Susi and Austin's

Travelling the Rivers and

Canals of Europe


Thionville, Wasserbillig and Luxembourg

Saturday 2 July 2022 4:58 PM

Well, we didn’t get checked by the water police in Thionville, or beyond. Maybe the Lodi is looking more dignified and less “pirate" than the Freshwater. 

A friend recently asked me, what we like about the Lodi and what we miss about the Freshwater. After getting used to the new dimensions and handling her in locks, like we would have to with any new boat, we are so pleased with her. Unlike the Freshwater, who puttered to start up and enveloped whoever was moored behind us in a big cloud of smoke, Lodi's engine just goes into a purr without any noticeable smoke or diesel smell. We love the roomy back deck which is fitted with comfortable seats and where we have all our meals. And we don’t miss having to take the bimini and sometimes even the windows down to fit under low bridges.

I have to say that at first, I did miss the  Freshwater’s fly bridge from where we could look down from some heights onto the lowly plebs.

But the washing machine on board more than makes up for it. No more cycling on bikes stacked front and back with dirty laundry bags, scrounging coins up to feed the hungry washing machines. And no more sitting for hours on plastic chairs (if available at all) in scruffy, tiled laundromats and cleaning filters off lint left behind by previous users!

But back to Thionville, where along the waterfront, as part of summer celebrations, pavilions with fairy lights were set up harbouring quaint bars, restaurants, crêpe and ice cream parlours.

We had seen most of the town in previous years, but came across a medieval lane, called Rue de la Tour, with a row of turret staircases. Close by was a curved street once built against the townwall, called Rue Brûlée. Being only familiar with Crème Brûlée, it intrigued me to learn that the entire street was burned down by a 

blazing fire. Thus the name!

We were joined at the mooring by a German/Austrian crew on a hire boat, and luckily we both had found a fairly stable part of the otherwise quite damaged pontoon. Some of the metal was bent out of shape and a gate only hung on by a couple of screws. It is a free mooring but not risk 

free, as the commercial barges race past day and night creating a huge wash and drag on any craft close by. 

The sport boat pontoon in Wasserbillig is just as unstable and one has to watch one’s step walking over loose planks and stepping over protruding fixtures. But we like the place for its vicinity to the railway station. This last little town in Luxembourg at the German border is an interesting place. As Luxembourg has no tax on cigarettes and alcohol, there is a coming and going across the borders to the little outlets that sell cigarettes, booze and coffee by the buckets!

To compensate for the current high costs of gas and fuel, train, bus and tram rides are all free in Luxembourg. You didn’t have to tell that to Austin twice and already we were sitting on the train to Luxembourg city. It is always a joy to visit the lofty capital with its Ducal Palace, fortifications and wonderful Notre Dame Cathedral.  We had a nice walk-about and when we needed a rest I had the chance to try the local “Kniddelen” (Knödel or dumplings - much like the Austrian Spätzle) fried with strips of bacon and served with applesauce. Fattening but delicious! 

Some more walking was required after this indulgence until we cooled off in the National Museum of History and Art. This modern museum has a great display of the city’s and Grand Duchy’s history. From the fortified castle built by Count Siegfried on the Bock promontory, it has become the most fortified city. Over several centuries the diverse occupiers like the Spanish, French, Austrians and Germans have added walls, bastions and a network of casemates that could shelter thousands of people, including horses, artillery, workshops, kitchens, bakeries and slaughterhouses. We had walked through these underground galleries in 2014, so we saved our energy for a walk to Lidl back in Wasserbillig, before heading across the German border and into the Saar River the next day.

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