The last week has been just about as rainy as rainy can be here in ole Deutschland, but the week before was sublimely beautiful, so I guess I can’t complain too much.
Last Sunday I spent one of the most enjoyable days of the last year hiking through the rocks and cliffs, gorges, and crevasses (new favorite word) of the area of Luxembourg known as “Little Switzerland” with some new friends.
Jessica and her husband Aaron (that only got confusing a few times – Jessica and I have to refer to our husbands as “My Aaron” and “Your Aaron”) put the hike together for Aaron, me, and another couple we’ve been able to get to know over the past few months.
The day was absolutely beautiful – 55 degrees and gorgeously sunny. We met at a little inn and restaurant in the village of Mullerthal called Heringer Millen. The place was a bakery as well, and when I saw the bread laid out to cool on the wooden tables in an empty side-room, I was sorely tempted to snag a baguette or two for the hike. Thankfully my morals held strong, and we left without any instance of larceny.
The hike was through several miles of hilly woodland, and underneath some of the most majestic rock faces I’ve ever seen. They reminded me of something straight out of Lord of the Rings, and could easily have been either the Walls of Moria or the creepy hills that led down to the Paths of the Dead.
The area actually did remind me of Switzerland – at least the area around the base of the alps where we spent a pleasant week last summer.
We stopped for a lunch break after about 45 minutes of hiking, and munched on our sandwiches as we looked out onto the tilled agricultural areas we could glimpse through the trees.
As we continued our hike, we passed families, groups of runners, couples speaking every language of Western Europe, and of course a few Americans as well. This area of Luxembourg (known as “Little Switzerland”) is only about an hour and 15 minutes from Buechel, 50 from Spangdahlem, and an hour and a half from Ramstein, (the huge base Air Force Base to the east) so I was not surprised to see quite a few Americans sporting military-style haircuts.
After several hours of hiking, lots of chatting, a fair amount of gorge-climbing, and several close encounters with slippery logs, we arrived at our destination: the town of Consdorf. The last few hundred yards of the path led us through fields and over a muddy path, which deposited us in the small, quiet town, the only visible inhabitant of which seemed to be a massive and lazy English bulldog. We soon noted a small pub however, and entering to seek something to satisfy our thirst, we saw several other hikers and (apparently) locals sitting around tables in the dark interior and watching a soccer (er… “football”) game and sipping on tall glasses of pale beer.
Matt, one of our fellow hiking friends and a beer expert, advised us on the different types offered at the establishment. Soon we were kicking our muddy boots back, sipping cool beers, and laughing and chatting as we talked about our jobs, our lives, our families back home, and everything else under the sun.
After a pleasant hour or so in Consdorf, we began our hike back to Mullerthal. The way back was accomplished with much more speed – we no longer felt the need to wander down every side path in search of a steep gorge. We made it back to the cars while the sun was still high in the sky, and headed back to Germany for dinner together before starting the week.
As (my) Aaron said: “We have to remember this in the future! It’s an inexpensive trip with massive payback in terms of scenery.” As usual, I couldn’t have said it better myself.