Inaugural Voyage of the "Scenic Crystal"
24 April- Luxembourg
Luxembourg – Trier – Bernkastel
This morning is a Scenic choice program- you may select from 1 of 3 tours offered. It will be busy As we have to be back on the Scenic Crystal as it sails to Rudesheim at 2 pm. Sherry and I selected the Luxembourg tour as it was cloudy and we could have showers, so we thought that maybe the weather would be better going West. But that did not happen.
We were up really early and had a coffee and tried to get online with no luck. We checked out the Early Riser Breakfast menu, It was continental style: Yogurt – plain or flavored , muslei , fruit pastries and muffins. Since it was going to be a full day we headed to the dining room for a full breakfast.
Departed for Luxembourg around 8 am for a 1 ½ hour motor coach ride west . The city is also the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. For more than a thousand years, the city has developed into thriving member of the EU.
It is one of the three official EU capitals, hosting the General Secretariat of the European Parliament, the European Court of Justice and the European Investment Bank. Modern office buildings stand beside thick bastions and battlement gates- structures of the former Luxembourg fortress. Started in 963 it was continually extended of the subsequent centuries by foreign powers among others Spanish, French, Austrian and Prussian rulers. Today’s population of 92,000 is 60% foreigners contributing to the international culture as experienced in restaurants, cafes and shops.
So we arrived at the Statue Geile Fra, by the bus station, and headed out for our walking tour. Boy was the umbrella a good thing to take. It was a cool day with wind and on and off rain showers. A note, for most of Europe you have to pay for public washrooms ( WC-wash closets). Average prices are around euro .50.. The tour was interesting, however because of the weather most of us were not very attentive. We did visit the Cathedrale and a few other places, it was not busy with tourists.
Our tour guide was going to take us to more Roman fortifications but we were cold so I spoke up and said it would nice to get a good hot chocolate or coffee. The guide asked everyone and it was unanimous , hot chocolate instead of Roman ruins… Well, she took us to a fantastic pastry and coffee house, “Chocolate House-Nathalie Bonn", it was right across from the Palais Grand-Ducal. (Palace –residence that was used occasionally by the Royal Family.
Everything decadent was here- cakes, pastries , all forms and shapes of chocolate. The hot chocolate was solid chocolate on a spoon – Chocospoon with around 50 flavors you should find something you will enjoy. They steamed the hot milk and you put the spoon into the cup and swirled it around.
With this stop we were late in leaving for the 1 ½ hour drive back to the Scenic Crystal and the bus driver made up some time and we were back at 2 pm. Sylvie , our cruise director, was happy to see us and rushed us onboard and away we went at 2:30.
We went up to the Sun deck to enjoy this beautiful stretch of the Moselle Valley. Along the way we were told to sit down as the crew took down shade umbrellas and the wheel-house lowered itself – low bridge ahead. All you had to do was stand up and stretch out your hand upward and you would touch the underside of the stone/brick bridge.
This afternoon included a demonstration of various glass blowing techniques, of course you could purchase many items that were made. Very interesting to see the expertise required. Tried the Bitburger beer and was pleasantly surprised, a light beer with a slight taste of hops. We also tried “Underberg” , a digestif bitter. Made of aromatic herbs from 43 countries. Ok but would not rush out to buy some.
Dinner at 7 pm . Tomorrow will be cruising through the Rhine River Gorge to Rudesheim for the afternoon Christening Ceremony of the MS Scenic Crystal.