To be honest, I had no real reason to go to Luxembourg. Usually, I book trips to places with famous museums or libraries or medieval churches I want to visit in mind, but none of those things called me to Luxembourg City.
Back in February, I had been a little frustrated with winter and just randomly booked a soothing trip to anywhere for my boyfriend Steffen and me. We actually hadn’t left the country together ever since our trip to Belgium back in 2013, and although our domestic weekend trips to Berlin and Hamburg were super fun last summer, it was definitely time for a little lost in translation adventure again.
I chose Luxembourg, because it’s close to Germany and I had never really been before. (It’s slightly disturbing to think about how many countries I’ve seen no further than their rest stop toilets — Luxembourg was one of those countries.)
The train from my adopted home town Göttingen to Luxembourg City would take about 6 hours and I was sold: Stepping out of your house and arriving in a new country a few hours later? That’s what I love Europe for!
I arrived in Luxembourg with an almost no expectations: A knew I was going to see a UNESCO World Heritage Site just by strolling through the old city center, I knew which coffee shops I wanted to try, and I knew that I really needed to sample the national dish, fried potato pancakes, known as Gromperekichelcher (try pronouncing that!). Other than that, I just wanted to be surprised and enjoy not having plans.
I had forgotten how relaxing it is to just go with the flow. We just strolled around, took photos and experimented with Steffen’s new tripod, stopped for a beer here and there — and that was it. There was no pressure to see all the “musts” — mainly because I hadn’t even looked into what the musts actually were in Luxembourg City.
But when I did a little post-trip research, I realized that we had actually seen everything important: There big squares with statues, the bridges, the casemates, the Grand Ducal Palace, and all the pretty view points.
We even accidentally visited the huge history museum without really noticing. We just went in because it said “free admission” on the outside, and we only later realized that we had seen Luxembourg City History Museum, which was downright the coolest and most modern history museums I had ever been to (it had only reopened a month before!).
The weather sadly wasn’t on our side, but I didn’t really mind at all: The wet cobblestones shimmered beautifully and there were enough cozy bars to flee into when the rain got too strong. Of course, I was a little bummed when I looked up a few places on Instagram and saw that they looked even prettier with blue skies, but in the end it didn’t really matter: I got a few cute photos and all the colorful spring blossoms definitely made up for the lack of sunshine.
When my co-workers asked me about my weekend in Luxembourg, and I said “oh, it rained pretty much the entire time and there aren’t really that many sights” they were confused: “So, the trip wasn’t great?”.
No, actually, this trip was perfect. It was exactly what I needed.
Having no itinerary and no reason to get up early, was absolutely liberating. Speaking French (or at least trying to) was something I hadn’t done since my last trip to Paris, but I simply adore this language. We learned that next to French and German, Luxembourgish is widely spoken and it’s super easy to understand when German is your mother tongue.
And then we found out that Luxembourg City has a very high amount of immigrates and 25% of them are from Portugal — I nearly cried while sitting next to a group of Portuguese people at dinner. I love listing to Portuguese so much! Throw in a little English here and there, and the Italian we encountered while eating out — a whole glorious language confusion! In the end, I didn’t even know what language would come out of my mouth next, but I like surprises like that.
Do I feel bad that just booked a trip to anywhere, because I wanted some else to make me my scrambled eggs in the morning? Because I just wanted to be in a new country, but didn’t mind lying in my hotel bed watching Portuguese TV?
Well, maybe a little bit. But then again, it was exactly what Steffen and I needed, and I still feel like we saw a lot of what Luxembourg City has to offer. And the beer was actually really tasty.