The monuments of Sarlat la Canéda

January 2023,

It feels good to be back in the Lot department. The busy market in Prayssac is still there and the home made chicken has the same delicious taste. I show my partner some interesting places and we even go back to my former house sit in Frayssinet-le-Gélat. The owner asks if we can look after the cat for a couple of weeks, after the chateau sit? Maybe next time? I can’t resist a quick hike to the desolated chateau, just outside the village. This time covered with a thin layer of snow!

It is nice to explore some new places too. For example, the gorgeous town Sarlat-la-Canéda, just across the Dordogne river. In the summer this place is overwhelmed by tourists, but today we are together with the locals.

We choose a sunny day for this visit and it takes us around one hour by car to get there. It is said that Sarlat has the highest concentration of monuments per square meter in the world!

Saint Marie Church, with the huge steel door, is converted into a covered market and cultural centre. The Gothic structure has plenty of new elements inside the building.

Sainte Marie Church Sarlat

Statues, a chapel, the Carolingian abbey, spooky old mansions and cobbled streets are all part of this interesting town, where history goes back to the 11th century!

Besides the historical highlights, there are plenty of stores with regional products; walnuts, chestnuts, black truffles, foie gras, porcini mushrooms and so much more. Market day in Sarlat is famous and well visited. Today we enjoy our peaceful stroll through the ancients streets, drink coffee outside in the winter sun and have a tasty lunch in one of the many restaurants.

Sarlat la Canéda, the capital of the Périgord Noir, is a treasure!

Day trip to Besalú, Banyoles and Castellfollit

January, 2023

Most visitors to the Costa Brava stay on the coast. They don’t realize that the inner country has so much more to offer. On the slopes of the Pyrenees, in the Garrotxa Natural Park, you will find many medieval towns, old volcanoes, lakes and wild rivers. Besalú is well-known for the stunning romanesque bridge over the river Fluvia. The small medieval town has strong Jewish influences and two romanesque churches. To enjoy the scenery and the views over the bridge, it is best to visit early!


From Besalú it is only a short drive to one of the smallest towns in Catalonia; Castellfollit de la Roca. It is built on a 50-meter high clifftop and right at the crossing of the Fluvià and Toronell river.

There is not much to visit in the village itself, except the Romanesque Iglesia de Sant Salvador, located in a spectacular setting! From the centre, a hiking path brings you all the way down to the river. While standing on a small bridge, you see high above the houses and the church clinging to the edge of the basalt cliff. Very impressive!

Catellfollit de la Roca

Banyoles is our last stop for today. It changed into a bigger city, but the lake still kept it’s charm. Famous, as in 1992 the Olympic rowing races took place on the pristine waters. At this time of the year not much is happening, but it is a popular recreation area during the warmer months.

After a short stroll around, we decide to have a late lunch/early dinner. We are lucky to find an empty spot in one of the restaurants close to the lake side. They serve a delicious three-course menu with fish, including wine for 20 euro a person. After our meal, we witness the sun going down over the water and take some last pictures, before driving back to the coast.

Mullerthal trail and wine town Saarburg

September, 2022

Our next trip brings us to the stunning medieval Beaufort Castle in the Mullerthal. It was built in three different periods, between 1150 and 1650. The neighbouring Renaissance castle, dates from the 17th century and can only be visited on a guided tour. This is also the starting point of various hikes, which are one of the leading quality trails of Europe! To choose which hike is best is not easy, but we don’t regret our choice; B1, which is a 10 km loop and will take us around three hours to complete.

In comparison with all the other hikes we undertook in Luxembourg, this one is pretty easy, as the sloops are gentle with no steep climbs. It is also by far the most impressive loop. Grandiose nature with majestic sandstone rock formations, many species of mosses, wild vegetation and small water courses. We hike through crevices and the last half an hour along a fast moving stream.

As always, our trip lasts longer than expected. Not that we are slow, but we take too many pictures! After arriving back, there is just enough time for a quick tour over the castle grounds. In the small Dutch owned hostel on the other side of the road, we grab a nice cold beer, before heading back to Lenningen.

Luxembourg is great for hiking, but the towns lack some atmosphere and are not as quaint as the German cities and villages. Time to go over the border! We cross the nearest bridge and are in Germany. After a quick and scenic 17 km drive, we arrive in Saarburg, situated along the river Saar. It was founded more than 1050 years ago by Siegfried, Earl of Luxembourg. People also call the town “Little Venice”, as many water ways run through it. There is even a waterfall going almost 20 meters down!

As soon as we enter the old centre, we notice it is the weekend of the famous wine festival! The Saar valley is known for the production of many great Mosel wines. Three days long Saarburg is celebrating the coming harvest. Wine stalls are present in the main street, a parade takes place and of course the coronation of the Saar-Obermosel Wine Queen.

Like everybody else, we first buy two glasses. Those will be filled with a lovely Mosel wine. You keep the glasses, while walking through the wine street. There is music on different corners and many people are flocking together. We just go with the flow and it doesn’t take long, before the big Parade is making it’s way through the main street. Wine is now all over the place! Just hold your glass and it will be topped up!!! Dionysos himself is also present; God of the grape-harvest, wine making, vegetation, fertility and festivity.

