Today, 12 GTL students met up at the train station in Metz to go to Luxembourg for two days. Luxembourg is a Grand Duchy (the only one in the world). It is a small country, even though most people think of it only by its capital city, Luxembourg. We arrived in 45 minutes by train, and talked to the tourist desk to set up 2-day tour passes for our group through the country (only 8 euros per person) that included free trains and buses, plus free admission to 40 sites around the country! The weather was pretty yucky, though. It rained and was windy off and on pretty much the whole day, with random outbursts of the sun. We were able to see part of a service in the city's cathedral, saw the royal family's palais, went through the “casements,” which are underground caves that were under the fortified portion of the old city walls.
Luxembourg had an extreme advantage for protection from invaders because of its elevation above the surrounding land, and its canons that look out over the lower unprotected part of the city.
The little castle next to our hostel in Hollenfels.
The language was interesting because it is a trilingual country (French, German, and Luxembourgish). We wanted to see a castle facing the city, but it was closed. We just walked around the city until 5:30pm, then headed towards our hostel north of the city.
It took 20 mins by train to get to town of Mersch, and then we had to take a bus to a tiny village called Hollenfels. Our hostel was on the same property as the Hollenfels Castle, which was pretty cool. It is currently used as a school of ecology and houses about 20 elementary school kids that wear funny, pointy colored hats. Before dinner at the hostel, the crew took pictures, explored the area, the woods, and the fields. The views from our hostel and the castle were pretty, looking over the rolling mountains. The town was so small that it didn’t even have a store, just some houses.