Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Petite Suisse Luxembourgeoise

The forests, pastures, heathland and rock formations of the Germano-Luxembourg national park haved earned the next stop on our itinerary the title of Petite Suisse Luxembourgeoise. Little Switzerland did have an uncanny resemblance to what little of the real Switzerland I’ve seen, and I’m very happy we took the slight detour to see it. We could have spent two to three days hiking along one of the rivers, exploring a gorge, scrambling through the rock formations or hiking one of the many long-distance trails, but we only had the morning. In addition, we had dreary weather and two enfants that wouldn’t be able to pull their weight in a 20-mile hike. So instead of the 10 km hike I had dreamed of I settled for the Michelin guide driving tour of the region with quite a few stops to see the highlights.

Only 30 minutes from Luxembourg, we started in the Müllerthal, the name given to the Ernz Noire valley. Trails crisscrossed the valley, and more than a few tourists had braved the chilly weather to explore. We stopped at the Hallerback river for a hike, and spent a lovely hour following the river through first a short section of planted pine, then through a deciduous hardwood forest filled with giant beeches, hornbeam, birch and oak to a small series of waterfalls. We didn’t see any of the areas wild boar (which is a good thing!) but did spot some cows in the pasture, and some giant slugs. Maybe it wasn’t the day for wildlife?

The spot we spent the most time in was on the road from Berdorf to the Müllerthal. The giant rock formations rose alternately on either side of the road, and a few of the biggest had parking areas and trails so that visitors could take a closer look. Predigstuhl was a pulpit-shaped rock and the Werchrumschluff was just beyond it. Narrow stairs leading into crevices, bridges crossing to rocky pinnacles, and sandstone rising up on all sides, it reminded me of a cross between the Garden of the Gods in Illinois and a park famous for rock climbing somewhere in Georgia that I once visited with a friend (help me out Styron, do you remember the name?). It turns out we were in for another rock climbing mecca experience on this trip albeit back in France, but more on that in a later post.

If Lauris hadn’t fallen asleep once we were back in the car, we might have stopped in the Gorge du Loup (gorge of the wolf) for another quick walk. Once more a network of well-worn paths connected the valleys, and we could even identify the one particular trail that had been recommended to me (but was 11 km long) that runs a loop from Echternach and back. Echternach, the tourist center of the region, is also known for the remains of the abbey founded there in 698 by a missionary from England, and after driving through the quaint little town we turned east and crossed the Sûre river, cutting through a corner of Germany to reach our next destination, the Hautes Fagnes in Belgium.


  1. That looks like an amazing detour!!

  2. Fabulous detour!!! And, I see you have a Little Life carrier too - aren't they great?!

  3. I am just amazed at all of the traveling you get accomplished with two little enfants in tow!


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