Saturday, February 18, 2017

Travels, Tours and Travails

Farmers' Market, Luxembourg

Last Tuesday there was a serious train accident in South Luxembourg.  The route between Thionville, France and Luxembourg City is still inaccessible.  Monday we will need to take a bus to Thionville and then pick up the train to Strasbourg reversing the process that brought us here.  Yesterday there was another rail accident in Brussels.  My confidence is waning.  

This morning we walked down to the center and found a large farmers' market.  The people were bustling around carrying large woven baskets filled with produce.  I like this life style of shopping and supporting local produce.  They try it in our area but not to the extent of here.  And we only have open markets during the short New England growing season.  

Our 3 hour walking tour today was with Diane, who had extensive historic knowledge.  She explained the physical construct of the city with its casements and walls as well as the social and political aspects of myriad rulers and countries that have invaded, occupied and melded into what is today Luxembourg.  It was interesting to find out about the strategic fortress advantage against invaders: the Belgians, the Prussians, the French and the Spanish.  We didn't visit the area known as the European area.  It's modern skyscrapers seen across the eastern valley are where the European Union has institutions.  Diane also touched on the culture, explaining that due to all the various invaders and occupying countries, Luxembourians are adept at accepting all nationalities and races.  Their government is very liberal and open.  Children learn Luxembourgish (their language) which is closer to German than French.  They also learn German, French and English in school.  Our day ended at dusk outside the Notre Dame Cathedral. 

Now to the Travails.  When we booked our hotel we noticed that reviews warned of high street noise levels that interfered with peace and sleep.  We assumed since it would be February, street activity would be minimal.  You know the adage, 'to assume makes an ass of you and me?".  We are sleepless in Luxembourg.  There are 2 bars across the 10' wide street from our room.  By the dozens people gather outside these bars and have a rollicking good time until 4am.  I feel for the hotel whose management has appealed to the city for help to no avail.  Pictures are available at flickr.