’tis a lovely place.
I went by train from Paris, it’s a pretty journey, green and misty, but over all too soon. Damn these miniature European micro countries! I was barely settled into my book and brunch when the train pulled in at Luxembourg City and they rudely kindly asked us all to disembark.
Somebody had warned me that it was an expensive country to travel, so I arrived well prepared, with enough food to last me a full two days – as though there are no supermarkets in all of Luxembourg. The restaurants did look rather pricey so I guess I saved a lot of money. However, as much as I’m usually content to live on figs and cheese and bread, it’s a shame I still have no idea what real Luxembourger cuisine is.
Instead I got my culture fix by (you guessed it) walking around a lot… Looking at shops, galleries and countryside. And this is what I learned:
- Don’t trust google maps. It might be out to kill you. Trying to find MUDAM, Luxembourg’s modern art gallery, I was led to a spooky looking dead end by the side of an abandoned railroad. Upon “refreshing”, google maps re-routed to guide me through (literally under) a medieval fortress… I did eventually get to my destination, which was on a big road. Easily accessed by normal people traveling along other normal, accessible roads.
- Inaccurate maps are fun.
- International roaming is temperamental and expensive, especially on a temperamental phone with an expensive provider (yoigo I hate you I hate you I hate you oh well I suppose you’re all right some of the time)
- MUDAM was well worth the trek. If you happen to find yourself in Luxembourg city, I recommend checking it out. Students are free, grown-ups are cheap, and everyone is free on Wednesday evenings. And now I can say I have a favourite Luxembourgian artist; Su Mei Tse, for her short (loop) film “echo” (which featured a digitally animated cellist playing to a mountain range), and her captivating black ink fountain.
- Luxembourgish (and the random mix of French, German and Portuguese which is spoken alongside it), is baffling.
- The Luxembourg countryside looks as though it would be great for walking, in summer. Assuming it stops raining in summer. It’s hard for me now to imagine it without rain.
- With so many impressive ruins and big walls, Luxembourg City is a great place to photograph… see below
Upon leaving, the Grand Duchy administrators asked me to kindly fill out a survey on my experience in Luxembourg. I rated it ‘pretty, but sleepy’, and confessed to having spent less than 50 euros (including accommodation) throughout my entire stay in their lush green Dukedom. But with all that fertile green soil, and all the mineral money under it, I’m sure they can do without my hard earned pesos.
They asked me if I’d be back again, and I know you should never say never, but for me Luxembourg just didn’t have that feel to it.