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I hadn’t really planned much for one particular Saturday in July, so I bought flights to Luxembourg returning the following day. It turned out a friend had visited Luxembourg previously. It also turned out that he had mostly just got drunk and wandered aimlessly around the city before flying back to London; his recommendation was that I do the same, as there was “not much else to do there mate”. Despite the lack of enthusiasm amongst my friends for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which ranks 1st as the safest city in the world (and possibly last for grit, edginess, spontaneity and alternative culture), I still had literally no idea what goes on there and so that in itself had to be worth the £45 airfare.

Learning about Europe is inextricably linked to learning about castles and city fortifications. Learning about castles involves learning that all castles seem to be positioned at the top of big hills. It stands to reason then, that learning about Europe invariably involves turning up at castle gates, after first getting lost at least twice, as one big sweaty mess cradling an empty plastic bottle of water. If I had been part of an invasion force back in the day, I think I would have just sacked off the offensive and gone to the pub in town to try some local beers. In case you’re wondering, I did try a local beer and it tasted a little bit like Carling.

Fort Thüngen does not buck the trend and sits atop a hill to the north east of the city, behind which can be seen in the distance various organs of the European Union. As Brexit means Brexit, I didn’t bother with them and stuck with the fort. Luxembourg was fortified as early as the 10th century and has been scrapped over by the Dutch, the Spanish, the French (of course), the Prussians and the Austrians. Other armies may or may not have had a tear up in Luxembourg, but as the exhibition at the fort was in German and French (and not English), we’ll never know. Unless you want to look it up online of course.

Like most landlocked European countries, Luxembourg has been both catholic and protestant, conquered and conqueror, rich and poor. It’s now a very wealthy banking centre awash with sports cars, espressos and paninis. I felt that I had earned some of the spoils after wandering about the city and so settled down in a bistro for a goat’s cheese salad. A matter of seconds after I had sat down to watch locals potter from shop to shop we were all treated to an uncensored version of DJ Khalid’s latest offering on the terrace. On repeat. The system had jammed and so we just had to weather it out. Some were more comfortable than others at this point. One particularly unsavoury verse from DJ Khalid about what he was about to do to a women he had just met in the nightclub went down on the continent like the UK’s Brexit negotiations. After three repeats, a waiter worked out how to change the tune and people tried their best to return to their conversations and books. Europe simply carries on, despite what some may throw at it.

Until next time then X

Posted by Peter.Moules 08:57 Archived in Luxembourg Tagged luxembourg

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