Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sunday September 7th - Chairlift

The bell on the level crossing at Wilwerwiltz woke me straight away when the trains started nice and early on Sunday morning. The tent felt damp, it was cold and I was cosy in my sleeping bag. I put my hat on for extra warmth and fell asleep again.

Since entering Luxembourg I hadn't been able to get mobile signal, so hadn't been able to contact Dgym the previous night. I knew he'd be worried so I got up at 7 to set off in search of some means of communication.

It was misty again - the sun was already starting to poke through, but despite my best drying efforts (soaking up moisture with awesome microfibre towel and then wringing it out) I left with a damp and heavy tent.

Early sun

I started out along a quiet road which at first followed the valley of a small stream but then turned away and climbed steadily.

At the top of the hill I stopped for a wee and used up the last of the loo roll. Luxembourg, I had discovered, is one of those countries (like France) where you are expected to bring your own, and I hadn't packed much. I was also running low on food supplies - I had a single biscuit, some liquorice and half a stinky cheese. There had been very few open shops or cafes so far. I got hungry and ate the final biscuit. But at least it was a lovely sunny day at last. Hooray!

Foresty sunshine

I carried on through small villages, aiming for the Our river. At Stolzembourg I descended into the valley on a road signed as 17% gradient. The Michelin map claimed 4-7% and, worshipful as I am of their French maps, I started to wonder about the quality of their Luxembourg data.

Vianden was a pleasant tourist town overlooked by a huge castle set in forest a couple of hundred metres up the side of the valley. A chairlift extended over the town and up through the pine trees. I've only ever been up chairlifts on skis and snowboards (For a while I was even slightly terrified of them after my first ever ski chairlift ride involved a slightly late exit and a bit more jumping than strictly necessary) so thought I'd try a pedestrian experience. I parked up at the bottom - there were bike carriers but it didn't seem like a good idea with so many panniers.


In the cafe at the top I had a plate of chips and admired the panoramic view over the valley, then went for a short walk through the woods and took a curious peek at the alternative route down - a zipwire traversing back and forth through the trees.

Heading out of Vianden, I picked up some more snacky cakes at the service station, and a packet of spaghetti as an emergency dinner option.

A bit further down the road I found long distance cycle route number 3, which would lead me along the Our river and the German border, all the way to France. The route turned out to be excellent. Sometimes on road, but mostly as a separate lane, and sometimes beside the road, but often leading away from it to peaceful riverside tracks passing under shady trees and past flocks of wading geese. The path often passed right through campsites and the distance to the next town was frequently labelled.


A few miles before Echternach I found a usable wifi network measuring about two meters square. Taking care to remain in that tiny area, I IM-chatted with dgym for a while - yes, he had been a bit worried. I was starting to enjoy things but still not feeling like spending a month away - we agreed that I should come back after two weeks away.

In Echternach I searched the town centre for cash and toilet paper. Cash was easy to find. Toilet paper was more evasive. I'm pretty sure it should be easy to find in a nation which is unwilling to provide it in public toilets. I left empty handed, having to improvise with paper napkins from cafes. I did, however, manage to find my old friend the Eiscafe, featuring all the favourites - Spaghetti Eis, Pizza Eis, etc, and had a cone of freezy coffee flavoured deliciousness.


I stopped to camp at Rosport, a small town on the river, just across the bridge from the German town of Ralingen. Not actually wanting buttered spaghetti for dinner (so far that day I'd eaten chips, ice cream and biscuits) I set off in search of nice food.

An Asian restaurant in the town looked good - menu outside, opened at 6... except when I tried to go in there at 6:30, the door wouldn't open. Then I noticed the cobwebs around the door, the yellowed newspapers stuffed in the letterbox around the side and the hole in one of the windows. It didn't look as if anybody had been in there for quite a while. Perhaps I didn't want to eat there after all.... There was nothing else suitable in the town so I crossed to the German side and found an open restaurant serving lovely big schnitzel, chips and salad.

Distance: 42 miles (302 miles so far) • Day 7 RouteDay 7 Photos

No comments: