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Luxembourg, Germany & the Xmas markets 2012


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We set off from Milton Keynes early morning and started the long drive to Luxembourg. We travelled by ferry so the first port off call was Dover and the P&O ferry spirit of burgundy, so it was only natural to stop at he bar and have a pint of lager. We soon hit France and then headed down some excellent roads all the long way to Luxembourg. We travelled by bus organised by my work so I did not have to do a lot only sit back and wait to arrive. This was the only problem with the trip, Luxembourg is a long long way from Calais and we arrived at the Kirchberg Novotel at around seven in the evening. The hotel was nice and clean and very spacious with all the things you needed, but we soon got out and headed by foot into the centre of Luxembourg city. The cold was of the like I have never felt before it got through our coats in no time, after a thirty min walk we were right into the city centre and looking for the Xmas markets the purpose of the trip. You can soon see there is some money about and this is not a poor country, infact it has the second highest GDP in the world and the new bit in which we stayed is full of all the banks and other financial centres, you will also find the centre of the EEC here and it is helpful to note I stuck two fingers up proudly as I passed. We walked over the top of the old city looking down one hell of a drop and headed towards the centre of Luxembourg city and hopefully to find the markets. The city of Luxembourg is small and the markets were found without a problem in the large squares that surround the city. All the locals seem to drink a local festive mulled wine called Gluhwein which went down a treat and also served to keep us warm in the freezing cold wind. Food was also supplied in the markets in the form off Bratwurst sausages. 


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We headed off into Germany towards the City of Trier, that lies in the state of Rhineland-palatinate. Trier has a population of some 105,000 people and  I think most of them were attending the market and shops that litter the main squares. It is a very old city, in fact the oldest in Germany founded in 16BC and the surroundings and buildings certainly look very old and it all makes for a very beautiful place. It left Luxembourg market standing and was miles more festive. Again the temperature was very cold, damn you efficient German winters, so a few glasses of the ahcolic mulled wine were needed to fight off the cold, and again tonnes of german sausage were consumed within the day. Im not one for xmas decorations but i must admit they did look good with most of the shops selling handmade wood decorations and christmas wreaths.  Its with all this festive abundance that Gail hit the shops and got loads of stuff for christmas to bring back. In the second world war over 60,000 english POW were marched to Trier, and then sent to POW camps around germany, it was also heavily bombed during the war but it still has many very old buildings standing. We tried a bit of german around the city but it is a waste of time and everybody seems to speak English, Would recommend this place to anybody seeking a german Xmas market trip.
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Bruges sits in the flemish bit of Belgium, and is an UNESCO world heritage site. The city has loads of old canals running around the Oval shape of the old city. The city is full of medieval buildings and famous old churches , including the Basilica of the Holy Blood, the church houses a venerated relic of the Holy Bloodallegedly collected by Joseph of Arimathea and brought from the Holy Land byThierry of AlsaceCount of Flanders. Church of Our Lady is a must to see Its tower, at 122.3 meters in height, remains the tallest structure in the city and the second tallest brickwork tower in the world (the tallest being the St. Martin's Church in Landshut, Germany), its most precious treasure within the church is a sculpture by Michelangelo of the Madonna and child around 1504. Its just a shame we run out of time visiting this place and we were soon on the bus bound for the Port of Calais where the duty free shop was the first call. A great trip out  I would recommend to anybody but perhaps another day there would have been nice.

Photos. (please note use the camera link to the left if you cant see the photos below)