Admittedly, after lovely Amsterdam it was very hard for any city to convince likewise. Initially, our plan was to go to Brussels, but as my mother strongly advised against it (Brussels being an ugly, grey city apparently), we googled the nicest cities in Belgium to choose a different one. Of course my favourite would have been Bruges, as it is known for its picturesque core and beautiful canal systems, but as it is along the coastline and we wanted to head further east, it wasn't really to good choice to make, so we didn't. Instead we chose one of the other cities on the list, namely Lüttich which is towards the east border of Belgium. It is also called, apparently, The Little France of Belgium, so we had quite high expectations.
Now, we drove through Belgium and the first two things we recognised were the increasingly hilly landscape (dear, the Netherlands are SO flat) and that Belgians are terrible car drivers (as far as our experience goes). They cut you off the street, don't slow down in narrow passages and generally put a lot of pressure on you as a driver (my man, in this case. As you know, I hate driving).
Anyway, we had passed the slightly glum villages (the weather wasn't on our side yesterday) and arrived in Lüttich which welcomed us with rundown, ugly complexes and a complete lack of sufficient signs as to where the city centre would be. Thus, we drove around stupidly for half an hour, not finding our way around and the moment I was about to give up and suggested going straight to Luxembourg, my man found a parking space and we decided to give Lüttich another chance. We walked into where, presumably, the city centre lay, only to find three arrows in different directions, all stating city centre. My man pointed out Lüttich was very Alice in Wonderland-ish, and it was true. You looked for something on the arrow, walked this direction and on the other side it pointed in the opposite direction all of a sudden without you having seen it on the way. It was quite bizarre.
Sadly, walking into the city brought little alleviation of our first impression of Lüttich. Surely, the historic centre wasn't bad but not really marvellous either and when, after wandering about the city for ages, we finally found the alleged city centre (it is at Cathedral St. Paul de Liège, apparently), there was a decent square and a not-too-shabby street, but that was pretty much it. We were pretty disappointed and I wouldn't recommend this city really, instead stay one more day in Amsterdam or take the detour to Bruges, I guess it's more worth your money...
We did buy an eclair au chocolat in one of the many chocolatiers and I must say it was the single best thing about Lüttich. It was absolutely delicious AND I could speak French in the patisserie and concluded I was not as rusty as I thought.
Long story short, Lüttich wasn't a crowd pleaser and we were happy to get out of it and drive to beautiful Luxembourg. It may not be a big country, but it has one of the most beautiful landscapes, I promise. Soft mounds direct you through the winding roads and you're escorted by multi-coloured trees lining up at the sides. We didn't go to Luxembourg City yesterday but checked into a camping hotel, which is absolutely amazing. It is called La Pinede and located in Consdorf in the north of the country. It offers these little wooden huts with only a double bed and two benches on the side and it is adorable! We were so happy and slept really well (I think my first good night since we started on the trip). We are actually sorry to leave but are heading to Luxembourg first and later today to Nancy, France where we are booked into a hotel before exploring Strasbourg. I am sure I will be able to improve my French there and hopefully be welcomed by a similarly cosy accommodation tonight. Stay tuned!