Battle of the Bulge

Wednesday, 17th October 2018

As you pull out of the campsite in Bastogne you are faced with Ardennes Boissons – a drive-in off-license with plenty of parking for a vehicle the size of Alan. How could we drive past?

The selection of bottled beer was extensive and we wanted to buy some bottles of “Airborne” in honour of the American troops and the struggle to retain Bastogne and the Ardennes.

Ralf reluctantly, but successfully, completed his first museum visit at the Bastogne War Museum today. This involved him staying in the motorhome alone for the two and a half hours it took us to go round. He was waiting in the driver’s seat for us to return and although all was quiet when we exited the museum, he became quite vocal as we approached the vehicle but thankfully nothing untoward seemed to have happened in our absence. 

The museum itself is well laid out and very informative and certainly creates a sense of what it must have been like for civilians and the military alike on all sides to have been involved in the Battle of the Bulge in the depths of a harsh winter with limited food. In any crisis there are always individuals who rise to the challenge but countries expected so much of their young people in the two World Wars and so many of them were prepared to fight and make the ultimate sacrifice. But it is hard to imagine the majority of today’s generation making such a determined moral stand in the face of persistent shelling, extreme cold and hunger. We hope they will never be asked to again.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we should remember them.”

One of the dates mentioned was 23 December 1944, just 20 years before Robert was born. In some ways it seems much longer ago.

The Mardasson Memorial is an impressive tribute to the courage and sacrifice of so many young people.

From here we drove on to Luxembourg which is Ralf’s fourth European country.

We arrived in Luxembourg at a site in a car park identified in the Camperstop Europe guide which says you can stay overnight. However all the payment points state no longer than 10 hours and it wasn’t clear where we should park and whether or not it was possible to stay. Matilda, with Ralf to support her, went in search of clear instructions. The parking meters all seemed to cater for shoppers staying for a limited period as they charged by the hour. Matilda found a very helpful city employee who advised us that although overnight parking was strictly speaking illegal, it was OK to stay. We took him at his word so let’s hope so!

This is Matilda’s first visit to Luxembourg, but Robert came here inter-railing when he was 18. He remembered the bridges over the gorge in the centre on the city. Having parked up and paid a fee which took us to mid morning the next day we took a walk into town, following the park round as Ralf is neither accustomed to, nor necessarily comfortable in crowds. The park was peaceful and, as Robert predicted, brought us to beautiful views of the cathedral and bridges. Luxembourg is comparatively more expensive  than other countries in Europe as well as being very prosperous and affluent. Matilda cannot remember seeing anyone blowing leaves and debris off the hard shoulder anywhere else.

Walked today: 4.9 miles

Driving distance today: 48.59 miles

The current tour map:

Overnight location: n49’617º e6’124º
Parking Glacis [Luxembourg City]:

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