Then a second train to Luxembourg, this time after sunrise.
And there we were! We were so excited at the idea of being there, which was actually the right mindset, because Ville de Luxembourg has really not much to offer. It has shopping options – more than any sane person could wish for. I’ve never seen so many high couture shops in my life, not even in Milan or London. There was even a shopping info point, something I can hardly wrap my mind around.
Sure enough, though, the city itself was really nice: neat, extremely clean, elegant, classic but with a modern twist. A city made for business.
Even cherry tomatoes didn’t dare to go out of line.
Another thing that impressed was how everything was within reach on foot. It was really not worth it to catch a bus (unless you’re carrying a huge bag from Villeroy & Boch, I imagine. The trademark was born here and the family still owns a frigging castle not far from the city centre).
A rare picture of my company, G. and E., that I feel comfortable sharing since it’s already censored!
The city is divided into high and low and we saw both in no time, it’s so small. We dedicated the afternoon to the only two activities there were in our program: first the casemates, and then the Musée national d’histoire et d’art (a quick note: even though the country has three official languages, that is luxembourgish, french and german, all indications are french and people speak luxembourgish, while german is used in press and books). I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures in the Museum (which is very good by the way!), let’s talk about the casemates!
There are two, but we could only visit one, Bock, because the other one was closed. They’re usually only open in summer/early autumn. Bock’s last day is tomorrow for the year! We’re lucky people. So, what can you see there? From Wikipedia’s page:
The stairs down from the entrance lead to the huge Archeological Crypt where wall plates give an overview of the history of the fortifications. More stairs lead down through the dungeons of Siegfried’s old castle to the casemates themselves, a series of long tunnels down into the rock parallel to the road above. There are a number of lateral passages as well as chambers and balconies with openings to the north and south. Once emplacements for canons, today they offer views of the Alzette valley below.
But soon enough we were walking along narrow tunnels with low ceilings and no light and fresh air at all, and we lost our orientation a couple times. We had to climb up and down very irregular staircases. Visits are not encouraged for anyone with reduced mobility / fear of closed space / no orienteering skills! It was such a fascinating place though. I’m really happy we went there! And I’m sure it would have been less interesting in summer, among dozens of tourists. It was just good like this.
After that, we visited around, hum, ten floors of the museum I mentioned. What can I say, I might have finally met someone with whom I can do that! I had such a great time and we spent three and a half very enjoyable hours. Which made us famished.
So, afternoon dessert it was. I shared with E.: we got the three-chocolate mousse (which was good) and a crème brulée that was out-of-this-world good. (it better be. It was pricey!)
So time to get back to the railway station came. And that was when Ville de Luxembourg showed me its best face. It’s the same place as in the first picture, that I had already fallen in love with because of its bright contrast between classical and modern architecture. Only, by night, it’s just all the more beautiful and intense.
Now, I wouldn’t say I think it’s a wonderful place. I would most definitely not live here, and I know a big part of my excitement was knowing I was in Luxembourg, which is such a rare and atypical travel destination… but I’m really happy I went! Now, I admit I only want to crawl into bed, but today made for such a strange experience I think it contributed to the mind-widening this whole Erasmus experience is giving me. Luxembourg was like a super-Switzerland. Not much to do, not much to see, just plain, simple beauty and a lot of mind-numbing shopping for overpriced useless stuff. That a place like this exist, it makes me giggle like I still can’t believe it. That I visited, it makes me feel like a more conscient, a more present citizen of this world.