Echternach felt like a tourist town a bit down on its luck. The kiosk sold Flemish-language Belgian newspapers, but not French-language ones (and not biros).
In the hot evening it poured dramatically down, gusting wind too, all of us eating and drinking outside rushed in, a few bold souls strolled down the street.
I ate an excellent mushroom vol-au-vent (called “croustillant”). You never get that in Belgium – “bouchées de la reine” always contain chicken.
I liked this car showroom.
On the Friday morning cycling along the river Sûre was a pleasure. The valley was narrow and the cycle path found different ways to slot itself in, through fields, woods, the back end of villages and sometimes along the river. On the river there were plenty of campsites.
In northern countries, Estonia, Belarus, there are carefully arranged bathing places on the rivers; I was surprised that we came across only one of these here. Most bathing was informal.
At Wasserbillig the Sûre meets the Moselle and swans cover the waterfront.
We had lunch at the Frégate, looking across the Moselle to the German side.
I should’ve had flammeküche rather than moules-frites. We caught a little ferry to the German side. For the first time, when I spoke (“how much?”) in French, I got a reply in German.
We cycled seven km into Germany down the Moselle, the biggest river of the region along which passed a fine square-sterned tourist ship registered in in Hamburg, and then turned right, at Konz, up the river Saar.
It is a darker and a stiller river.
A vast short cut, perhaps built as part of improvement works in 1987, looked unlikely to have justified its investment. The path rose and fell a good deal more than we, on this hot afternoon where the promised riverside cafés did not materialise, would have wished.
Again we encountered plenty of cyclists on the path. Most wore helmets. Their tow-along trailers contained as many dogs as toddlers. We only saw one commercial vessel, moored in the port at Saarburg. I wondered if the boys playing in the river lived on the barge.
Saarburg, where we spent the night, was a contradiction to the experience of this river so far.
It is a broken-levelled town with a tenth century castle (the Moselle makes England feel like a new land). It was full of happy families. A quarter of rosé wine from the region, I said to the waitress in what passes for my German. What is it that you want, she replied uncomprehendingly in German. We got on a good deal better in English, what with her coming from Latvia. It rained hard again, later on.