Having collected our passengers, we headed towards the port of Hull for our overnight crossing to Rotterdam on P & O Ferries’ Pride of Rotterdam. She is a lovely ship with lots of entertainment on board, which many folks enjoyed following their evening meal in the restaurant. A very smooth crossing took us across the North Sea and, after breakfast on board, we disembarked and began our journey south to Luxembourg.
We had a fairly easy trip south, with no serious traffic jams and very little in the way of road works so we made good time and arrived into our hotel mid afternoon. We were warmly welcomed by the staff and enjoyed our welcome meeting and a little Kir Royale as our luggage was delivered to our rooms.
The Grand Hotel de Vianden is a family run hotel, not too large and with a very friendly staff who are always happy to help. It is clean and comfortable with a good selection of food for breakfast and dinner.
Some clients wandered out in the evening to take a look at the very pretty village of Vianden whilst others relaxed in the cosy bar or simply had an early night.
Today we ventured into Luxembourg City in glorious sunshine where we met with our tour guide, Guy, and were taken on a short coach tour of the city where Guy pointed out many of the interesting buildings and monuments including the Gelle Fra Memorial in the Place de la Constitution, which was erected as a reminder of the Nazi occupation of Luxembourg, when they destroyed the original monument in 1940. We were also taken to the Kirchberg district which houses some of the European Union departmental buildings such as the European Court of Auditors, the Court of Justice of the E.U., the E.U. Parliament and the E.U. Investment Bank amongst others.
Following this, a few clients opted to “do their own thing” whilst the majority took the walking tour, again led by Guy. He was an excellent guide, very knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions our clients might have. We walked around the old part of the city which had been very heavily fortified and Guy explained that Luxembourg had – at various times in its history – been occupied by the French, the Spanish, the Dutch and many others prior to becoming the independent country it is today. We visited the Cathedral to the Blessed Virgin, a beautiful church in two halves – a fairly modern side and the original part which was built between 1613 and 1621. We also saw the Grand Ducal Palace, a stunning building which, nowadays, is used mainly for ceremonial events and still has two armed guards posted outside. We saw so many things but it is impossible to name them all here.
Returning to our hotel, many folks decided to have a walk before dinner, as it was such a lovely day. After dinner, we were very pleasantly surprised to find ourselves being entertained by a lovely Italian lady by the name of Lisa Mariotto, who sang to us – and with us! – for an hour and a half. She was an excellent singer and entertainer who soon had everyone on the floor, dancing and laughing, including our two waitresses, Elena and Yvette! She was great fun.
We awakened to another (unexpectedly) sunny day and, after breakfast, headed off to Remich – a lovely little town, very picturesque and peaceful. Although the sun shone brightly, it was a little cool to start with but soon warmed up. There is a beautiful walk along the riverbank and several riverboats were moored there. The swans were out in force and keen to see if there was food available! We were a little too early for the Sunday Market which runs here during the summer months but everyone seemed to enjoy the ambience of the small town.
Leaving Remich, we then drove along the banks of the Moselle to Echternach, which is the oldest town in Luxembourg with two thousand years of history behind it. Again, a lovely town made even more appealing by the bright sunshine and many clients enjoyed the stroll around or went shopping, as many of the shops in Echternach were open. Others stopped in the square to have lunch or a coffee, or even a beer. This was to be our final excursion on our tour and everyone made the most of it. Lots of good comments were forthcoming on the return journey to Vianden.
Having had a very full day, most folks just relaxed after dinner, went out for a walk or chatted in the bar. Then it was time to pack in readiness for our departure in the morning.
Time to start our journey homewards. Leaving the hotel, we travelled to a viewpoint to take some photographs of the castle at Vianden. Unfortunately, the coach cannot access the castle but our driver took us as close as possible and we all got some great shots. Then we began our journey back to the port of Rotterdam for our return trip to Hull with a couple of comfort stops on the way.
Arriving at the port, we then boarded the Pride of Hull and had another smooth crossing back to Hull. Dinner, entertainment and breakfast were, of course, included once more, as was all the shopping on board for those wishing to spend the last of their Euros.
Having dropped off our clients from the North of England, we made our way to Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders where we stopped for lunch. This was followed by a chance to stretch the legs then we were back on the coach, heading for Edinburgh and the disembarkation of many of our clients. The drop-offs continued until everyone was safely back at their original pick-up point and the holiday was over.
BUT ONLY UNTIL THE NEXT ONE BEGINS!!!