Monday, April 19, 2010

A Look at Luxembourg

Last night in Luxembourg, tonight in Belgium (and believe me, I'm really craving a beer right now, so I know where I'm headed once I finish this post): it's a whirlwind tour! But I am thankful to be here, although it sounds like our poor tour group, which is scheduled to start tomorrow, may be down to eleven members. This, combined with the fact that my lead guide still has yet to arrive in the city, does make me just a little wary.

But Luxembourg was a joy to visit, filled with turrets, twisting alleys, beautiful bridges, and the distinctive feeling of France, but in a trilingual community and service with a smile. The Luxembourgers, having long been a small nation, sandwiched between the European powerhouses of Frqnce and Germany, have no choice but to live side by side with others. In fact, "foreigners", mostly from within the European Union, make up almost half of the population of this tiny country.

This was one fact I learned on a guided tour through the city this afternoon, with a cheerful, yet highly opinionated, native Luxembourger as our guide. Among others, he rated both Regan and Obama as great American presidents, so at least it can be said that his opinions don't subscribe to one particular political ideology, at least other than democracy. Ah, democracy! That was the word of the day, as our guide insisted that everything was fair - as long as it was decided democratically, by the people, not the politicians.

We traveled up and down the city; situated as it is on top of a natural fortress of rock, it's easy to work up a sweat while traversing the town. Today, with the sun shining despite the haze on the horizon (a haze caused in part by volcqnic ash, perhaps?), it wass even easy to get an accidental sunburn.

I left Luxembourg feeling that my time there had been too short, and wondering why it doesn't even merit a mention in Rick's guidebooks. But then, it's also nice to feel like I've discovered a little piece of European charm all by myself.

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