When we were trying to plan a route from Trier to Paris, it seemed our best option ran through Luxembourg. We were able to get a good deal on a nice hotel there and thought that we might as well – as it didn’t really matter where we were staying that night anyway. Friends and family had left expectations low, as had the internet and most guide books. And in the midst of this low expectation, we were pleasantly surprised.
After days of super heat in Cochem and Trier, we were happy to arrive at our hotel, the Melia Luxembourg, and find an Air Conditioned room. While our intentions were to go out and explore that evening, all I wanted was a cold shower to rid myself of the sweat from walking in the mid-day sun, and a nap. We ventured as far as the hotel restaurant for dinner, and besides that, just stuck to the cold interior of our room. The hotel had “fancy” foods, which allowed us to expand our tastebuds – but of course with less than ideal price tag (though that is Luxembourg for you). Ray had Shoulder of Lamb, that looked more like a terrine, with Quinoa something or other, and I had trout with the largest variety of mushrooms I had ever experienced which left me to conclude that I don’t like most mushrooms (too many weird spongey textures), a surprise to me as I thought I loved them. Guess I only like the one kind of them found at home.
The following morning we set our alarm for early because we wanted to go for a walk before our train to Paris, leaving at 12:10pm. We obtained a map the night before and set out on our stroll at 8:00am. Ray wanted to find a bakery in town, to avoid the €15,00 per person continental breakfast at the hotel (great idea…in theory). The thing about Luxembourg is that there is a upper town and lower town, and they are 200 m apart (in altitude). The scenic path to get to old town from the hotel involved walking through an old Fort (Fort Thuringen), through the walls, across a field of wild flowers, and then down steps/paths through a small forested area for 200m until you reach the town floor – only them to walk under the train bridge and have to climb up another 200m to get to the old center of town. By the time we reach the bottom floor – the rain begins. Of course now we’re hungry, but determined. So through a series of staircases and steep roads we climb up to old town. Then the rain goes from a drizzle to a downpour. Standing under the first stoop we can find we are arguing over directions and realizing that NOTHING is open. Of course not. NOTHING is open at 9:00am on a SUNDAY morning in a small(ish) European town. Everyone is at church. *cue ringing church bells* So we decide to take a stroll to photograph a few places I was after. But of course this is a series of wrong turns. We went past the Grand Palace-ducal, down hills and stairs, and then back up them, until we were sopping wet, the cameras were drenched, and we were starving at tired. By now it was 10:00am, and we had been wandering for 2 hours. By now we realize we have 1 hour to get back to the hotel and pack up and catch the bus to the train. So Ray suggests we find a cab – also not working on SUNDAY morning. BUT next to the place the cabs were suppose to be was a….BAKERY! By 10:15 we managed to get our hands on a croissant. All this for a croissant. So we followed Ray’s map (and in this moment, better sense of direction than I had) and walked back to the hotel – this time across a bridge (no way I was going down and up into the valley again).
So this may not sell you on Luxembourg yet – but here’s the important fact – it is BEAUTIFUL. Photographing it is beautiful. If you actually follow the Wenzel Walk put together by the tourist information board – it’s lovely. The town had signs everywhere with maps and labels, so getting lost shouldn’t be a problem. The royal palace is in the middle of town, and the old historic forts and walls are a worthwhile sight. We’d like to stop there again one day – maybe this time with a full 24 hours to see the sights. Meanwhile our memories of Luxembourg are mostly reserved for our 3 hour rainy hike on Sunday morning. But it is a good start.
Until next time, Luxembourg!