Monday, November 17, 2008

A visit to Luxembourg (tiny country) and Arlon, Belgium (Sep 28)

Since Shannon is going through withdrawals of being away from his brother's gun business, Run-N-Iron, he researches all the possible military / gun shows in Belgium. So far we've been to two of them. The most recent was in a town called Arlon while the other one was located in La Gleize. I didn't take any photos in the auditorium packed with military goods and guns, but I got a few of the town.

Apparently it was an exciting show, because Shannon had a big grin the entire time like a kid in a candy store. He even made us go through the show twice to make sure we didn't miss anything the first time around. The military shows in Belgium have a lot of WWII items that are difficult to find in the US, ranging from US, Belgium and German clothing and trench shovels all the way up to military vehicles such as tracked motorcycles and personnel carriers (haven't seen a tank for sale yet). The gun ownership rules are very restrictive in Belgium, but you still see a variety of WWII weapons for sale. The US Dollar was pretty weak against the Euro while we were at Arlon however, so stuff is quite expensive to buy. Since the dollar has strengthened considerably over the past few months, I'm sure we'll be traveling to more military shows in the future.

After we visited the military show, we continued on to Luxembourg City to meet a few of Shannon's coworkers for lunch. It was a beautiful town that had a steep valley going through it where people go for walks or a run. It seemed like a very clean and green city with a very relaxed atmosphere. The city center occupies a picturesque site, perched high atop rugged cliffs that drop into the narrow valleys of the Alzette and Petrusse rivers. The 230 ft (70 m) deep gorges cut by the rivers are spanned by many bridges and viaducts, including the Adolphe Bridge, the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge, and the Passerelle. Although Luxembourg City is not particularly large, its layout is complex, as the city is set on several levels, straddling hills and dropping into the two gorges.

Luxembourg City is one of the wealthiest cities in the world, having developed into a banking and administrative center. In addition, it is the location of several institutions of the European Union, including the European Court of Justice, the European court of Auditors, and the European Investment Bank.

Tank in Arlon
Church from 1634 in Arlon
Luxembourg City
Valley below where people take walks / runs
In the valley
Unique building in Luxembourg
Valley with old town walls in the distance (trains go across bridge in background)
An old Abbey in the ravine (Neum√ľnster Abbey in 17th century, now used as a cultural center for concerts, exhibitions, and seminars)

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