Grevenmacher: The Butterfly Garden Of Luxembourg

I had a beautiful and heavenly experience at the Butterfly Garden in the Musel region of Luxembourg – Grevenmacher.

Here are the moments I am being able to capture through my lens.

Relish in nature!

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Luxembourg: Summer In The City

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Bright sunny day and lovely summer evening.

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Memorable Music for the soul!

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Beautiful arts and as bright as the Sun.

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Suggestion of the chef – Inspired by fresh and seasonal produce.

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Pleasantly Refreshing!

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Open air Cinema

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The joy of outdoor dining and blossom of flowers.

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SCHUEBERFOUER – much anticipated event!

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Musel: The Vineyard Heaven Of Luxembourg

My Ethiopian wanderlust takes me to Friet Museum (Belgian Fries), Beer and Chocolate museum in Brugge, Belgium and to Irish Whisky Museum in Dublin, Ireland – which interestingly leads to deep appreciation of every component that is making up the whole picture in history and culture of a particular country. And now the time has come to Wine. As a wine lover I grab the exiting opportunity life presents fanatically.

Musel Luxembourg 1It’s a journey to honor a passion of tracing back to the source, to dive into culture and history, to caress the divine detail and to learn the art of  life.

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It’s a journey spurred from a cosmic urge of discovering Luxembourg via edible bucket list. The elegant dining scene of Luxembourg City presents from clear pale yellow to golden green mostly dry white wines – from direct flavor of Elbling to sweet Resiling. And the sparkling Crémant de Luxembourg – which I enjoy the most in one of the cafe’s around the atmospheric Place d’Armes – is the one which creates a unique and exciting experience of Luxembourg, with its crispy and refreshing sharpness which suggests summer and celebration.

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The actualization of this wanderlust and to make it even more enjoyable I had to combine three of my favored leisure activities – walking, being in nature and of course traveling. Being one of my passions, I embarked up on an exciting adventure of discovering Luxembourg via different kinds of beautifully set up and well organized trails in different parts of the country.

Guide auto- pédestre Luxembourg 201 Circuits pédestres (201 circular walks) is the one I favored. For this particular thematic journey, I obviously picked the wine route (route du vie) in a region named after the river which cross through France, Germany and Luxembourg – Musel ( La Moselle in France).

Luxembourg’s Musel region is 20 k from Luxembourg City to southeast. The particular trail I picked is 5.3 Km – Short but Sweet – in Bech-Kleinmacher village near the Musel river of Luxembourg.

It’s a journey start at the tranquil, picturesque village – Bech – Kleinmacehr – on the banks of Luxembourg’s Musel valley, embraced by the impressive vineyard looking over the romantic Musel river of Luxembourg. The Gothic architecture of a church with noticeably pointed arch greets and paves the way to narrow allies of beautifully tranquil village which swiftly takes to the vineyards while admiring captivating winegrower’s houses.Musel Luxembourg 5

Climbing the slope of Scheierbierg while rolling through the vineyard, is a thrilling experience as it is witnessing the art of farming and breathing soul cleansing sweet air. The orderly planted Grapevines is a symphony of order which inspires inner peace. I couldn’t help being able to contemplate and open my eyes to see the precious sweat, labor of love, dedication and patience put on the wide and endless it seem vineyard.

Musel Luxembourg 6Deep green grape leaves and slowing ripening, bunch of hanging light green grapes suggests life, affluence, blessing, Jesus turning water to wine, good food, celebration and art of dining. The landscape created by human start to open the veils on every stage of the hill.Musel Luxembourg 7Looking down the village through orderly standing grapevine plants leads to the pockets of scenes of the village. Looking up it leads the eyes straight to the blue sky on warm summer day of July. Getting higher while rolling through the vineyard, another impressive scenery presents itself – the pretty village being at the stage of the arena and the vineyard its spectators.

The trail includes two historical and cultural points of interest near the route. Gallo – Roman tomb is one of the vestiges of Roman Empire in Luxembourg.

Musel Luxembourg 8This rebuilt funeral chamber of the roman was surrounded by different kinds of flowers and orchards. It takes climbing a stair to reach it and every step paved by the aroma of the flowers. The destination is as rewarding as it is topped with spectacular view over the village, Musel River and afar.

Musel Luxembourg 9The circular walk takes back to where it started and before the end of the trail back at Bech – Kelmacher village awaits the very interesting “A Possen” Folklore and wine museum for a perfect finish of this beautiful wine trail.

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Time to dive in the culture and history of the village winegrower’s life within the 17th century building where folklore made visible.

