Sunday, April 15, 2007

spring break! (luxembourg city)

before we came home from adam's conference, we swung through luxembourg because it was "on the way." (how cool is that?!) when my mom found out that we were moving to europe, one of the first things she asked was if we were going to go see luxembourg. luxembourg, she said, has always seemed so mysterious and beautiful and exotic and luxurious... i had never really been interested in luxembourg before this conversation with my mom, but after hearing her describe her fascination in this tiny country, we both decided maybe it would be a neat place to check out after all.

we spent only a couple of days in luxembourg, and got a hotel that was actually in luxembourg city. unfortunately, luxembourg city was itself a major disappointment to me -- it was nothing but a big city with a modern city center filled with clothing stores and chain restaurants (including a chi-chi's, which i didn't think existed anywhere these days!). we took a bus tour of the city, expecting to hear a lot about this "gibraltar of the north" and the history of the fortress wall surrounding it (listed on UNESCO's list of world heritage sites apparently), but over half the tour was spent looking at all the bank buildings and modern architecture. luxembourg is very proud of its economic strength and banking history, but it's not really something that is on the top of list of stuff i care about. i didn't really move to europe, or drive to luxembourg, to hear all about the financial districts. i came for the castles and the chocolate. but whatever.

so after realizing that luxembourg city was not anything like the luxembourg i was imagining (i was thinking more along the lines of vineyards and castles and churches), we picked up a map at the tourist office, walked back to the car, and headed out. it was good that we had a car since the weather was SO BAD (!!!), because we got to see a lot of the beautiful countryside without having to get too wet or cold.

some interesting things that we saw in luxembourg city: the fortress wall; the duke's palace which was right downtown; a beautiful park with a river waaaaay down below us; a lovely church; and an american military cemetery, the final resting place for thousands of soldiers who were killed in world war II, many of whom died during the battle of the bulge which was right in that area.

thankfully, the countryside of luxembourg was a lot more fascinating and beautiful than the city itself... but i'll save those pictures for our next entry!

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