The train ride north to Ettelbruck only took about 20 minutes, followed by a 40 minute local bus to Vianden. This was tricky as I wasn’t sure where to alight, and I kept nodding off from lack of sleep. Finally we came to the town and I hopped out, exhausted by now that I’d been sitting for a while and needed sleep, checked my directions on the Kindle and noted that the hostel was ‘next to the Castle’. I looked up.
Before me lay a beautiful medieval town, with small houses and pubs and restaurants all nestled alongside the River Our. On the other side of the river, a single road ran up the hill, with pubs either side. Up, and up, and up. Above that, among the trees, stood the castle. I sighed, and began the walk up.
Vianden Youth Hostel was actually pretty good, and although I’d been put in a 12 bed dorm, there was nobody else there, which bode well for a good night’s sleep. I was still hopeful for some Judd mat gaardebounen, so after some directions from the receptionist to the only pub that served it in town, I walked all the way back down to the town to the Victor Hugo Pub. Mildly bemused at my attempt to pronounce the dish, it soon arrived, and clearly the German influence showed through as there was so much food it was served on two plates!
I polished off most of it, took some photos of the river and castle at night, and crawled back up the hill and to my bed, where a couple had now arrived in the dorm, and a successful day and and a half over, I slept.
In the morning I shared breakfast with the couple from the dorm – an Italian guy and Polish girl, who had popped over from France for the weekend. Very multi-cultural. I explained my trip would next involve a train from Luxembourg to Germany as the buses into Germany were not running on Sundays, and they offered me a ride with them to Luxembourg. We agreed to meet late morning, and I went to check out the castle.
Vianden Castle commands a fantastic view over the valley. While it’s underground several renovations, it is still pretty good to have a look around – a must anyway if you’ve walked all the way up there with your backpack. Of particular interest was a room with the genealogy of all the people who have owned the castle, with its origins dating back to the 10th century. Also interesting was considering its location in the country, the number of foreign dignitaries who have visited, as well as the films that have been made there (mental note: must watch Shadow of the Vampire now).
I met up with the others and we drove up another side hill to get a final view of the castle, before heading back to Luxembourg. It was quite nice to see the roads and various towns on the way – often the view from the train is very limited. I was dropped at the station, swapped details and I headed in to negotiate tickets.
Given the price of my ticket to Luxembourg, I’d quickly worked out buying train tickets at short notice was going to start costing me a reasonable amount. I knew roughly where I wanted to go, but not when, making advance tickets awkward. So I explained all this to the new DB Bahn rail attendant who looked very worried, but in her training was fortunately aware of the Inter-rail Flexi Global Pass, which (in my configuration) afforded me five days’ unlimited travel in the next ten, for me to decide on the day. As long as I could find a seat, I could go on any train without worrying about tickets or anything like that. Perfect.
I got that printed off and signed the documents, and ran, as I had only a few minutes before my planned train to Koblenz, and the next country of this trip – Germany.
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