Monday, April 26, 2010

Europe Trip Part 3 - Luxembourg

You may have mistakenly attributed my most recent posting hiatus to my planned London trip, but I'm sorry to report that Eynafywhatever successfully screwed that up for me. Instead I spent last week going to class and writing a paper for my final literature grade, and then on the weekend I went with the London group to one of the girl's grandmother's beach property about two hours away in Cantabria in a town called Suances. That was really fun, and although London would have been better because I would have gotten to play translator for the Spaniards, I'm glad we at least went somewhere. I'll probably tell you guys about that eventually, though I might be back home by then . . .
Anyway for now we're going to talk about Luxembourg. Or to be more specific, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (just so you don't confuse it with all the other Luxembourgs out there). I wanted to include this country on my European itinerary because it's a place that fairly few people have been to, and I'm something of a travel elitist. This was also my reason for visiting Andorra later in the same trip, and my (brief) stays in these exotic destinations made me realize that the reason not a lot of people have visited them is because there's just not that much to see. So now that we've started off on a positive note, I'll comment on my Luxembourgish voyage.
My train ticket from Brussels was open each way, so I got up around 9 and caught the 10 o'clock train. It's a three hour train ride to Luxembourg (the name of the country, but also its capital), which I passed by sleeping. At this point I actually sleep better on trains/planes/buses than I do in hostel beds (or my bed in Amparo's apartment), which is just as baffling to me as I'm sure it sounds. The train station in Luxembourg is pretty far from the old town center, so the first thing I did when I arrived was walk over a mile in the cold. (What's up with snow in Europe in the winter? Come on!) Along the way I saw some buildings, which I know is really nondescriptive, but I bet there are pictures with captions around here somewhere . . .

Haha when I got on the train I was like "Wow, this is a really nice train!" until 20 minutes later when the guy checked my ticket and kicked me out of the first class car. Oops

General Omar Bradley's headquarters, as you have probably already read above

Building across the street from General Omar Bradley's headquarters; which is pretty much what the headquarters looked like too

View of the two previously mentioned building across the gorge (gorge? the space between two hills) that separates new Luxembourg from the older part of town

Don't be fooled, future Luxembourg tourists! This casino is actually a contemporary art museum!

Luxembourg's National Monument

One of my main objectives was to tour the casemates, a series of tunnels in the hill the old town is built on that have led Luxembourg to be called "The Gibraltar of the North", but they are closed in the winter, much to my dismay. I spent an hour or so wandering around the town, which is picturesque enough, albeit fairly small, then caught a bus with the intention of going out to the Modern Art Museum outside of town. While on the bus, though, I decided to just stay on the bus and go back to the train station to catch the next train back to Brussels, which left at 4, so I could get back and have dinner and see a few more things there. So my total time spent in Luxembourg was about 3 hours. Luxembourg, like Okracoke, it seems, is a place that takes more time to get to than you will end up spending there.

Got creative with a statue of a fox and some church towers

One of the Grand Dukes, presumably

The Grand Duke's Palace. In case you're wondering, yes, I did walk around all day laughing at the word "duchy" in my head. Challenge yourself to think like a 5 year old, and you'll get it.

Government buildings, with no apparent security since some random tourist was just walking around in their courtyard
(Hint - it was me!)

A church in the old town

The entrance to the Cathedral

"Everybody stand back, I'm gonna chop this Ark of the Covenant in half WITH MY BARE HANDS!!"

The main tourist plaza, with a Pizza Hut and a Chi-Chi's. According to Wikipedia, they closed all of the North American locations of Chi-Chi's after a Hepatitis A outbreak started at one of their Pittsburgh restaurants. And you thought this was just a travel blog! Be careful reading this, you might just learn something. About now defunct Mexican restaurant chains . . .

Said plaza also sports a Quality Burger Restaurant. I would have taken a picture of the actual historic building on there but it was completely covered in scaffolding.

Der Big Rösti appears to be a cheeseburger with a hash brown on top, finished off with bacon and mayonnaise. How does McDonalds in Luxembourg have this and those in the US don't?

A very imposing post office

They have weird stop lights in Luxembourg

So weird I took a second picture to prove my point

Luxembourg train station. Maybe I should have put this at the beginning of the post, right after I arrived. But I took this picture as I was leaving.

Hehe, Abfahrt

Awesome, I've never been on a train with a hallway on one side and cabins before!

Yeah, this looks more appropriate for what I paid for the ticket

I got back to Brussels after 7 and got of the train a station early so I would be closer to the Grote Markt. I found a kebab (cheap food, European style) and had a much too large plate of gyro and french fries, before wandering around the tourist restaurant district looking for a bar that has the Guinness World Record for most different types of beer, well over 2,000 at last count (Délirium Café, look it up when you're in Brussels). And after a few trips down memory lane courtesy of my friend Samuel Adams I went back to the hostel to get some rest before going to Paris the next morning.

Brussels Cathedral by night

Mmm . . . tastes like AMERICA


  1. American beer in Europe? What were you thinking?!

  2. Really, you only tried Samuel Adams?? Luxembourg is also not on my list of places to see before I die, but I did enjoy your post. Went to Roanoke this week-end, and Patrick's mountain is especially beautiful now. Seeing it made me very impatient to see you!
    Love, Mom

  3. I'm with Debbie - why would an American drink Samuel Adams while in Luxembourg? I want my money back. By the way, I think I've seen that Grand Duke's statue on Monument Avenue...DAD

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  6. So do you think that engraving is based on raiders of the lost ark or the other way around? because it certainly looks like the one in the movie. At least the angel part does.

  7. I think that's just how the Ark of the Covenant is commonly depicted, but if I had to guess I would also suppose the door was made before the movie. Unless I'm missing your obvious sarcasm, which is pretty likely. And back off people, I like Sam Adams and blueberry muffins and other American things that I can't get in Europe!

  8. I've had plenty of bad beer so I'm with you on the Sam Adams! Like mom said,nice pics! Tim T