That’s right, Luxembourg.
This trip was booked a month and a half in advance. To be honest, the first urge of visiting Luxembourg dated back to last year when I was in Hong Kong and my uncle jokingly said he wanted to go to Luxembourg. He even admitted that he didn’t really want to go, but it was then that a seed of desire to see this unknown land was planted in my heart. Why Luxembourg? Well, why not? It’s not the first time that spontaneous wanderlust has materialized into an actual trip, though I do admit that Luxembourg as a destination was pretty random. It’s a small country, literally a dot on the map, and so mysterious. So heck, the voice in Annie’s head said, “Go for it.”
This would be the second Benelux country to visit, although I haven’t officially “visited” Belgium yet, other than living here. It took approximately 2.5 hours to get from Louvain-la-Neuve to Luxembourg City, the capital of Luxembourg the country (I will just refer to the city as Luxembourg from here on), and the good thing is that I didn’t even have to go to Brussels first. Normally, going anywhere from LLN would require me first going to Brussels, but as Luxembourg was in the opposite direction, only one transfer at Ottignies was necessary, and 2.5 hours and a short nap later, I found myself in a completely different country.
The first thing I needed to make sure when I got off the train: Am I in the country of Luxembourg? I sure hope so, because it would not be cool if I got dropped off at some unknown village in the PROVINCE of Luxembourg in Belgium, which is right next to the country. I headed directly to the information desk for a city map, and lo and behold, it looked quite similar to Luxembourg as Google Maps showed me, so that was one paranoia dissolved.
Next: What language do they speak here? Walking through the train station, I heard an unfamiliar language that I could only assume was Luxembourgish. Uh oh. I would have to choose between English and French as the language of communication, but since French is one of the official languages of Luxembourg, I decided to respect that and try my best with French. If all else fails, most people know English anyway, so I’ll save that as a last resort.
What to see and do in Luxembourg in two days? Well, I’ve decided to not only wander and explore, but to get to know a bit of the history of the city/country as well. That calls for a simple guided tour just to get some background information, and it was readily available at the tourist office. I figured once I learn some basic history of this new place, discovering the city on my own afterwards would be more interesting with the knowledge in mind.
With the brief research I did beforehand, I made a list of the placed I thought I’d visit (most them were on the city map, thankfully). Let’s take a look at this list and check it off as we go along.
- Adolphe Bridge
- Bock Casemates
- Petrusse Casemates
- Three Tower
- Grand Ducal Palace
- Petrusse Valley
- Fish Market
- Holy Ghost Citadel
- William Square
- Chemin Corniche
- The Red Bridge
- Notre Dame
Warning: Lots of photos coming up. Mouseover the small pictures to read a brief description and click to see the full version.
Day 1: First impression
Luxembourg is perfect for walking. As every attraction is so close to each other, it’s quite easy to find what you’re looking for. You only really need the map for about half an hour and afterwards, unless you’re completely direction-blind, you should be able to navigate smoothly through the city. The following is a walk-through of day 1, with brief historical recounts thanks to my trilingual tour guide (English, French, and German). He was very informative, but three languages with a group of 37 may have been overkill…kudos to him!
First impressions of Luxembourg, as I walked from the train station to the tourist office. In a nutshell, Luxembourg is separated into the upper town and the lower town, where the lower town literally dwells in the valley. This will become apparent in later promenades.