After a night in Paris, Ann, Joseph and I woke up at 7am to catch the 7:40am direct train from Paris Gare De L’Est to Luxembourg.
Luxembourg boasts to be one of the world’s smallest countries covering only 2500 sq km (about the size of Rhode Island) and with a population of 500,000. Nevertheless, this country’s capital city of Luxembourg City is one of the 3 official capitals of the EU (along with Strasbourg and Brussels) and the seat of the the European Court of Justice (the highest judicial authority in the EU).
It was due to repeated invasions by its European neighbors that landlock this tiny country (Austria and France in particular), it was one of the critical mediators for the formation of the European Union, as well as being a founding member of NATO, the UN, OECD, and Benelux. With visa-free access to over 172 countries, Luxembourg’s passport is also the 6th most powerful in the world.
The train ride was quite pleasant, getting us there at 9:50am.
Checking into Grey Hotel across the street from Luxembourg’s Gare Centrale Station, Ann and Joseph met the other monsooners who had arrived the night before: Kimberly, Mihaela and Samin. Steph arrived soon after on an early morning flight.
While waiting for Alfred who would take another 2 hours to arrive, we headed to Brasserie Le Bistrot de la Place de Paris for an outdoor breakfast and coffee.
After breakfast, Alfred reached the hotel where some of the group went back to take a quick catnap while I took 4 others on a mission to find the country’s sole and only laundromat after a week shlepping in my stinky clothes.
It took us nearly an hour and half before we could find Quick Wash, and by then Hotel Grey was ready to check us in their Penthouse Suite.
By 4pm Koichi had arrived and the group was nearly complete. Off to Old Luxembourg!
When we crossed over from the southern, more modern New Luxembourg to northern Old Luxembourg on La Passerelle Bridge, it felt like we were crossing the Bridge to Terabithia into another world:
Our first stop in Old Luxembourg after the bridge was Notre Dame Cathedral:
By the Notre Dame Cathedral is the Monument Of Remembrance:
You can get views over the gorge here from Petrusskasematten:
Facing the Memorial is cobblestoned Petrusskasematten path:
From there you can head further into the city to explore. Place Guillaume II is their city center and lined with shops and outdoor cafés that remind you how too perfect of a European city Luxembourg is.
Along Rue du marché-aux-Herbes lie the Palais Grand-Ducal and Luxembourg’s well known Chocolate House facing each other side by side:
From there we headed over to the Chemin de la Corniche – Melhor Vista, aka “The Most Beautiful Balcony of Europe”:
You can see The Neumünster Abbey Cultural Exchange Center from here:
As the sun began to set, the city paradoxically began to become more alive; what was remarkable about our weekend here is that we happened to chance upon ING’s Night Marathon in Luxembourg where the whole old city shuts down and becomes a big giant street party.
And although every street corner bustled with freneticism, there were brief, fleeting moments of poignancy that made the whole experience here extremely surreal.
The group then bonded some more over a 3 hour dinner at L’Osteria, over by Place Guillaume II.
And after dinner, we headed to Cité Judiciaire for night views over the Luxembourg gorge:
Right by us we noticed an elevator that would take us to the ground floor of Barrio Grunde:
Here on the Grunde, the city takes a different, more intimate vibe.
At this point, the last person in our group, with the nickname “Better Late Then Never” from The Netherlands, joined us after a detour in Trier, Germany with her partner. We welcomed her with open arms and took her back to our hotel where we continued to bond over drinks in our penthouse suite.
At this point, some of the group headed out to M Club to party, not realizing it was a 17+ club. Oops. At least they got to dance.
The next morning we woke up at around 9am to head to Luxembourg’s YHA youth hostel a few minutes north, leaving our stuff there as we headed down to the Big Beer Company neighborhood for a fine dining lunch at Le Sud Restaurant.
Our lunch prix fixe started with an Organic egg cooked at low temperature, with truffle foam and finger of bread:
The next was a Scampi salad, celery remoulade, curry oil and balsamic reduction:
The entree was a choice between Pan-fried sea bass with basquaise piperade, chorizo chips and piperade sauce:
or Confit and frayed duck thigh, potato foam, arugula salad and duck juice:
We then had a cheese tasting before finishing off with Chocolate finger with raspberry and rhubarb:
The best part after dinner was being led upstairs to their private terrace for drinks, a selection of pastries, and views over northern Luxembourg City:
After spending nearly 4 hours here soaking up the sun, we walked 7 minutes over to Casemates du Bock, where we took a 30 minute city tour on this cute little locomotive:
Basically we got the same views of the entire city that you saw above but with a guided tour of the history of each neighborhood since the founding of Luxembourg City in 963 AD.
When we returned back to Casemates du Bock, we paid a small entry fee to descend into the casemates themselves, which a series of fortified gun emplacements that protected Luxembourg City and its citizens for hundreds of years.
And with that, we saw every single sight there is to see in Luxembourg City! Our group celebrated with outdoor drinks by Place Guillaume II in perfect weather, while being treated to a free impromptu outdoor orchestral performance. Once again, another moment that reminded how too perfect of a European city Luxembourg is.
Then we had a seafood dinner at Brasserie Guillaume nearby. Despite its questionable status as a landlocked country, the seafood this place served was unquestionably top quality. We chose 2 sets of 3 group spreads for about 250 euros total which fed all 10 of us more than adequately.
Then as we lingered on until midnight, we said our goodbyes to “Better Late Than Never” who was due to return back to her home in The Netherlands while we returned to check into our hostel.
After staying up the night for some final drinks toasting to our pleasantly surprising weekend in Luxembourg, the 6 of us remaining say goodbye to Joseph, Ann, Mihaela, while we head onwards to Malta.
Currently enjoying a morning outdoor breakfast at the hostel before heading on a 20 minute cab to the airport.
– At time of posting in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, it was 84.2 °F – Humidity: 36% | Wind Speed: 16km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear