As a primary school teacher it is my job to promote the value and importance of reading. When assessing, we are predominantly looking at two key aspects: Word recognition; can the children read the words on the page? And, language comprehension – can the children understand the words on the page?
Naturally, as a teacher, I need to know more than my children. Therefore when approached with the sign, “Sorry, camping closed!” in Larochette, Luxembourg, one would hope that an able Year 1 could possibly read and comprehend it.
Apparently, this sign did not mean, ‘set up camp, hook up to electric, wander off and explore the town and return to play football’. That’s me failing the KS1 reading SAT! It wasn’t even in French – most definitely English!
The campsite: Camping Birkelt (N49 47.109’ E006 12.626’) has an aire where you can access mains electric / water and ‘waste’ facilities for half the price of the camping ground. It even has its own surrounding bush so one can feel completely private. If you are using the campsite, you have access to all its facilities, whereas aire users pay an additional tariff for the use of swimming pool. The site is in a great location for exploring the northern areas of Luxembourg but also a great base to relax and enjoy, had it been open?
From here, is a short but steep descent through the woodland into the town centre of Larochette. It’s a beautiful walk that enables you to see the slate roofed houses protruding from the limestone cliffs. Luxembourg always seems to have a community feel, with the market place alive with music and wine and a band-stand for the children to play on. The pinnacle of the town has to be the medieval castle that hangs from its highest cliff.
A good walk up, (entirely possible with children who can be carried) you reach the castle’s entrance and for €4 per adult, children 3 and under are free, you’re in! It is so worth exploring! In its ‘eastern’ corner is the ‘Keep’ with an external wooden staircase and wooden box that leaves you hanging over the city. I am completely rubbish with heights, although perfectly safe, (Nabbie and Paul practically ran up them) my good husband left me crawling up the 33 step, external staircase with our youngest strapped to me. I was practically vomiting as I assessed the drop through each gap between the risers! Yet, we conquered it and even managed to hang over the town from its wooden box and appreciate the views!
Upon returning to the campsite, our electric had been cut off, weird – it wasn’t like it was closed? But we ploughed on, got the kids to *bed* and settled down with a beer before being alerted to torch light. “Wah, Paul it’s a murderer from the woods, you go!” Alas, it was the campsite owner reminding us that it was closed and could we kindly take our home elsewhere…
In our defence, my reason for remaining was due to it being Sunday, so I assumed that most places must close in Luxembourg on a Sunday? Therefore, we could pay Monday, when it opened again! We were also in an aire, according to our book of ‘Aires in Luxembourg’ and for these it’s generally a pay and go facility. Oh well, tomorrow morning, we were off…But not before exploring Luxembourg City and the Mossel Valley!
*bed – an opportunity to cavort around the campervan, relaying your day to your favourite toys through the method of interpretive dance; if you’re two!
This place is really worth the visit – A bustling metropolis of modern life wrapped around a historic core! Parking at Luxembourg City’s Park and Ride made for a ‘semi-easy’ drop off into the centre. This city is perfect for shopping, eating or people watching as the hours pass in the market square. Be sure to arrive just before lunch-time, as the cafes and restaurants are always bustling. Although one of the smallest nations, it’s easy to see why Luxembourg ranks in the top three richest nations in the world!
The UNESCO-listed Old Town, perched on the side of the cliff-top is well worth the view! Despite the fact that Paul and I had a heated discussion about directions; it really didn’t take away from the experience. Weaved within the architecture are staircases that appear like hobbit holes – amazing places for young children to explore but no good for a pushchair!
A meander through Chemin de la Corinche, dubbed ‘Europe’s most beautiful balcony’ really does live up to its name. Although quieter in October, it allows you to view the old town and the river whilst experiencing the city’s ancient charm. Made especially more quintessential if you’re eating the infamous macaroons, an absolute dream if you have a sweet tooth, (particularly the pistachio flavour!)
We weaved our way down a stretch of the Mossel to be greeted with vineyard upon vineyard. I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re among the prettiest in the world (me, being a wine connoisseur and all!) but I have tasted the most beautiful white wine I’ve ever experienced: Rent e Riefstack. Bottled in the local village; Schengen, it cost us €15 and it was worth every cent!
We happened to stumble across the most perfect local market that basically sold wine and cheese – I was happy to give up parenting for that one day just to binge and gorge myself, I imagined it, so that was to be enough! You see, I needed to remain responsible as Paul was suffering from acute sickness having just spent €22 on a slab of cheese no greater than the dimensions of a small pizza slice! I was happy to remind him that it could have been worse – the vendor originally tried selling us a tenth more for €34 euros. Eating that cheese and drinking that wine, did make me think ‘this is what heaven will be like!’
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