Luxembourg 2K17 (The Holiday we don't talk about)

Sunday, 1 October 2017


When I first declared to my sister that I wanted to travel around Europe, her response was this:

"I don't see why, it's just full of castles and cathedrals."

After a passionate speech about how there's so much more to travel than the destination itself; it's about the culture, the way of life, meeting new people and experiencing new things, she rolled her eyes and we agreed to disagree.

So, as we decided on Luxembourg as a spontaneous destination, booked our flights, Air B&B and finally settled down in front of my laptop to browse 'things to do' I reluctantly turned to her...

"It's all fucking cathedrals and castles."

To which she replied: "You really should listen to me more."


If you ever fancy feeling shit scared of your holiday before you even arrive at the airport, grab yourself a lift with my Dad, he has an almost unbelievable talent of being able to list out every possible tragic scenario you could find yourself in - which is a fantastic trait if you are the co-director of Final Destination, not such a great attribute if you are transporting your two young, relatively nervous, daughters to their flight.

"Do NOT drink too much before you board your plane, you want to have your wits about you if there is an emergency"

"If I'm destined to catapult in a ball of flames into the English Channel, I think I would rather be six bottles of Pinot Grigio down, thanks Pa."

With this in mind, we waved him off and headed straight for the bar, a decision that more than likely aided in my newly-discovered confidence when facing security - something that had previously sent me on the edge of a nervous breakdown - turns out being groped by a tall, dark stranger isn't as exciting as the likes of E.L James would have us believe.



After the Amsterdam incident back in April, that saw four of us sharing a studio flat, you would have thought we would have learned our lesson when it comes to booking a room via Air B&B... Alas, we arrived in the late afternoon, greeted outside a grotty restaurant on the outskirts of Luxembourg City, by a lady who looked less than impressed that we were, seemingly to her inconvenience, paying over the odds to stay in her room.

The moody French lady lead us up a spiral staircase, explaining to us that we were the only guests booked in that night, but the next we would have to be aware of another couple staying. We looked at each other, both a little confused as why we would give a shit, but grateful for her making conversation.

As she opened the door, to what we believed to be our room, it suddenly made sense why we would need to know about the other people staying in her building.

It was a bathroom.

The only bathroom in the building.

A bathroom that we would have to walk through to get to our bedroom, meaning, if at any point in the next two days we wanted to exit the premises, we would have to pray no-one was taking a long bath (or worse)

We were handed the keys and threw our bags onto the double bed we would be sharing for the duration of our trip - I took my phone from my pocket and rummaged around my backpack for a charger and adapter, whilst Merrin 'freshened up.'

I began searching corners of the room for a socket, eventually locating one on the right side of the bed, covered in grime and half hanging off the wall. Before I had the chance to share my discovery with Merrin, she had burst back through the bathroom/bedroom door.

"There is a poo in the toilet, and it won't flush and it isn't mine!"

"How am I supposed to know it isn't yours?" I questioned, fiddling around with the wire of my phone,  praying under my breath that I wasn't about to be cooked by Luxembourgish electricity.

"BECAUSE I HAVEN'T HAD SWEETCORN IN THE PAST 48 HOURS."

It was at that moment, we knew we had potentially made a mistake.





EXPLORING LUXEMBOURG CITY




















After successfully surviving our first night in the death-trap that was our room, we decided to spend our first, and only full-day, on discovering what Luxembourg City had to offer.

One of the most challenging elements of our trip was working out what the native language was... As we hopped on-board a bus into town, we found ourselves surrounded by English, French and German-speaking citizens, ever-so-slightly confusing, but an excellent opportunity for me to utilise what I could remember from GCSE French, and my sister to practice her German.

We grabbed breakfast at a gorgeous little cafe on the outskirts of the main centre, and planned our day. The best discovery for us was the Luxembourg Card, which offers free access to over 60 destinations within the country - something that is incredibly useful when you're in a country that charges €5 for a cup of fucking tea.

We had a little discussion, and decided that since everything was within walking distance, we would spend the day being a little spontaneous, and heading to the tourist attractions as we came across them.


From our breakfast pit-stop, we strolled across the city and soon found ourselves outside Cathédrale de Notre-Dame.

This magnificent Gothic structure, constructed between 1613 and 1621, I'm sure is equally as impressive inside as it's exterior, however, we decided that it was probably best to admire such beauty from the street, on account of being unsure if our EHIC cards would cover the inevitable, spontaneous combustion that would come hand-in-hand with either of us trying to step foot on holy ground, plus, the only thing the cathedral had to offer on this particular occasion was their confession service and to partake in such a thing would come with great risk of missing our flight... We swiftly moved along.

BOCK CASEMATES

When I was seven or so, my sister (four and a half at the time) decided to lock me in the Wendy house at the bottom of the garden.

To this day I haven't decided what hurt me more, the betrayal of my sister in the first place, or the fact it took at least half an hour for my parents to realise I was missing - long story short, I've suffered with crippling claustrophobia ever since.

So, bearing in mind 2017 is the year to push myself and throw myself into uncomfortable situations, the beautiful, honeycomb rock galleries and passages of the Bock Casemates, situated beneath the Montée de Clausen and the cliff-top side of Count Sigefroid's once majestic fort, seemed like a pretty fantastic idea.

I beamed with pride as I stood at the edge of a fifteen to twenty-person que, clutching my Luxembourg card and repeating over and over again to my sister 'I'm such a strong person nowadays, I really am very brave"

"Mate, this isn't even slightly scary!" I boasted, whilst insisting Merrin took photographs of me in various challenging positions for me to upload onto social media with fear-conquering captions and various motivational hashtags.


I stand by my word. I was correct - it wasn't 'even slightly scary' ... for the first five minutes.

However, it turns out once you delve into the actual casemates, it is pretty easy to get lost within seventeen kilometres of tunnels, and incredibly terrifying.

We soon found ourselves wandering past the same rock about twenty times, and, with panic slowly set in, came to the conclusion that it would have been rather convenient for the Spaniards to have left some form of London-underground styled map attached to one of the many fucking rocks - or at least a warning next to 'do not enter if you suffer with a heart condition' that reads: 'if you don't want to spend eternity walking in circles until you eventually, and inevitably, run out of energy and die in an already-dug grave, please bring breadcrumbs to scatter throughout your non-guided tour'

Luckily, for us, we bumped into an American family that seemed to be very much enjoying the whole 'imminent death' experience, with their children slipping in and out of tiny rock formations, the Dad living by the rule of 'climb in as many dangerous places as you like, as long as I can see you.'

Eventually, we saw the light (physically, and figuratively) and decided, although a wonderful cultural experience, we would spend the rest of our trip above the ground.

MUSEUMS OF LUXEMBOURG


There are several museums and galleries in Luxembourg City, from the National Museum of Natural History to the  Luxembourg City History Museum, the best thing about them being the fact they can be done within a couple of hours, meaning we had time to fill our day with tons of historical and cultural activity - and also, very funny photographs next to priceless artefacts.


All in all, our trip to Luxembourg was eye-opening to say the least. From the Hepatitis B risk that came free with our Air B&B, the potential of having to take out a bank loan to purchase food in any one of the bistros scattered around the area, to learning the hard way that it's near impossible to kill eight-hours in Luxembourg City if you are waiting for your flight.



Luxembourg: a very beautiful country, but very fucking boring.

Elly xo

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Post a Comment

Leave me your thoughts!

Latest Instagrams

© Elly Mitchell . Design by Fearne.