Luxembourg City (and a little of Trier)
My first journey of 2014 was to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. This small landlocked national is perhaps known for some beautiful scenery and for being of the richest countries in the world.
It is also the last remaining grand duchy in the world. The history of Luxembourg is ancient but it is generally regarded to have begun in 963 AD. These days is much smaller than its heyday having lost land time and time again most notably in Belgium whose province Luxembourg includes that taken from the Grand duchy. Such ‘compromises’ and the fact that opposing sides did not desire their rivals to occupy Luxembourg is how the small nation has still survived to this day.
I arrived via Brussels having travelled to Brussels via Eurostar the night before.
The train journey via Arlon was straight forward enough. I have heard some of the scenery going to Luxembourg was nice. If it was I didn’t see it having characteristically fallen asleep mist of the journey and arriving in a thick fog. Something which seemed to be an almost ever present characteristic of my mornings in Luxembourg’s winter.
The first new thing I learned about Luxembourg is that it can be called a tobacco capital of the west. Arriving at the train station I went to the Relay Store to buy a drink. I waited an insane 20-30 minutes as hordes of tourists buying tobacco gave list after list. In fact one woman gave up a long wait before me when she was waiting to buy a newspaper. Apparently tobacco is cheap and many people travel to the country for tobacco and petrol.
The capital city quite conveniently titled Luxembourg City is also a place of many viewpoints where you can admire the pleasant Old Town. The Old Town is small and many of the viewpoints will just be angles or perspective of the same thing. In winter the fogs annoyance is compounded that when it does clear the sun is setting on the ‘wrong side’ of the architecture. It is just not too kind to photographers. Another surprise is that the language of choice seemed to to be their national language Luxembourgish (very similar to German), nor German which residents can understand but French. Many times I was asked questions by tourist and locals alike. My French though is almost non-existent.
Walking through the old town is pleasant and not very strenuous. In the evening I took the bus to Grevenmacher to meet Danielle and her friend. Danielle took us to the German border town of Trier where we enjoyed the food at a nice restaurant before going for an evening stroll.
I planned to go to Vianden the next day but this never occurred. I went to liturgy at the ROCOR church there. Which outside looks like a small converted Orthodox Church. Inside it was immensely beautiful and the laity were kind although many could not speak English. After liturgy I returned to the Old Town but prepared for my return to Belgium/