Not everyone can know about history, history with a capital H as well as local history. But this knowledge is now available to everyone, simply by listening to “Lauschtouren”, free apps which guide walkers and provide tourist itinerary commentaries – and you can listen directly with your phone while looking out over the Moselle! This scheme has been made possible thanks to funding from the European Union’s Leader Programme.
Until this year, do you know what the difference was between the Moselle and the River Seine? The cruise boats that sail between Schengen and Wasserbillig are silent, unlike the Parisian sightseeing boats that provide constant commentary describing what tourists can see in the City of Lights! This comparison may raise a smile; however, it was this difference that started the process that led to Lauschtouren. “Passengers aboard boats on the Moselle were being given no information at all and we thought that was such a pity,” explains Nathalie Neiers, Manager of the Miselerland Regional Tourist Office.
Because once you understand a landscape, you’re able to enjoy it so much more. This holds equally true for walkers. The Moselle area is packed with walking paths; however, unless you’re able to use certified Tourist Office guides, it’s impossible to know about them all. And this means that guides are mostly used to lead group walks that are organised well in advance, and not for outings decided on the spur of the moment because the light happens to be particularly splendid that day.
Since the country is investing in a digital future, a digital solution seemed absolutely logical given that smartphones have many resources. Rather than creating an app just for itself, the Moselle region decided to become part of the Lauschtouren network, which is already operating in Germany and Belgium. If you use the Lauschtour app today, available free from the App Store and on Google Play, there are four guided tours available in French, Luxembourgish, English and German. Visitors can use them to explore Remich, Grevenmacher, Dalheim and, of course, to follow the routes taken by the cruise boats on the Moselle.
What was important for us was to create really lively content, while placing the emphasis on local culture.
The tool is extremely easy to use. Once you confirm your geolocation, the app will suggest walks closest to your location. The home page shows the length of the walk, how long it takes and also the start and end points of your circuit. Once the walk has been downloaded, the map is displayed. It is dotted with red points showing those places where the app will provide content. When you are on the boat, the app will make the phone vibrate to alert you that a commentary is available.
There’s a vast amount of information to be gathered! “We turned to local people who know all the anecdotes connected with these places,” Nathalie Neiers confides. “What was important for us was to create really lively content, while placing the emphasis on local culture.” There is a whole series of different stories which are told in Luxembourgish but are translated into the language of your choice. Among those with a story to tell are Monique Hermes, who knows Grevenmacher like the back of her hand, Thérèse Siebenaler who explains about making wine and the rules and regulations for producing crémant, Dany Kieffer, a Navitours Boats’ captain, Luc Roeder, the forest warden (and also winegrower in Rosport), a real expert on nature, as well as Michèle Risch, the archaeologist who talks about the Dalheim Roman site. A young girl, a pupil at the conservatory in Grevenmacher, even gets her violin out to play a tune and sing a traditional song.
There’s no doubt that by using this app your wanderings will take on a whole new dimension. The app designers have made a real effort to incorporate sounds and images into the explanations – bringing them even more to life. These stories may be very serious; others refer to local anecdotes that will make you smile.
Very shortly, two new circuits will be available. With one you can explore the spa town of Mondorf and the other one, covering the area around Manternach, will focus on the wealth of nature in the Moselle Valley. And already rumour has it that Schengen and Mertert-Wasserbillig are hoping to join the cohort too.