Luxembourg

Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a curious place. It’s a teeny-tiny country sandwiched between Germany, Belgium and France. It wasn’t really on my “must visit” list, but I was curious to check it out. Boy Child’s one and only international “tournament” (please detect the hint of sarcasm here…more like clinic than tournament) for soccer was scheduled to be held in Luxembourg. Since it’s only about 90 minutes from where we live, we decided to load everybody up, including Dog, and head to Luxembourg.

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Good Dog.

The drive was really uneventful, which was nice. Boy Child actually left the day before we did, as his training kicked off at 4pm on Friday. Judging by the text I received, his evening was slightly more eventful than ours:

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You know it’s sad when “hot mess” is used.

When we reached the border, we were greeted by French signs. Luxembourg officially speaks French, but also German more unofficially. So really, it was tri-lingual because there was also a LOT of English being spoken. It was also absolutely beautiful. Rolling, lush, green hillsides with vineyards all over the place. Once we crossed the border, it was as though the heavens opened up and let in the sunshine. My Wall-E solar panels deployed and all was right in the world.

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Oh hai, blue sky!

We arrived at the training facility and found Boy Child. We said our hellos and popped open the back of the car, as every good American family should do in order to stand out. Dogs weren’t allowed in the facility, so we didn’t really have too many other options–until we saw other families bringing their dogs in. We feigned ignorance and leashed up the girl and went inside.  The training facility was amazing. Turf and grass fields and even better–FREE BEER. Free, non-German beer. Don’t get me wrong, German beer is good. However, after a while, it all begins to taste the same. When you get the chance for free non-German beer, you take the free non-German beer.

When we had properly embarrassed Boy Child enough, we hopped in the car and headed to our hotel. We stayed at the DoubleTree, which was on top of a hill kind of on the outskirts of Luxembourg City. The staff was very friendly and the room was pretty nice. The price was good, so really no complaints there. Dog was allowed to stay in the room, so Girl Child, Husband and I decided to play tourist downtown.

Trip Fail #1: Bringing the big car. Yes, friends, we own a biggish, obnoxious American/Japanese car (2012 Honda Pilot). Since Husband’s smaller car was due for some serious maintenance, we brought Dorothy (the Pilot). Navigating the small European streets with this behemoth is not really the most fun experience, so we decided to see if we could grab a cab from the hotel to downtown. Going 4 miles couldn’t be *that* expensive, right? That brings me to…

Trip Fail #2: Taking a taxi from the hotel to downtown. In theory, it was a great idea. We didn’t have to try to find parking, and they could just drop us off right where we needed to be. What we didn’t factor in was the price. We didn’t hit the ATM before we left, so our Euro supply was slightly diminished. €30 later, we were dropped off right downtown.

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6:00 pm. On a Saturday. Odd.

Luxembourg City is really quite charming. The streets are very pedestrian friendly. On the edge of the downtown area, there are views to old fortresses, modern high-rise buildings and ancient Roman aqueducts. It’s a unique juxtaposition of a city growing around its history. After we did our obligatory selfies, we wandered around trying to figure out our food options. We noticed one strange thing: the stores and shops closed around 6:00 pm. On a Saturday. Say whaaaaat?!!? I still can’t quite wrap my brain around this one. I understand being closed on Sundays, but to close on a Saturday at 6:00 pm? Odd. As we were hunting for food, we found something that made us feel as though we were right back in the states:

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Seriously? A Chi-chi’s? 

While Husband and I were down for trying it out, we knew Girl Child couldn’t really subsist on chips alone so we found the nearest Golden Arches and had dinner. As we were eating, we counted up our euro to see if we had enough to grab a cab back to the hotel. We realized that we were about €12 shy of our goal. I Google-mapped how far our hotel was and it said that it was just over 4 km. The great thing about living so far north is that the sun stays out for a lot longer. Since it was still light out and the weather was beautiful, we decided to go ahead and hoof it back to the hotel.

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Smiles *before* we started hiking…

Note: Converse Chuck Taylors are NOT a good choice for walking shoes. For short distance wandering, yes. Hiking four kilometers up a hill? No. Also? Walking four kilometers is a lot longer when it’s pretty much entirely uphill. We passed by some parks, a slightly sketchy neighborhood, a nicer neighborhood, and finally made it to the hotel. We were so tired by this point, we called it a night.

The next morning, I woke up about 20 minutes before my alarm was slated to go off. Not even 10 minutes after I woke up, we had a most annoying fantastic wake-up call–a fire alarm. Nothing like hoofing it down 14 flights of stairs, Husband carrying Dog (she’s not quite spritely anymore) down said stairs and having Girl Child try her hardest not to be cranky. I have to give the girl credit, she was quite the little trooper. It turned out to be a false alarm, so we went back upstairs, changed and grabbed breakfast.

After breakfast, we loaded up the car and decided to drive around to see if we could find a couple of places that Husband had seen on the map. There was supposed to be a really neat Expo/shopping area nearby. We had enough time before Boy Child’s game started, so off we went. Needless to say, it wasn’t easy to get to from where we were staying. There was construction on the freeways, a few missed exits and of course, a few missed roundabouts. We finally found it and really, it wasn’t anything super spectacular. At least now we know where to go if we go to a concert or need some retail therapy in Luxembourg.

All in all, Luxembourg is a cool little place to explore. There is a lot more to it than what we did. For a quick surface adventure, we had a great time. Since it’s only 90 minutes from us, I’m pretty sure that we’ll venture back for more shenanigans.

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