164 Route 29. HERBESTHAL. .From Pepinster
last in Belgium, a modern place, picturesquely situated in the valley
of the Vesdre, occupies the site of the lower part of the ancient
city of Limburg. On the height above it stands the conspicuous
castle of Limburg, the ancestral seat of the ancient ducal family of
Limburg, from which the counts of Luxembourg and the German
emperors Henry VII., Charles IV., Wenceslaus, and Sigismund
were descended. The castle belonged to the ancient capital of the
fertile Duchy of Limburg, of which but few traces now remain.
The city possessed a cathedral and five other churches, and occupied
the entire breadth of the valley of Dolhain. In 1288 it was sacked
by Duke John I. of Brabant after the Battle of Worringen, it was
afterwards taken and pillaged at different times by the Dutch, the
Spaniards, and the French, and was at length entirely destroyed by
Louis XIV. in 1675. A number of well built houses have sprung
up within the walls of the ancient fortifications, from which peeps
forth the old Gothic Church of St. George. On a rocky eminence
stands a small modern chateau.
Herbesthal, the first Prussian station, is the junction for Eupen
(train in 1/a. hr.). The custom-house formalities cause a detention
of about 10 min. here. Beyond stat. Astenet, the train crosses the
G'ohl Valley by a viaduct of seventeen double arches, 125 ft. in
height. Beyond stat. Ronheide it descends an incline to —
Aix-la-Chapelle (see Baedeker's Rhine). Railways hence to
Mastricht, see p. 126; to Cologne, Diisseldorf, etc. , see Baedeker's
29. From Pepinster to Spa and Luxembourg.
Railway from Pepinster (p. 163) to Spa (7>|23I.) in ij2 hr. (fares 1 fr.
80, 1 fr. 35, 90 c). Seats on the top of the carriages pleasant in fine
weather. During the season an express train runs from Brussels to Spa
daily, passengers by which do not change carriages.
The valley of the Ho'egne, which the railway ascends, is enclos¬
ed by picturesque and wooded hills, and enlivened by a succession
of country-houses, gardens, and manufactories. Near stat. Theux,
a small town with several cloth-factories and iron-works, rises a
hill laid out in pleasure-grounds, to the 1., in which stands the
extensive ruined castle of Franchimont, destroyed as early as 1145
by a Bishop of Liege. The last proprietor is said to have been a
robber-knight, who possessed vast treasures buried in the vaults
beneath his castle, where they remain concealed to this day. The
tradition is gracefully recorded by Sir Walter Scott in his lines on
the Towers of Franchimont, —
'Which, like an eagle's nest in air,
Hang o'er the stream and hamlet fair.
Deep in their vaults, the peasants say,
A mighty treasure buried lay,
Amass'd through rapine and through wrong
By the last lord of Franchimont'.
Theux and La Reid are the next stations.