Casemates, Strasbourg, and Wings. Oh, my! (Luxembourg Week 1)

This week has been a complete whirlwind. I have been to three countries and about ten cities. Unfortunately, all I got to see of London was the airport and learned their lounge seats are great for 30 minute naps.

On my first morning in Luxembourg, we were already off exploring. On my schedule, I saw Casemates as the first event for both sessions of my program. My thoughts just used context clues and assumed it was like a case competition to get to know each other. Being my typical nerdy self, I was super excited. It turns out that was very American of me because it’s actually not English. Rather than case-mates, it would be more pronounced caz-mat-tes. The Casemates are actually underground tunnels used during attacks to get from the different part of the castle and outer walls.

The word Casemate is either Italian or Spanish. The Spaniards built the Casemates original 14 miles and they were expanded by French and Austrians later. It is unknown which the name was originally back off. One belief comes from the Arabic word kasaba coming from the Spanish word alcasaba or fortress. I prefer the one our tour guide told which also comes from Spanish but breaks the word down into case matar meaning House Where the Killing Happens or House of the Slaughter.

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One of the only visible towers left and our tour guide informed us it is actually fake. They knew visitors would want to see ruins from the Medieval times so they added the fake ruin.

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A defensive alcove

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My favorite shot of the Casemates.

This week we also visited Strasbourg, France. The Notre Dame of Strasbourg Cathedral was breathtaking. I was rendered speechless by the intricacy of all its designs. It took 285 years to build and survived all the religious wars. Rather than being destroyed by the French Revolutionaries as many cathedrals were, the Strasbourg people stood around the cathedral to protect it. The cathedral greatly honors mother Mary. It still has all the statues of her which is interesting because while it began as Catholic, it was then was taken over by Protestants who do not honor Mary as Catholics do.

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An attempt to capture all the Cathedral’s beauty in one shot.
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Me, the Cathedral and some gelato which was the bomb diggity.

Luxembourg has a very small town feel to it. I feel like it is mainly due to the incredibly low population. The nice part is there’s about three large different areas of town to visit. DSC_0939One area right down the rock from us (yes, we stay in a seminary at the top of a huge rock) has an older town style with restaurants, bars, and shops. Exploring there, we discovered a tiny yet delicious chicken wing place. The restaurant cannot hold more than thirty but we’ve already been twice (once for all you can eat).

The two photos were taken within 10 minutes of each other.DSC_0947

If you’re interested in seeing more photos, I post all of them to my flickr (over 1500). Warning: these have not been edited or reviewed, they are automatic uploads of all my camera’s photos.

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