It is obvious that delegations could not leave Diekirch and Luxembourg without having visited, at least a little, their hosting country. That is why, on Monday December 7th, the LTH of Diekirch had organized a common excursion for the participants.
At the crack of dawn, people gathered in front of the church to board the two buses that would take them to Luxembourg-city, first stop in an array of destinations. Starting point in the capital was a visit of part of the vast underground bunkers, which were element of the city’s military defence system, the latter being usually closed to the larger public. The guide, Romain Schaus waited for half of the group at the entrance of one of the bunkers situated at the park Ed. Klein in the city centre. Very talkative, he took the participants on a walk into the maze of tunnels which are inter-connected. This visit was a real lesson of history because for centuries the capital of Luxembourg was shaken by the hazards of being conquered and reconquered.
A little later, the visit of the old town or rather the historic centre with in particular a walk past the front of the Grand-ducal palace and its guard, an impassive soldier who could care less about the flashes and photos, which were taken.
On the square in front of the city hall, where the Christmas market is held, the participants were entitled to a self-tour of an hour and each and every one took advantage of it to walk around for some purchases or simply to mix with the Luxemburgers and soak up the general atmosphere.
Third stop: the Bernard Massard cellars, not just sponsor of Christmas in Europe but also important wine-grower and wine-maker in Luxembourg. Under the lead of Christophe Rieu, person in charge of the tourism department at the company, participants had the possibility to take part in a visit which gave an almost complete insight into the wine-making business and its various stages; all of it illustrated by a video which highlighted the vigour of the Luxembourgish wines, in particular those of the hillsides of the Moselle, which runs very close. Finally, the tasting of an excellent glass of Crémant (sparkling wine) ended this oenological stage, followed for some by the purchase of some of these bottles!
Last stop and an inescapable must-see in Luxembourg was the visit of the impressive fortress of Vianden, whose origins go back up to the middle of the 5th century. It survived nine different periods until the Luxemburg State bought it in 1977 and has since been undergoing exhaustive restoration. Both official tour guides (one for each group) made it a duty to take the visitors from “the cellar to the attic” with many explanations at key.
It was 5 pm by the time the group got back to Diekirch. Just enough time resume to regain some strength for the gala evening planned at 7 pm.