Leg 5: Kent to Luxembourg

10May10

This was not the longest leg, but it was deceivingly not so short. It followed a zig-zag pattern that is going to mark the next few legs of this trip. There’s just too much to see in Europe, and no way to do it in a straight line. The first shot is looking west across the English Channel:

View from the sky…

The English Channel

Dieppe

This is what Dieppe looks like today — much different than this, which is indicative of how the beaches pictured above appeared on August 19, 1942.

Lots of farmland in rural Belgium

If anyone knows anything about how Belgians came up with this pattern of farming — that is, not so much of a pattern at all — please chime in. It seems like a pretty primitive, take-what-you-want approach that probably dates back longer than I realize.

Taking off from Brussels

The land of supra-internationalism — yeah, that’s now a thing — looks awfully small from a couple of thousand feet in the air. Somewhere down there, a planet’s worth of politicians and diplomats are figuring out how to cure poverty and turn brutal civil war and destitution into long-term loans and development. Best of luck to ’em.

The more you know…

Liège, Belgium

On the way to Luxembourg, I came across this town in eastern Belgium. It’s called Liège, and it’s another of those interesting towns that dot the world. Like most towns in the area, it was occupied by Germans during the First World War and absolutely pummeled by both sides during the Second World War.

Among Liège’s famous inhabitants is a man known as Charlemagne. His resume is pretty impressive. According to one book I own, Charlemagne “conquered the Lombard Kingdom in Italy, subdued the Saxons, annexed Bavaria, fought in Spain and Hungary and, with the exception of areas in Spain, Italy, and the British Isles, united in one state nearly all the Christian lands of western Europe, over which he assumed the title of emperor.”

In sum: He conquered most of a continent and became emperor of that land. He was emperor of that vast land from 800-814. And then he died in Austrasia, which is now Germany.

Justine Henin-Hardin is also from Liège. She never conquered anything, but she has earned more than $20 million just by playing tennis, and that’s nothing to shake a stick at.

UPDATE: As it turns out, I neglected to mention the most important thing about Liège. My friend and colleague Simon Cremer (he’s on Twitter here), the man who introduced me to the Google Earth flight simulator, names this hardened Belgian town as the place from which much of his family sprouted.

Quoth Cremer: “On my father’s side, everyone except my father, my aunt and my grandmother are in Belgium. We’re from a small German-speaking village called Recht.”

The power of Google Earth overwhelms.

UPDATE AGAIN: Liège was once sister cities with Quebec City. Stay tuned to this trip for more on sister cities.

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One Response to “Leg 5: Kent to Luxembourg”

  1. 1 kim

    you know who else is a sister city to quebec?
    Ouagadougou.
    Do it.
    Ouagadougou.


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