Pilgrimage to Luxembourg Log -- Saturday

Saturday, 7/27/1996 -- Part Two

After returning to our hotel to put on shorts, we went on a Klaus expedition in the Grund. Phil Bedard had told me that Klaus' crypt was somewhere near Scott's pub (Fat Eddie's), so we used that as our starting point and drove around looking for something that looked like the distinctive tannish rockface in the blurry photos I had taken from "Decline of the Romanian Vampire." We soon saw a rocky area past Scott's and parked near there, then exclaimed, "HEY!" Right across from the parking lot was the Helsing family crypt! We quickly verified that it was the correct place by comparing its features and those in my photographs (DotRV photos on top; photos of the identical features directly underneath):

Max in front of crypt

The same view as above

Door to crypt

The same view as above

This was the most amazing find of our trip--we had had no idea of a name or address for the place, and "somewhere near Scott's" is quite vague when all one is looking for is a particular arch and doorway-shape in the rock. After a day of fruitless searching on Friday, we had begun to doubt if we'd be able to track it down it at all.

The crypt is actually hewn into a cliff (it runs beneath the Plateau de Rham), and there are lots of openings and caverns besides those that we see in "Decline of the Romanian Vampire" and "Black Sheep" (you do get a brief glimpse of some of them when Gustav's approaching the crypt in "Black Sheep"). The whole thing is quite impressive. Here is a large photo (51KB) of the "crypt" section of the cliff (there's tons more neat stuff in both directions beyond what's in the photo).

The door, as with Magnus St. John-Smythe's lab door, is completely different from the one seen in the series. "Helsing," is, of course, not carved above it, and, it is, in fact, not a solid door at all--rather, it's just an open doorway with a barred and locked metal gate added to keep people out of the crypt. Apparently poor Klaus' resting place had been misused in the past... through the bars of the gate, we could easily see inside and observe that it had been defaced by graffiti (anarchy signs and such) and that junk had been strewn about on the floor. (Actually, my theory is that Klaus did it while imprisoned there... if so, he has quite a fondness for Mousel beer.) This was the only place anywhere in Luxembourg that we saw graffiti or litter. Later, I located the area (called the Bisserweg) in my Luxembourg City Guide and found with great mirth that it was identified as the "the former beer cellars of a 15th Century brewery"!! What an illustrious history for the Helsing family crypt!

Disappointed that the door was locked, we set about trying to find another way inside. While exploring to see where the various non-barricaded openings led, we discovered that there was a way--if one can get up the rather steep and uneven climb to the right of the crypt door (you can see it in the photo to the left), there is a small plateau and two more openings a few feet above the top of the crypt door (see the large photo), about 20 feet from the ground. If you go through one of these "doorways" and around a corner (photo to right--I am about to walk out onto the loft), you find yourself in the upper level of the crypt, on a stone "loft" that overhangs the room we saw in DofRV and Black Sheep.

These two photos were taken inside the crypt, looking down from the loft level. The photo to the right shows me locked outside the crypt door, looking in. In both pictures, the grey floor of the loft can be seen on the left, above the crypt door. Unfortunately, there was no way for me to go down into the actual area where Klaus' coffin was located--or, rather, if I had jumped, I would have been in the same predicament as Klaus, for there would have been no way for me to climb back up again.

Speaking of the floor, here is a photo of that (I don't know what could have happened to Klaus' coffin! What's he going to do next St. George's Eve??). Notice all the junk, including shoes, flattened boxes, and empty Mousel bottles. The floor is sand (it was not sand in the series... either they covered up the real floor, or they didn't actually film the crypt scenes inside the crypt).

[Note: the rest of my log entries were finally written up four years after actually visiting Luxembourg, and the notes that I made while in Luxembourg are rather cryptic at times, so I apologize for the comparative lack of details and color in what follows.]

While at the crypt cliff, we also witnessed a performance of what I termed in my notes as "weird music guys," but I'm afraid my memory is not good enough to recall exactly what that means! I believe it was a band of youngsters playing bizarre (handmade?) instruments, who either practiced or performed at the site, but all the details escape me. After we had thoroughly exhausted our examination of Klaus' resting place, we decided to search for the location of Klaus's and Gustav's "sunglasses at night" rendezvous from "Black Sheep." Phil Bedard had told me that it was nearby, underneath a train bridge. We found it without too much trouble, although I wasn't certain which part of the stone stairs was the exact spot where Klaus and Gustav met, as I didn't have a photo. To be safe, we took photos in several different sections, and, indeed, when we were able to compare our photos with the scene in "Black Sheep," we had correctly taken one of their meeting place.

By the time we were through with the rendezvous, it was getting late, so we went back to our hotel and put on nice clothes for dinner at the Grand Cravat Hotel, the most traditional of the other five-star hotels in the city. If I remember correctly, they had a formal restaurant upstairs, and an elegant but more casual lounge/gentlemen's club type restaurant called the Tavern at street level. I think they were both served by the same kitchen. We chose the Tavern, because it was so cool looking, like the kind of place Bertie Wooster would go, with light brown leather chairs, shining surfaces, polished wood, and a dumbwaiter that brought up food from the kitchen. Our waiter was very friendly and smiley and said "YES" constantly. He spoke English very well. We ordered an extremely German meal, including sauerkraut, potato, and German sausage. Dean got an excellent four cheese salad (yes, salad for poor Dean again!).

After we got back to the hotel, we had drinks out on the balcony and spied on a wedding reception that was taking place in the breakfast room, whose sunroof our balcony overlooks. We could see the bride and groom and little boy and girl children attendants dancing. Dean opened my champagne bottle by shaking it, and the cork flew off on its own accord over the edge of the balcony and landed who knows where.

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