Friday, 29 April 2011

Happy Days in the Land of the Gummi Bears

People always tell you how wonderful Paris is, or how magnificent is the architecture of Rome, or about the many splendours of Basingstoke, sorry, I mean Barcelona. But I've never heard anyone talk of Luxembourg City. Why not? It's a little gem.

Luxembourg proves that you don't need to be massive to be a great city. She has the same population as Blackburn, the town into which I was first shat upon this earth, but the simularity ends there. The old and the new work in harmony, with the fortified walls gazing down upon the old town with its winding, slow-paced river, while efficient, uptight, modern Europe, with a European Parliament and shiny, modern office blocks sit up on the hill counting its cash. You can guess which is the prettier, but the new stuff doesn't look bad either.

Unlike in London and Paris, the locals seem relaxed and happy, and again unlike London and Paris, there are no swarms of tourists buzzing from one site to the next. There's just a handful of wandering folk taking the occasional snap. Maybe there's a connection. Or maybe the tourists in Luxembourg just don't know where they're supposed to go buzzing to next.

Other reasons to visit Luxembourg:

1) It's the perfect size to walk around in a few hours.

2) It has an excellent cyclepath system and (almost) city-wide WiFi.

3) It has a shop that sells nothing but Gummi Bears. I'm not sure why but, to me, that seems like A Good Thing.

4) Since crossing the French border, beer has returned to affordable prices.

5) I was told that the official languages are French and German but a third language (is it Flemish?) is used in shop windows, which seems to be a cross between the two. This lends an air of mystery or makes you feel you're going slightly mad. You choose. (Or maybe these are just words my rubbish French and German haven't come across yet.)

6) There's a tranquil park beneath the viaduct if you want to escape the noise, but there isn't really that much noise.

7) It's not Blackburn.

You should come here, and I should stay longer. But I've got to leave in the morning and head towards Brussels, where I have three - count 'em, three! - people to meet and a date with a fully functioning tent pole from Hilleberg. Oh, and Belgian beer. Can't forget Belgian beer. So farewell, Luxembourg. It's been a pleasure.

1 comment:

  1. It's Letzebuergisch. Really. It's an actual language and you have perfectly accurately described the confused feeling it induces in those of us who don't speak it -- like listening through a periscope around a corner. Cool, huh like a secret code for a country... good on 'em.