© Pancake! Photographie

Outdoors Passion Discovery trip through the Grand Duchy

4 minutes

A great escape

The two globetrotters and self-made publicists Anabela and Jorge have written  an unplanned success story with their travel magazine “diariesof”. From Luxembourg, they explore the globe by motorbike. They took us on a ride through their home country. 

Green surrounds us. A waterfall splashes. Jungle. We stand a little apart, watching in silence. Rays of sunlight break on the surface of the waterhole. The man, Tarzan? Do we hear monkeys chattering in the distance? Are the sounds exotic? Or are we dreaming? The well-travelled man who is not Tarzan but seems to be right here and now, who transforms the clearing with a small lake in the Guttland into a rainforest-like scene by his sheer charisma and the stories from all over the world he carries in his imaginary rucksack, is Jorge Valente. Long, curly black hair. Che Guevara beard. Motorbike trousers. Upper body exposed. Captivating laugh.

© Pancake! Photographie

Healing powers at Hunnebour

The clearing with a lake where we find ourselves is the mythical Hunnebour. The water is said to have healing powers. We modern outdoorsmen naturally squeeze the water through a filter before drinking it. Perhaps this filters out the legendary healing powers at the same time. But a sip from the spring is still incredibly refreshing. And the stopover at this semi-shaded place on the edge of the forest is healing anyway. 

Next to Motorbike-Tarzan Jorge stands his wife, Anabela. Dimples playing at the corners of her mouth, she watches the activities of her partner in life, love and work with reserved amusement. 

They have been a couple since 2004. Jorge was born in Luxembourg and has Portuguese roots and Anabela was born in Portugal. They were working in various agencies when they decided to take time out in 2013 to discover Latin America on their motorbike.

Back home in Luxembourg, the idea of having to return to an office job seemed almost crazy to them. At the same time, the calls from friends and acquaintances to make “something” out of the pictures and stories they brought back from their trip got louder.

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No risk, no fun!

They quit their jobs and started a crowdfunding campaign to produce a print magazine about their trip to America. And so “diariesof” was born and came to stay. Sixteen issues have since made it into print; an amazing success when you look at the highly competitive market for printed magazines. When you get to know the two of them, you understand that success was almost inevitable. Their curiosity, enthusiasm and warm-heartedness towards people is contagious. At the same time, they are authentic. The project “diariesof” is not about making money first. It is about telling stories. About being amazed. About the people. After quitting their jobs, they immediately went on a trip from Portugal through Asia to Japan on their motorbikes. After 15 issues from all over the world, from Georgia, Iran, Cuba and other places, in issue 16 they finally discover the adventurous land on their doorstep. They made an issue about Luxembourg.

Back to the Hunnebour. That’s why we’re here. Anabela and Jorge show us some of the places they visited on their road trip through Luxembourg. Anabela and Jorge are explorers and want to immerse themselves in the culture of a country. Of course, they are impressed by the wonders of nature, but outdoor sports aren’t their thing. They don’t feel the need to hike. For them, nature is not a sports field, but a meeting place, and they can’t get enough of the people there are to meet.

© Pancake! Photographie

Encounters and other adventures

Cultural techniques, especially ancient ones, are another thing to marvel at. Sure, everyone is impressed when they see how, in archaic-looking areas of Georgia, grapes are thrown into huge clay amphorae buried in the ground to make wine as they did 1000 years ago. But in Luxembourg, too, there is craftsmanship that goes back to ancient techniques. You just have to keep your eyes open. You can also experience the ancient Georgian-style wine-pressing method in Luxembourg. At the Moselle. In Hëttermillen.

Between heaven and hell

In an inconspicuous workshop on the main street in the small village of Berdorf, glassblower Pascale Seil has been working for over 20 years on works of art made of mouth-blown glass and handcrafted, beautiful utilitarian objects. Martial-like tools are everywhere. The pliers used to work the glass look like the torture arsenal from a dentist’s creepy cabinet. Hellfire and the beauty of art objects stand close together. Colourful glass spheres, like giant eyes of gigantic fantasy creatures, iridescent dragons perhaps, gaze brilliantly at us. Ancient craftsmanship meets modern design language. This is definitely a studio to visit!

Only a few hundred metres further on is the main tourist destination. The Visitor Centre of the Mullerthal region in Berdorf is the starting point for numerous hikes into the well-known gorges of Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland. For once, Anabela and Jorge get off the motorbike. They want to show us the paths into the narrow rocky gorges and over iron suspension bridges on foot, before it’s time for a little cruising. Luxembourg’s roads are perfect for extended motorbike tours. The asphalt is smooth and the network of petrol stations is unbelievably dense. Plus the typical country roads lined with white-painted tree trunks. At the Priedegtstull (see p.112), Jorge skilfully lays into the bend. The bike whizzes past the vertical rock faces and disappears into the dense deciduous forest. A paradise for Easy Riders. 

“We love to be surprised,” Anabela tells us. She is mainly responsible for the texts, while Jorge is the designer and photographer. “If we’re on the road and an observation tower appears, for example, and it’s not really obvious what you’re going to see when you climb it, then of course it’s a stop, and we’re almost forced to reveal the secret. Let’s take the tower at the Vianden pumped storage plant. Totally inconspicuous. And that’s exactly why it’s interesting for us. Why has someone built a lookout tower here? There must be something behind it. Sure, it’s not a classic tourist attraction... but it’s also such a building – like this artificial lake that suddenly opens up in front of you when you climb the stairs: it’s part of the history, the culture of a country. It’s interesting. And it’s a shame if you miss it and just plod past.”

© Pancake! Photographie
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Feasting like in the Middle Ages

Nevertheless, we drive at full speed towards Vianden. We pass the huge castle on our left and wind down the hill on which it stands to the restaurant Beim Hunn.

This is a grill restaurant in a half-timbered house. Brave! The smell of wood, barbecue and open fire wafts through the air. The owner, talkative and visibly proud, invites his customers to look around. But he can’t stay too long for the photo! He has to flip the steak. The customers have ordered it rare. Please be quick with the photo! The meat has to be cooked to perfection. Back at the table, the photographer is satisfied. So is the owner. And the dish is excellent.

© Pancake! Photographie

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