Although the wines are very tasty, it is time to grab a bite and do some more exploring of the surroundings of town. A wise decision, as the many eateries will soon be occupied by all the other visitors.

At the end of the day, we walk high up to the ruins of the Castle, towering over the river Saar. Burg Saarburg was built by Siegfried in 964. It is one of the oldest castles of Germany. The last steps to the panoramic platform are to steep for me, but not for my partner!

Luxembourg city and charming Echternach

September, 2022

After a few days of hiking, it is time to soak up some culture in the cities. In Luxembourg, public transport is free and easy. From Lenningen we get to the nearest terminus and hop on the train to the capital. The central station is on walking distance from the centre of town. Today will be very hot and perfect to visit one of the many museums. It will be nice to have some air conditioning! Around the station many renovations are taking place and we didn’t expect to see all these beggars!

The town is divided in high and low. It is not really a place for old people, although there is an elevator to go from down town to high town.

There are a couple of museums with a similar name and it makes things rather complicated! We walk all the way down in the heat to discover, that we arrive at the National Museum of Natural and History. Wrong one! Our goal is Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art, which is in the upper city. It means we have to climb all the way up again (in the heat). Supposingly, there is also a City History Museum, to make it even more complicated!

Our museum has a permanent collection about the town’s development, on the 5 lower levels. The temporary exhibits are on the higher levels. The entrance for the permanent exhibit is free. There is so much to see, that we will go back later in the week for the current exhibition: ‘Iran between times’, ‘Luxembourg’s colonial past’ and ‘The Rape of Europe’ (on Putin’s Russia), from artist Maxim Kantor.

The lower levels are underground and the combination of modern and old flows together in this very interesting museum!


Echternach is the second and oldest city we are visiting during our stay. It is situated in the famous Mullerthal region or ‘Little Switzerland’. In summer the town is probably overloaded with arriving and departing tourist buses, but now in september it is quiet again. We take our time to explore and admire the many medieval buildings. In the Romanesque Basilica, the tomb of Saint Willibrord, the patron saint of Luxembourg, is visible in the crypt.

The Musée de L’Abbaye is situated in the vaulted basement of the former Benedictine monastery. It offers a very interesting facsimiles collection of many impressive manuscripts, created in the scriptorium. Furthermore, there are various artifacts in relation to Saint Willibrord (founder of the Abbey in the 7th century) and the history of Luxembourg. All displayed in a stunning decor!

We stroll through the park and discover the bridge over the river Sauer, which connects Luxembourg with Germany. The old customs (zoll) house reminds of former times, when crossing the borders was more complicated!

Later in the afternoon, we walk to one of the quaint squares, for a glass of wine (or two) and some delicious ‘flammkuchen’.


Three cats and La Moselle in Luxembourg.

23rd of August, 2022

Our next house and cat sit is in Lenningen, a tiny village in southern Luxembourg. The area is surrounded by vineyards and the river La Moselle is on walking distance. It is a perfect place to discover the many hiking trails, visit the capital Luxembourg and drive across the bridge to Germany.

The cats only visit us when they are hungry, or when they find it necessary to offer a gift. That will be a mouse, dead or alive and preferable under the dining table. Sometimes we don’t see them for one or two days. The moment I start worrying, they show up again, finish their bowls of food and disappear to one of the bedrooms. I think they see us as a nuisance….

The river La Moselle takes it’s source at a height of 735 meters, on the slopes of the Vosges and flows into the Rhine at Koblenz. The banks of the river are covered with vineyards.

The most popular hikes are called “Traumschleife” or “Dream Loops”.  We start with the ‘Wine and Nature Path Palmberg’. It begins at the village of Ahn, famous for the 11 wine houses. The 9 km trail goes straight up, through different wineries, along a small river with jungle-like scenery and offers panoramic views. The height difference is around 313 meters. It ends at winery Jeff Konsbrück; the perfect spot to relax with a glass of delicious white wine, some bites, and a view over the village.

Our second “Traumschleife” is the Mantenacher Fiels and we fully enjoy this 9.6 km loop with a height difference of 275 meters. We pass wild streams, old bridges and enormous rock formations.

At times, the path becomes narrow and steep. Once we arrive on a plateau of farmland, the landscape changes from lushy green to golden yellow. The next moment we enter a small vineyard on the lower level and a private weekend cabin in the middle of nowhere. Finally, we arrive back at the Nature Conservation Centre ‘A Wiewesh’ in Manternach. On the terrace some refreshments are waiting and also a sample of the Mantenacher white wine. You don’t get a bill; just pay a fair price and put the coins in a box!

The third Traumschleife is called ‘Schengen Without Borders’. In this small village on the south-eastern site of Luxembourg, the borders of France, Germany and Luxembourg meet. In 1985 the famous Schengen Agreement was signed on a river cruise ship. On the 19th of June 1990, the Convention for the concrete implementation of this agreement was supplemented. It meant border-free travel within European member countries. The local museum gives an insight into this historical event.

Our 8.5 km loop starts at the Tourist Information Centre. We have to climb the Stromberg and the height difference will be around 330 meters. Although it is a pretty steep hike, our effort will be rewarded with a stunning view over the river Moselle!