It took us approximately two hours and twenty minutes to get from Luxembourg to Bastogne, Belgium, about 44.5 km (27.6 miles). The itinerary included taking a 20-minute train ride to Mersch where we took a 5-minute bus ride to Ettelbruck. The last section took us the longest; we salute the bus driver for her skill and bravery.
As is our custom, we use seat belts in buses, when available. Shortly after starting off from Ettelbruck we begin descending the Ardennes, a very steep and forested mountain range in Belgium. After a near collision in one of the hairpin turns, we heard the other passengers clicking in their seat belts–the scare frightening them into safety.
We alighted at the McAuliffe square, so called because General McAuliffe reputedly responded “Nuts!” from this location to the German’s request for surrender. We ate lunch at the Jack Friteria (right) located in the square; Dennis recalled eating here with his military buddies back in the 60s when they came by motorcycles to visit the war museums and monuments.
We went to the Gare de Sud, the south bus station, to make plans for traveling to La Gleize on Saturday. We had to wait for a bus to arrive to find out how to do this. Turns out Michel de Trez will be picking us up at the B & B and driving us to the museum where he has arranged for an interview with Dennis that will be aired on Belgium National TV. How cool is that? We are off to buy Dennis non-hiking clothes; it will be strange to see him dressed up again.
There are 44 museums, monuments and historical things to do in Bastogne. One of them is the Musée en Piconrue (left), which displays some WWII artifacts and sells books about the 101st Airborne in Bastogne. The museum that Dennis is most interested in seeing is the Bastogne Historical Center. He also wants to visit the Mardasson Monument, a short walk out of town.
Bastogne is a city under construction. There are many cranes and remodeling projects. Tourism is a major factor, but there are more eateries than places to stay. We were lucky to find a room, especially since there is a circus in town this weekend.
With all the WWII Battle of the Bulge monuments in town, I loved the simplicity and innocence of the babies climbing statue.