Musel Luxembourg 11Musel Luxembourg 12From old collection of dolls to impressive details of wine making and viticulture of the region. The rooms with squeaky wooden floor and musty smell with thoughtfully displayed everyday life actually takes its visitors back in time.

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“Learning the art of Life is a bit like learning the art of wine. One sip at a time.” Sarah Ban Breathnach Romancing The ordinary, a year of simple splendour.

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Cheers to the art of life!

 

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Gaysay Grassland: Seven Days Trekking In Bale Mountains

One of the five distinctive habitats of the Bale national park, Gaysay Grassland is a suitable home to one of the distinctive animals and only the land of Ethiopia can flaunt to the world – the Mountain Nyala. Traversed by the Dodola road, surrounded by clustered of hills, embracing a magnificent mountain and bonding the two major rivers of the Bale Mountains. Gaysay grassland is the paradise of exotically wild aromatic herbs and colorful everlasting wild flowers, which not only attracts wildlife but humans as well for soul replenishment.

 MEDIATIONAL & PICTURESQUE.

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Trekking Day 1

After spending the night and had breakfast the next morning at one of Bale’s small town Robe, we got picked by a blue and white minivan taxi from the guest house we were staying by our tour operator. Armaye is a young and an aspiring tour operator whom we have been planning our trip with via email few weeks before the actual trip.

Meeting with Armaye in person was a great pleasure as he was very welcoming and humble and of course actual human interaction is sacred in every way. While having getting to know each other and the overall brief picture of our seven days trekking in the Bale Mountains conversation, we drove back to Dinsho where the head quarter of the park located for formalities. The head quarter located in a very nice woodland covered with different kinds of beautiful trees and where we camped before continuing to the second day trekking.

We got introduced to our tour guide – Mohammed. He is born and raised in Bale, very passionate about his home turf, nature and conservation. We got introduce with our cook as well, Idris whom appeared to be introvert but someone whom might open up slowly along the way.

Right after the introduction, Idris asked us what we want to have for lunch even though the options were limited which we knew and prepared ourselves for. We agreed with one typical dish of trekking in wilderness in Ethiopia – Maccaroni with canned tuna cooked in tomato sauce.

As we planned, the first day of seven day trekking started by walking to the Gaysay Grassland, a 20 – minute walk from Dinsho head quarter. It was a walk on an asphalted road through the small montane village Dinsho characterize by white and blue tuk tuk and minivan taxis, little shops, eateries and coffee places along each side of the road enliven with people and with unique and beautiful trees as backdrop.

We had our intro conversation with our tour guide for the next seven days trekking in Bale Mountains. We learned that Mohamed speaks three languages –Amharic (My native language which is in sematic language group), English and French and Afaan Oromo (Cushitic language group) being his native language.

We picked right away that we were in treat of a very rich experience with him. This is one of interesting details of traveling in my own country, which is a melting pot of different ethnic group, which makes a very rich and interesting journey in Ethiopia even for a native traveler.

The first word Mohamed taught us was how to say hello to the local people and we were so happy to say it as it was not that difficult even for my Belgian husband. Akkam is the one word which was strong enough to spark a smile and an eye contact with the locals when every time they heard us saying it to them along the journey through the Bale Mountains for seven days.

After the paved road we stepped in Gaysay Grassland.

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It’s a tract of grassland on upper land of an altitude range from 3000 m – 3500 m above sea level, near to timberline for a splendid panoramic view and experience.

Its wide open space colored with the flora and fauna of gleaming golden grass, silvery grey Gold Cape ( Helichrysum Splendidum) and greenish Artmesia Afra ( African Wormwood). It’s decorated with fringe of greenish hills dotted with red from the flower of Hagenia abyssinica (African redwood). It’s a procreative landscape to induce powerful energy to rise from within.

Walking in Gaysay Grassland induces an intense feeling of how much little space we occupy in this world as it was hard not to contemplate the vast space and the magnificent hills we were surrounded by. Gaysay Grassland is a home to mount Gaysay (3,543m).

The sound of our footsteps on dry grass and bushes, wind and stream were more intensified for our sense of hearing. Sense of smell heightened by the aroma of different kinds of everlasting wild flowers and herbs.

As it’s a December trip in Bale Mountains, the one seasonal thing which was missing was the spectacular scene of Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia) plant which flowers from March – November. Red Hot Poker plant is the colorful signature of Gaysay Grassland and Bale Mountain regarding wildflower.

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Red Hot Poker in Guassa Grassland

Every moment is different indeed as it would have created a different vibe and color of its own. Even though I had a beautiful experience to witness this colorful and exotic plant at Guassa Grassland where hills can be completely covered with the Red Hot Poker plant with colorful blossom at a certain time of year.

