28 February 2000
luxembourg city is a striking place. it is the meeting place of two deep river valleys. the landscape is beautiful. we arrived on the train in the afternoon.
it rained quite hard the whole time we were in luxembourg. this put a bit of a dampness on our experience, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. we walked in the rain about 20 minutes to the hostel, where we got a nice warm room to dry off in and settle into.
since we arrived on a monday we were a little concerned about finding stores that were open. mrk. and i had experienced this phenomena in france. it turned out that the grocery store near the hostel was closed so after walking in the pouring rain to determine this we decided to stay inside the rest of the night and just eat from the hostel bar.
luxembourg borders germany, belgium and france. they have their own language which sounds similar to dutch. however, everyone also speaks french and german. most people also speak english. this most frustrating thing about this is not knowing how to say thank you and please. we would like to say it in letzenbourgios but everyone greeted us in french and told us amounts in german so we could never figure out which way was up! i am sure if we spent more than just a few days there we could have figured out the proper way to address people just from listening to others. we only had a couple of days though.
our first full day was spent seeing the city. we went to the u.s. embassy first to try to mail our ballots for the primary election, but we discovered that embassies are useless for u.s. citizens unless there is an emergency situation (and i can only hope it is useful then.) this led us to the central post office to take care of our errand. the center is kind of a disneyland with all chain stores and restaurants. it was a little disappointing. it is better from a distance.
we spent most of the rest of the day walking in the river valleys and along the old city ramparts. that was really cool. the rivers were pretty low despite all the rain the day before and current, but the valleys are huge. it is hard to imaginge the valleys were carved by the rivers. they must be dammed up-stream. we had wonderful views of the city and the valleys as we walked.
we never found a non-touristy area. the city isnīt that big, but people obviously live there and do normal life things like grocery shopping. we were a bit disappointed to not have found these places readily. we got all the nice views but none of the current life of the city. it was a bit odd. we were just too focused on the sites i guess.
the next day we toured the rest of the country.
luxembourg is a little country. it is the kind of country you can bicycle the circumference of in a couple of days. with a little bit of a late start we were able to go from the city in the central-southern half of the county, to the northernmost city, to an easternmost city, and back to luxembourg city to catch our train at 6:30 in the evening. we spent about 3.5 hours in transit. the country is so small you buy an all-day transit ticket that is good for all buses and trains in the entire country! it is the smallest country we have been to that has countryside. so it is larger than san marino, vatican city, and monaco.
we took the train north first. it wasnīt long on the train before we left the city and had just views of the green, wet countryside. all of the rivers we saw this day were quite swollen (including those below luxembourg city.) it was a little less rainy this day, more like seattle rain. it was beautiful. it reminded me a little bit of home. we got off the train at the last stop before the belgium border. we only spent a half hour in this town, but since everything was closed for lunch for two hours it wouldnīt have done us any good to have spend another hour there. we immediately took the train south to ettelburg, a central city with lots of transfers.
most things were just opening up as we left ettelburg. it was a small city (as opposed to a town) and had many shops and places to explore. we were mostly just there as a transfer point to go to echternach. we were told echternach was a beautiful medieval village in what they call the little switzerland of luxembourg. we were very much looking forward to seeing it.
the bus ride from ettelburg to echternach was about 45 minutes and we followed the river that makes the border between germany and luxembourg. it was really neat with the river over-swollen with rain water. the area didnīt look very mountainous to me though. it was hilly and green.
echternach feels more like a town than a city and is located right on the border with germany. most of the old medieval buildings were destroyed in the war and have now been rebuilt. i was a bit disappointed. maybe it was only the bad mood i was in.
the best part about our visit to echternach was leaving the country. we walked across the bridge to germany, just to do it. we only spent about 2 minutes in germany before returning to luxembourg. then we walked along the river back to the bus station where we got our bus to luxembourg and then our train to bonn. we stayed in germany this time.
yesterday we searched out and then ran away from karneval events. things are
quiet today. tomorrow we will probably search out and run away from karneval
events again. i think sunday will be a little quieter again. we may just
leave anyway. dano returns to the u.s. on monday and mrk. and i are heading
to switzerland. we keep changing our plans as to what happens after that.
at the end of this month we hope to be settling into our own little old circus
wagon on the property of the gut ostler organic farm. that should be our
home for the month of april and a large part of may.
© Copyright Cheryln Crowl 2000