Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Saturday in Gaalgebierg

Samschdeg, 26 September.

Today was a beautiful day in Luxembourg and after a welcome brunch for new international students, I decided to get outdoors and explore a new corner of my city!

The municipal park of Esch-sur-Alzette, known as the Gaalgebierg for reasons I cannot for the life of me imagine, is located just on the other side of the train tracks. Although a lot of my housemates go running there, I had yet to check it out. (I can practically hear the surprise: "What? Elisabeth hasn't gone running in Luxembourg yet?!") So this afternoon, I put on my Keds, packed my bag with the essentials -- books and stroopwafels -- and headed out to investigate.

The train tracks separate the park from the rest of the city of Esch-sur-Alzette. Although there are other ways to cross, it's most easily accessible from downtown Esch via pedestrian bridge -- or la passerelle, as it's called here! Opened in 2009, this ultra modern bridge takes pedestrians up and over the railroad tracks. You can read more about the unique structure on the city website but suffice it to say that it is very new, very orange, and VERY HIGH UP.

As for the park itself, well ... it appears to be a mix of just about everything! A stone's throw from the passerelle, there's a garden à la française -- that is, a classical garden with neatly-trimmed hedges and symmetrical flower beds full of roses.

This garden also houses one of the park's many monuments: this one, erected in 1927, is in honor of Luxembourgish politician Michel Welter. Continue along and you'll come across a memorial  crumbling staircase. (A rather hilarious sign warns -- in many languages -- that the city of Esch-sur-Alzette is by no means liable if you trip and fall.) Compared to the precise lines of the French garden, everything in this part of the park feels a little more casual.

It was fun to spot the signs of autumn all around the park -- from the slowly-accumulating piles of leaves to the occasionally festive tree. Although most of the flowers were still blooming, I could tell that the colors were starting to fade a little. I'm excited to come back and watch the seasons change throughout the next couple months.


Benches are EVERYWHERE in the Parc Municipal Gaalgebierg -- and I was pleased to find that on a sunny afternoon in September, most of them were unoccupied! I found a quiet nook to read for a while.

Side note: I'm currently working on Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States in order to feel marginally more qualified to teach students about my country and Le Luxembourgeois de poche ... in order to feel marginally more qualified to speak Luxembourgish at the grocery store! So far, neither venture is proving particularly successful.

"Keds ... after all this time?" "Always."

One of the neatest things about the park is how entirely separate it feels from the rest of the city. Although I could hear the occasional train whistle or car horn, the hustle and bustle of Luxembourg's second-largest city really did feel miles away. Luckily, a quick look toward the passerelle was all it took to remind me where I was.

Look at that view!

I'm planning to go back to the Parc Municipal Gaalgebierg at least once a month while I'm living in Esch. What season do you think will be the most stunning? (I'm betting on October, but I think I'll also love the views in late winter once most of the leaves are all gone!)


  1. How far away from your house is this? So pretty a park!
    Je t'aime!

    1. Yeah! It's super close. Maybe a ten minute walk to the station and once you're across the bridge, you're in the park. (Of course, you have to figure in an extra 5-10 minutes for getting up the nerve to actually walk across the bridge.)

  2. Tres joli parc Elisabeth mais pas assez de presences, en fait il semble completement desert...(Apart tes pieds) ;-)

    1. There were quite a few people -- but it seemed a little creepy to take pictures of them! It was nice to have some quiet time though.