The Bale Mountains National Park is beautifully supports five different kinds of habitats, thus more than 1,300 species of flowering plants have been excavated in which 160 being Ethiopian endemic species and 23 which are distinctive to the park. One of more than 10 species of everlasting flower found in Bale.

The aromatic Artmesia Afra and the silvery Cape Gold lead us to the very handsome and endemic animal as being staple for the Mountain Nyala.

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Gaysay Grassland is suitable home to this distinctive and unfortunately endangered animal which was the last to be found in 1970. It’s a place which provides a close up look of Mountain Nyala as close as 50 m.

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Calves with their beautiful mother nurturing and grazing, young male with growing horn and spine mane fighting, and an older male –with notable white side spots, fully grown gracious horns and spine mane –usually alone browsing, are mesmerizing scenes to be witnessed at Gaysay Grassland.

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The Bale Mountains is home to different kinds of animals like the endemic Menelik’s Bushbuck, Grey Duiker, Serval and Common Jackal which all can be viewed in Gaysay Grassland and we were fortunate enough to spot other animals which also lives in Gaysay Grassland –Bohor reedbuck, Warthog, Herd of Olive Baboon and Spotted Hyena.

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Gaysay Grassland not only meddle to bring human and nature, it bridges two Bale rivers – Web River (Weyib River) and Danka River –on an impressive landscape. Besides being an eye vista, it provides an unusual experience of fly fishing of Brown and Rainbow Trout which travelled with British and being stocked in Kenya in the early 1900s and later found another African habitat in Ethiopia by being stocked in three of the Bale Mountains National Park’s rivers in 1960.

Waterfalls and streams induced a conversation about the fact that The Bale Mountains being the source of existence for over 12 million of people in the southeast Ethiopia even crossing the border to Northern Kenya and Somalia by proving water which rises from the Bale massif. 40 rivers rise in the Bale Mountain National park which empties into major rivers like Wabi Shabeelle and Jubba.

The local people has special and intimate connection with Gaysay Grassland as they revere the wild flowers and herbs for their medicinal value and the natural remedial water springs locally named as Hora. As we learned local people travel a long way to come here so that their cattle have a seep for overall good health and milk production.

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As it is a dry season trip in the Bale Mountains which is from November – February, the average temperature of Gaysay Grassland during the day is 20 C. It was a warm and sunny day with extremely beautiful clear blue sky, so it was picture perfect to start the seven day trekking in Bale Mountains.

While heading back, we witnessed the upper land pushing the timberline via strangely but beautiful trees appearing here and there.

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Back to the head quarter which is part of another Bale Mountain Habitat the woodland we, decide to spend sometime in the forest. During dry season the animals move from the Grassland to the woodland, so we get the chance to see the same animals back in the woodland which provided another beautiful scene.

The grassy forest bed within the woodland pave the way with the warming herbal aroma of the fallen leaf of the Hagenia Abyssinica tree which is another signature of the Bale Mountains. We were in treat as December and January is when the red spray of flowers of the tree blooms. Locally known as Koso, a mixture of dried flower of the tree traditionally used as remedy to combat tapeworm as Ethiopians love to eat raw meat.

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It’s in this woodland the indigenous African rose –Rosa Abyssinica –can be found but unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to witness as it was not the right time of year.

St. John’s worth (Hypericum Perforatum) with its beautiful yellow flowers, attracting wildlife and supporting traditional beehives for a delicious Bale’s Honey is a throughout the year scenery. The short but sweet Dinsho trail with in the woodland topped with spectacular view over the mountainous village of Dinsho, Gaysay Grassland from afar and cluster of hills.

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First Day Camping On The Roof Of Africa

We set up our tent on a ground which rises 3000 m above sea level, in the woodland hugged with trees and enliven with animal visits.

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The temperature in Bale Mountains varies as its different kinds of habitats. Spending the night on the roof of Africa is part of the adventure and it’s where the weather can be one of the eloquent details of the backdrop – Sleeping in the clouds during wet season (April – October).

The lowest temperature recorded in Dinsho is – 6 c. During dry season (November – March) the days are warm, sunny and with clear blue sky as we witnessed but it can be very cold at night in which temperature can drop to – 15 c and usually with frosty grounds above 3000 m.

When the sun start to set in, we felt we were traveling through seasons – from Summer to Winter – and the transition was instant.

Very Cold!

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Luxembourg City From The City Skyliner

The City Skyliner Luxembourg 1It’s a sporadically exciting 7 minutes, of rising 72 m high up in the sky and slowly rotating 3600 for panoramic view of beautiful Luxembourg city, in a very comfortable cabin of the 81 m highest mobile observation tower in the world, seasonally set up at place de la Constitution next to the gleaming signature of Luxembourg city – Gëlle Fra (The Golden Lady).

