The Vancouver Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on June 26, 1999 · 137
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The Vancouver Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada · 137

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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Issue Date:
Saturday, June 26, 1999
Page:
137
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When you mm your BC TEL Calling Card, call 1-800-55 5-1111. WEEKEND COMICS, J5 KIDS & COMICS, J12 TRAVEL For oasler access from the U.S. and Canada. SECTION J EDITOR MIGUEL MOYA 605-2124 FAX (.05 2521 The Vancouver Sun SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1999 1 ii A 1 . , 2r " -s. JsW EL A h ' GRAND DUCHY: Luxembourg's old town skyline seen from across the deep gorge that runs through the city. In Luxembourg the national motto is "We want to stay what we are!" -Urn PAUL AMESAP Luxembour ?Jf.l will I A wnrln Once a crossroads for the Romans and later coveted by warring European powers, the grand duchy is a land from another age. i,7' V T7 N1IM UNI V M,.nlfr.M,.fll OFTY VIEW: Luxembourg is a fantasy city conic to life. PETER LENEY FOR SOUTI IAM NEWSPAJ'ERS LUXEMBOURG In a world of kings and presidents, a grand duke seems a romantic image from the past. With a tiny realm dotted with castles and a handsome capital city perched on a cliff, this must be a fantasy world. In fact, we're describing the grand duchy of Luxembourg, a survivor of another age, in the heart of Europe. Surrounded by Germany, France and Belgium, Luxembourg was once a crossroads lor the Romans and a prize for the conquering armies of the I lapsburgs, the French and the Prussians, all of whom coveted its cliff-top setting. But it was never a tourist hot spot. Not until recently, that is, when the ducny's authorities started to take the travel industry seriously. The duchy renovated the capital's old quarter and developed self-guided walking tours through its 1,000-year-old fortress past. In Vm, UNESCO declared the old town and its fortress remains a World I leritagc Site. The romance of Luxembourg strikes you when you arrive by train. The city looks like an old engraving: sitting on high rock cliffs, Cartially clad with old stone walls, with a sil-ouettc of towers and turrets and the triple spires of its cathedral. Complementing the antique image are two stone arch bridges resembling Roman aqueducts that span a gorge from the city centre to the railway station. On a map, the grand duchy looks small. But at 2,000 square kilometres, it's not a small city state like Monaco (two square kilometres) or a miniature like Liechtenstein (160 square kilometres). Despite the size, Luxembourg Is geographically and economically diverse, from the forested Ardennes hills In the north to rolling farmland in the south, and from wine-making on the Moselle River In the east to the steel industry in the southwest that launched the country's prosperity in the last century Dutch and Belgian tourists flock to the area outside the city, to camp, hike and rock-climb in the hilly north. The area offers extensive hiking and bicycling trails. In fact, youth hostels are joined by hiking trails. So frenzied was castle-building in medieval times, that you'll encounter a castle, castle ruin or castle remains every eight kilometres. Ruling this realm, as head of state, is Grand-Duke Jean, a slim, kindly-looking moustached monarch in his early 80s, who is beloved by his 400,000 subjects. He and his wife (the sister of the king of Briefing: Getting there, t accommodation, information Belgium) make regular public appearances, chiefly around June 23, National Day, which is celebrated as the grand duke's birthday. So what is a grand duchy? Simply a land ruled by a grand duke. Luxembourg has been one since 1815, when the Congress of Vienna raised it from a mere duchy. But the name Luxembourg goes back much further. It first appeared in a 963 AD document that gave ownership of a rocky wedge of high ground to one Count Sigefroi. The fortress he built on the "Bock Promontory" is considered the cradle of the city. SEE LUXEMBOURG, JIO A VISIT TO A MEDIEVAL CASTLE, 3 Getting there: Luxembourg's national carrier Luxair flies from Newark four times weekly. The service began last March after Icelandalr ceased Its long time role connecting Luxembourg to North America. From Canada, KLM flies to Amsterdam and Sabena to Brussels, both an easy jump to Luxembourg by either air or rail. Within Europe: Luxembourg Is three hours, plus or minus half an hour, by train from major cities such as Paris and Frankfurt The most scenic train ride is from Frankfurt; the route follows the hill-lined Rhine and Moselle rivers. The train to Luxembourg runs right through Frankfurt airport. Accommodation: Convenient hotels are near the railway station if a slightly night-club atmosphere doesn't bother you. The friendly Hotel Bristol on rue de Strasbourg, for example, offers a tiny but clean room for $70 a night. For bigger budgets, the Grand Hotel Cravat is the grande dame of Luxembourg hotels on Place de la Constitution Square downtown. Rates from (250 to $300 a night. Information: Luxembourg National Tourist Office,! rue du Fort Thungon, P.O. Box 1001. L1010 Luxembourg. Phone: 352 42 82 82 10; fax: 352 42 82 82 38. Email: tourismtont.smtp.etnt.lu On the Wob: f)flp.Aww.e(af.ufoursm Belgium l', Germany Luxembourg , " jLuxeibourg ' ; ' France -''''V-'''. IRELAND, f P DENMAftfA Minnto BU.GIWI v GERMANY A LUXEMBOURG S.- 1 PORrUGAL ,i' "iAUSTRI FRANCE TN V "I Mediterranean Sc.ij, Coming In Tuesday's Travel section: Wilderness hiking under a big sky in the Southern Chilcotin i rulse thr Yangtzeone of the world's most famou riven, and the lifeline of China. View the breathtaking uencry along the magnificent 1hrr Gorge ever t hanging soon to Ik lost due to a mauUe hydroelectric project. lU-ljlng Shanghai Yangtze River Cruise Xl'att October 23 November 5, 1999 i i- mv- i iw3 Tun. o ;.! -ttv ICAA MtMBtRS NON MtMBtRS 3,695 3795 pt pnt two ilrirm 1 y

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