Arriving in Luxembourg, a bit of panic set in. Dressed in shorts and t-shirts, I vowed never to show my legs based on the abundance of stares we got as we first searched for our hotel room. “Not okay. Not okay. Not okay. Never again. Just ignore…keep walking… Ben’s here. It’s all good. Oh my god..what if our hotel room is here? Can we ask for a refund? Keeeeeep walking…”
We kept walking and thank goodness, the rest of the city is nothing like what we walked through near the train station. Turns out that taking a left and a right lead to very different areas, and our hotel ended up perched on the corner of two grandiose streets, amongst richly decorated homes and several lavish embassies.
This was much more comfortable, and tossing our bags into our simple hotel room, we went out to explore. The monetary, historic, and artistic richness of the city was evident in all areas of the city beyond that very first taste we had. The city itself is actually a commune, centered around a large plateau and made up of 24 distinct quarters. In a sense, this made the city more mystical- from the city center, there are all these tiny communities scattered around. Each is possible to get to, but requires a steep hike or elevator ride down the plateau’s edge, so those further from the center seemed like magical lands.
While walking around and taking in the views of other quarters from hillsides and bridges, it became clear that particular sections of the city were relaxed while others were more trendy and hip (take note: 90s style- flashy patterns, high tops, belly shirts, neon colors, elastic pants… for guys and girls… may be coming to a style shop near you soon!) Being a city less touristic than others we visited, it was fun to imagine how the different cultures all combined to live so close to one another.
One afternoon, after a conversation where we let our ‘nerd’ out by trying to come up with different options for foods named after cities, we came across a quarter mimicking a New York City block. Our conversation, which was led by the idea of crafting a LuxemBurger, was so incredibly timed with this visit that Ben ended up eating THE LuxemBurger for dinner that night. Just a few hours after we daydreamed about creating a menu to include LuxemBurgers, we actually found a place that served this silly food. It was much different than expected, as it payed homage to Luxembourg’s traditional dish, Judd mat gaardebounen: smoked pork topped with white beans. There was in fact no burger patty involved at all. If this is a burger, what might their 10euro New York Style bagels be?! Next time we’ll have to try!
Beyond the food, we had a great time wandering the city and exploring the arts and history. Originally, we’d planned to take day trips to go to Trier, Germany and another to nearby Vianden Castle (which we were able to get to during their Renaissance Fair!) but we decided to skip Trier and spend that day in Luxmbourg.
From Casemates Bock, a former castle -turned- underground world complete with 278 stairs and a fair amount of dead ends, to art exhibits featuring works by Yoko Ono, there was so much to take in!
Despite not being known for its tourist draw, Luxembourg City and its surrounds has plenty to keep travelers and families busy for days on end. And let it be known that first impressions aren’t everything. Just make sure to take a right not a left when you get off the train.