Saturday, January 31, 2009

Valley of the Seven Castles in Luxembourg (Jan 30)

One lazy day we decided to head to Luxembourg to do the driving tour of the "Valley of the Seven Castles". We asked our visitors Christina and Stig from Norway if they wanted to come along, but they decided to spend their day in Brussels visiting old friends and catching the last bargains during the January sales. Plus, I don't think Europeans get near as excited about castles as Americans!

It's really just the valley of the Eisch River, but that doesn't sound near as cool as the "Valley of the Seven Castles," which is what the Luxembourg tourist literature calls it. This scenic little area holds one of Europe's finest concentrations of castles. The castles are those of Mersch, Schoenfels, Hollenfels, Septfontaines, Koerich, and the two castles of Ansembourg (one is privately owned and only viewable from the valley). Some of the castles are ruins, some are private and only the exterior may be viewed, but nevertheless it is a popular tourist pilgrimage to make stops at all seven. It really doesn't take more than a few hours and can be less if you don't actually get out of your car or hike up to those that aren't next to the road.

Koerich: its ruined medieval castle
Septfontaines: a high-sited village dominated by its ruined 13th-century castle. Below the castle are the seven springs (sept fontaines) that give the village its name.
Ansembourg: 17th-century castle in the valley
Ansembourg: 17th-century castle in the valley. Same as above, but showing some of the grounds which consisted of lots of fountains and gardens, probably would be prettier in the Spring or Summer)
Hollenfels: 18th-century castle constructed around a 13th-century keep dramatically situated on a cliff top (it's now a youth hostel).
Mersch: Drastic renovation has occurred on the once medieval Castle
Schoenfels: There wasn't much left to this castle except for what you're seeing.

No comments: