Another day, another new country. The joys of travelling in Western Europe is that there are lots of borders! After a short few days in Belgium, I found myself at the end of the Vennbahn and in Luxembourg. I also managed to make it 3 country highest points in 3 days following on from Vaalserberg and Signal de Botrange with a visit to Burrigplatz. The Vennbahn doesn’t advertise itself for this, but all 3 points are remarkably close to it, with the diversion to Burrigplatz/Buurgplaatz taking less than 5 minutes including photo time. Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly interesting high point, with a tower and a memorial to the Allied soldiers who fought in the area the only real things to look at. Technically it’s not the tallest point in the country, that is a place called Kneiff that is even less impressive and 1km east, but everyone calls it the high point and that was good enough for me.
Maybe because Luxembourg is a quite rich country, with a large amount of the Luxembourgish economy being based on banking, the public transport is wonderfully priced, instead of being based on distance, it’s based on time. The cheapest ticket costs €2, and is valid for 2 hours. The day ticket is €4. That meant that I could take a train, from the very north of the country, all the way down to Luxembourg City for only €2, saving me an 80km ride in the rain. I also had a bit of a rush to get to the city, to meet Andrew, who was going to host me until his plans changed.
Andrew is a Brit that has grown up since he was very young in Luxembourg. He’s also lived in Scandinavia, and had a fascinating story to tell both about his life so far, but also about his country. We originally met at the station, where we nattered while he treated me to a cup of coffee and a Luxembourgish macaroon. As it was still piddling it down after that, and touristing around the city didn’t sound so exciting, I offered to help him organise his apartment – the reason his ability to host me had changed. His roommate had moved out, and his girlfriend was moving in, so over a cup of tea and a beer we mopped his whole place to shiny clean, and re-arranged things, as well as the fun conversation, I also got invited to dinner (firwat net – why not in Luxembourgish) where I met one of the two big chefs in Luxembourgish cuisine – Anne. You can read more about Anne on her website where she has some great books, including ones with British food. She brought the Baumkuchen pictured below, and yes it was delicious. The guy who ended up hosting me was Gerhard, an Austrian that works (as pretty much all immigrants in Luxembourg do) in the finance industry.
Luxembourg City is a quite fantastic place. It’s the city that looks most like it belongs in a fairy-tale that I’ve ever been to, and I include my trip to Disney World in Orlando in that. It’s a beautiful walled city, that used to be a fortress, and the walls seamlessly merge into the deep valleys that surround it. It’s one of those perfect places to build a castle, but you’d never build a city there nowadays as people like to build them in places that are as flat as possible. I visited the tourist information and they had a couple of booklets about walking tours to follow to see the key parts and it was glorious. I didn’t get to enter anywhere, because I’m not a millionaire and prices of touristy things are not cheap, but it was just fantastic to wander around in. A definite must-visit to the world’s only Duchy for anyone in or around the area – which includes Paris as it’s only 2 hours away!