Gadget by The Blog Doctor.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Europe 08 Paris to Trier

An early start this morning. Our cases had to be out in the corridor by 6:30 am. Then our last breakfast in Paris. After breakfast I identified our luggage to Lilo, the cruise director. This is a process that ensures only tour member's luggage is taken on to the bus.

At about 8:10 our bus left the hotel for a five hour drive to Luxembourg.

It was a pleasant enough drive, but convinced up that we would not want to travel like that for the whole holiday.

We had a quick lunch in the a take away shop in the central square and then went on a walking tour with a local guide. During the tour we saw some of the sights of the town and were told of the history of the Grand Dutchy, which dates back to 963. Over many centuries Luxembourg has been buffeted by the large countries that surround it - France, Germany and Belgium.

For details of the history of Luxembourg see this link.

Luxembourg is a parliamentary democracy headed by a constitutional monarch, the Grand Duke. On our walk around the town we saw the building were the Grand Duke conducts his business. There was one soldier marching up and down outside it, and we made jokes about the location of the other two members of the Luxembourg army. (While researching when we arrived home I discovered that the Luxembourg army has about 800 members.

The guide told us that there are three official languages in Luxembourg - Luxembourgish, French and German. Luxembourgish is similar to the German dialect spoken in neighbouring parts of Germany.

We also saw parts of the old city walls.

Even though it is tiny, about 2,586 square kilometres, Luxembourg has an important role in Europe. It was one of the six founding members of the European Economic Community which became the European Union. It hosts some of the functions of the EU and the majority of the population are not native born Luxenbourgers.

After the tour we drive on to Trier, which is the oldest German history, boasting Roman ruins over 2000 years old. There are two sets of Roman baths, and Imperial Residence, Ampitheatre and part of the Roman wall, called the Black Gate.

We briefly drove around the town and passed a house where Karl Marx had once lived. Unfortunately we only had a brief bus tour of the town. At the time we were not particularly concerned about that because we were interested in getting to the ship.

Our ship, the Amadagio was docked at the port of Trier, which like many other docks was quite ugly. On embarkation we were given the keys to our room and settled in. After a while the crew brought our cases and we put our clothes away in the wardrobe and draws and pushed the cases under the bed not to be disturbed for three weeks.

The cabin was quite not as big as a hotel room, but was still quite comfortable. There was a double bed, desk with computer (which had free access to the Internet, music and films), a toilet, washbasin and shower room. It also had a large window which could be opened wide.

We all gathered in the lounge at the front of the boat to be introduced to the crew. The most memorable part of this was the entertaining safety talk given by the Captain. Although he was hilarious, the Captain conveyed the important safety information. The crew is from four main nations - German, Russian/Ucranian, German, Romanian and Bulgarian. All speak excellent English.

After the introduction of the crew, we adjourned to the restaurant. The meal was excellent. I had a very tender medium steak.

After dinner we were entertained by La Strada a group that consistd of two violinists and a guitarist. They played a range of popular light classics by Verdi, Chopin, Revel and some gypsy music.

We happily returned to our cabin and during the night the ship unmoored and headed to our next destination.

The diagrams below show the deck plans of the ship. Our cabin was 331, next to the Gym and aft lounge.

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