Watching Over Luxembourg City!

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Prendre de la hauteur.

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Dervla Murphy: 10 Nuggets of Travel Wisdom

The following inspiring nuggets of travel wisdom of a woman adventurer – Dervla Murphy, is an excerpt from one of my favored travel books – The Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux.

Be Inspired!

  1. CHOOSE YOUR COUNTRY, USE GUIDEBOOKS TO IDENTIFY THE AREAS MOST FREQUENTED BY FOREIGNERS – AND THEN GO IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.

This advice reeks of political incorrectness; it’s “snobbish” to draw a clear distinction between travellers and tourists. Yet it’s also realistic. The escapist traveller needs space, solitude, silence. Tragically, during my lifetime, roads have drastically depleted that natural habitat.

One favourite place where I did so was a trek from Asmara to Addis Ababa.

  1. MUG UP ON HISTORY.

To travel in ignorance of a region’s history leaves you unable to understand the “why” of anything or anyone.

Heavy sociological or political research is unnecessary, although if you happen to fancy that sort of thing it will add an extra dimension to your journey.

Before your trip, learn as much as possible about religious and social taboos and then scrupulously respect them.

  1. TRAVEL ALONE OR WITH JUST ONE PREPUBESCENT CHILD.

But a child’s presence emphasizes your trust in the community’s good will. And because children pay little attention to racial or cultural differences, junior companions rapidly demolish barriers of shyness or apprehension often raised when foreigners unexpectedly approach a remote village. I found this to be the case in all my travels with my young daughter, especially when we travelled through Kodagu in southern India.

  1. DON’T OVER PLAN.

Elsewhere, rely on fate to provide shelter: dependence on those you meet en route greatly enhances escapism, and villagers are unfailingly hospitable to those who trust them.

“Trust” is a key word for relaxed travelling among people who different way of life may demand adaptability but should prompt no unease or suspicion.

  1. BE SELF – PROPELLED, OR BUY A PACK ANIMAL.

For long treks far from roads and towns, buy a pack animal to carry food, camping gear, kerosene for your stove if firewood is scarce – and of course your child, should he or she be too small o walk all day.

In Ethiopia in 1966, I was lucky to be advised by Princess Aida, granddaughter of then emperor, Haile Selassie, and half a dozen mules were paraded around the courtyard of a royal palace for my inspection.

It’s important to travel light. At least 75 per cent of the equipment sold nowadays in camping shops – travel clothes lines, roll-up camping mats, lightweight hair dryers – is superfluous.  

  1. IF ASSISTED BY A PACK ANIMAL, GET DETAILED LOCAL ADVICE ABOUT THE TERRAIN AHEAD.

People can do the mind-over-matter bit, and resolve never again to let supplies run so low, but an equine helper doesn’t have that sort of mind. If there’s no fodder at six P.M., the mule cannot have consoling thoughts about stuffing it in at six P.M. the next day. And there is nothing more guilt-provoking than seeing a pack animal who has worked hard for you all day going without sustenance.

  1. CYPERSPACE INTERCOURSE VITIATES GENUINE ESCAPISM.

Abandon your mobile phone, laptop, iPod and all such links to family, friends, and work colleagues. Concentration on where you are derive your entertainment from immediate stimuli, the tangible world around you.

  1. DON’T BE INHIBITED BY THE LANGUAGE BARRIER.

Our basic needs – sleeping, eating, drinking – can always be indicated by signs or globally understood noises.

Even on the emotional level, the language barrier is quite porous. People’s features, particularly their eyes, are wonderfully eloquent. In our everyday lives, the extent to which we wordlessly communicate is taken for granted. In “far-flungery”, where nobody within a hundred miles speaks a word of any European language, one fully appreciates the range of moods and subtle feelings that may be conveyed visually.

  1. BE CAUTIOUS – BUT NOT TIMID.

The assumption that only brave and reckless people undertake solo journeys off the beaten track is without foundation. In fact, escapists are ultracautious: that’s one of their hallmarks and an essential component of their survival mechanisms. Before departure, they suss out likely dangers and either change their route – should these seem excessive – or prepare to deal with any reasonable hazards.

Optimists don’t believe in disasters until they happen, and therefore are not fearful, which is the opposite of being brave.

  1. INVEST IN THE BEST AVAILABLE MAPS.

And whatever you do, don’t forget your compass.  

Happy Traveling!

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Turkey: Capturing The Spirit Of Rumi In Istanbul

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