The last night that I camped in Belgium, I didn’t pay enough attention. I just put up my tent on a sort of flat field and went to bed. Next morning I noticed a strong smell. Cowshit. Shit, that field had been sprinkled (fertilized?) probably the day before. How could I have missed that?
Not only my tent, but also everything that was in there, so e-ve-ry-thing I carried with me, smelled shitty. This is how my hike through Luxembourg became a very very smelly one. I can’t think of this part of my journey without thinking or smelling poep.
On top of that, I had a bit of bad luck with the weather. The rain and the grey skies made me to spend more time in my tent than usual. The nights were long and yeah, smelly. But OK, enough about that shit. Let’s change the subject: the hills.
Luxembourg is a small country, but as all Luxembourgers say, it’s very unique. Ve-ry unique! It probably is for many different reasons, but I kind of skipped all the cultural highlights and immersed myself with (in?) nature. The highlight definitely was the Mullerthal. After de GR57 which followed the Ourthe to Diekirch, I switched to the Mullerthaltrail. A beautiful route through a fairy tail forest. Everything is green, everywhere are plants, but the sandstone rocks make it truly special. I can try to describe, but I can also add some photos. I think that will do the trick.
Another characteristic or perhaps unique feature of Luxembourg are the hills. I know, hills are nothing special, but those hills are. They’re covered with forest, they’re surprisingly steep what makes the valleys narrow and often a bit dark. From the valley it seems impossible to go up. The trees form a big green wall that shouts “don’t you dare!” But I did dare and oefff my legs.
Brilliant hiking trails like the Escarpardenne LEE trail show you the way. Up, down, up, down. Forests full with animals. You smell them, hear them, but only sometimes see them. Deers, wild pigs and heaps of birds. And then all of the sudden, the forest stops. Trees are gone and you enter the highlands. Sweet meadows with farms, villages and chapels. It’s like the country has two faces, light and dark. Wide and narrow. Up and down. Open and closed.
The nature in Luxembourg is beautiful, the trails are great. Real, well maintained, signposted hiking trails. I believe Luxembourg is well organized, it’s clean, neat and maybe therefore a bit stiff. The villages looked nice, but didn’t feel warm. People were proud, but closed. Just like the shops. On Sunday, OK. But also on Saturday afternoon, Monday morning, daily between 12.00 and 14.00 sometimes even until 16.00. And shopping after work is impossible, at 18.00 all doors are closed. This made it a real challenge to feed myself in time. But I survived.
After the Mullerthal trail and the Escarpardenne LEE trail, I sort of followed the GR5 that brought me to the border with Germany. It was only one week, Luxembourg ís a very small country indeed. In 6 days I hiked 132 kilometer and had one day off. There were hardly any other hikers, I haven’t seen many people at all. Most of the nights I camped out in the wild, except for the last.
The last night that I camped in Luxembourg, I did pay attention. I intentionally went to a small café in a village that nearly had 10 houses. They let me camp on the parking lot (a very nice one) and put my clothes in the drycleaner. This is how I got rid of the smelly cowshit smell and how I left the country with one warm encounter after all.