Dirty Dancing and Hiking in Luxembourg

How many of you remember the movie, Dirty Dancing? How can we forget Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey as they had the time of their lives despite the disapproval of Jennifer’s (Baby’s) parents. The film’s story takes place at a traditional family-oriented mountain resort not much different than where Tanya and Jay spent an early September weekend.

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While our dancing could hardly be considered dirty we did have a pretty good time at the Eden au Lac overlooking the small town of Echternach, in eastern Luxembourg, just over the river Sauer from Germany.img_2647img_2646

Something that is fascinating for Americans is how different two next door countries can be. As soon as you cross the small river from Germany into Luxembourg, the roads are smaller, the traffic is slower and, of course, people speak French (or Luxembourgish). The whole flavor of the place is different. It’s something you just don’t experience, for comparison, when crossing the Interstate Bridge from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, Washington. Echternach is a cute little medieval town steeped in religious history. The town, now population 5,400, grew up around an abbey which was founded in 698. The abbey still stands and is the primary tourist attraction of the town. But for us, we were more interested in just kicking back on this fall weekend, enjoying the resort and doing some hiking nearby.

Staying at Eden au Lac is like stepping back in time, at least to the 1960’s. The old-style front desk is very prim and features a very French desk manager who hands out room keys affixed to heavy attached weights decorated with deep red tassels. This place is straight out of a Peter Sellers’ movie. Think Inspector Clusseau asking, “Do you have a rrrrooom?” The resort features outdoor and indoor pools, sauna and the rest of the sort of spa amenities one expects. The place closes in the winter but during summer months you get the idea that the same families have been coming here for decades. Pretty relaxing.

We spent one day hiking on the nearby Müllerthal Trail which is actually a series of trails in the area west of Echternach. The area is known as the “Luxembourgish Switzerland” but that’s a pretty big misnomer since it’s actually nothing like Switzerland. This is Luxembourg after all with the elevation of the trail never exceeding 1,300 feet. But, it is pretty and there are some challenging sections. One of the trail’s features is the “Schiessentümpel Cascades” which is mentioned in every tourist publication as something quite noteworthy. For people from the Pacific Northwest of the US the falls could be considered to be not that big a deal but visitors here were enjoying themselves out in the woods so that’s a good thing.

Whether you want to dance dirty or get dirty hiking, this part of Luxembourg is worth a visit.

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