German). But using my maps, names of towns and some funny hand signals, he ended up giving me a 5 km lift (actually crossing over into Germany) to the next small town past the freeway, where I could pick up the trail again. After some good laughs over how helpless we were with each other's languages, he dropped me off at a pedestrian bridge back to Luxembourg. Job well done. No more trail problems for the day.

The route has now left the Moselle River. One of its lovely little tributaries, the Sure, now forms the boundary between Luxembourg and Germany. I took the following photo on the pedestrian bridge, looking back at Germany.

The trail quickly took me up into the hills again, across some expansive meadows and through several lush ravines. Even though the leaves on the trees are only now beginning to open, there is often a nice lush ground cover on the forest floor.

It's always rewarding to come around a bend in the trail and see some quintessential European feature such as this 12th century chapel in a tiny hamlet.

I grabbed a quick sandwich for lunch at a cafe in one of the villages back down on the Sure. This is my waitress, Betty, who speaks 7 languages. The two I checked out were pretty darned good.

Back up into the hills for a wonderful 2 hour walk in the forest. All the vineyards have been left behind, exchanged for deep mossy forests. Whoever formed this trail had a lot of fun with it. The route had me continuously going up and down stone steps, between countless massive boulders at the base of limestone cliffs. It was impossible to capture the rich, hushed feel of the place on an iPhone.

Now THIS is how I like to see a trail marked, complete with distances!  The rule if thumb in hiking is that you cover about 4 km per hour. Even though I can walk faster than that, the map-checking, photo -taking, snack-imbibing and pit-stopping all result in 4 km per hour.  It might appear that I obsess over trail markings too much, but they are the lifeblood of this trip. Without seeing one of those at least every 5 minutes, I'm not going anywhere.  Well, maybe I am, but probably in the wrong direction.

My lodging tonight, L'hotel Petit Poet, is on the pictuesque, sidewalk cafe-lined town square of Echternach. With all the hustle and bustle taking place there on such a delightful sunny afternoon, I swear I could hear the soundtrack of the village scene from the musical/movie, "The Beauty and the Beast."

My final photo to share is the candlelit altar in the outstanding Echternach Basilaca, the most important religious building in the country. This as well as most of the town were destroyed during
WW II. However, after the war, all was rebuilt or restored in only 3 years.  They managed to recapture its medieval atmosphere.

A quick word about photos:  Bill is my "photo editor" back home. I can type the text for the blog on my little iPhone keyboard, but have to email the photos to him for getting this system to work. So there is usually a delay between these two steps in the process. Thanks for checking back later if you don't see any pictures posted.


  1. I'm glad you made it safely to the hotel after catching a ride with a stranger. I would have done the same thing if I couldn't find the trail. I'm sure it's frustating, especially when you are on foot. Your hotel looks adorable. It reminds me of a place we stayed at in Autria when we rode bikes. I hope you had a restful evening :)

    1. Becky, that was a wonderful trip, wasn't it? And we had to improvise then, too, in order to get back to our town.