29 September 2010

Vianden

We are in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which is tiny. Yesterday afternoon, we went to the national military museum, in Diekirch, which we expected to be a joke. It was not a joke. It was a large building chock-full of artifacts, photographs, dioramas and dressed-up mannequins. It was really one of the more interesting museums I've ever been to.
It focused on World War II, specifically the Battle of the Bulge, which had a huge effect on this little country. It turns out that Vianden, where we're staying, was an important base for the Luxembourgish militia. They fought a battle here, where 30 lightly armed townspeople repelled an attack by 250 Waffen-SS soldiers in late November, 1944. It's interesting to look at the geography around here in that light.
The museum took up a lot of our afternoon, which was nice on a slightly rainy, chilly day. There was only one other person there - an older man who, we think, was German.
t's a quaint little town, dominated by a castle (exciting!) and situated in a little cut in the mountains that bisects the River Our. These are sausages in the shape of pigs. We thought they were funny. They even have little ears.
This is the view from our auberge, down into the valley. It's quite the walk up from the river - the street just keeps going and going. It's interesting how the houses are packed so tightly together along the road, with nothing behind them except the forested slopes (which are very steep).
We hiked up to this little rocky promontory with an old "beffroi" and really amazing views out over town. It was very misty, which adds to the gothic charm of the place.

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