These past few weeks have been draining. Lots of things happened in my private and professional life that made me feel tired and run down. And yet it never occurred to me to take a break. If cars need regular maintenance, computers and phones need to be switched off from time to time to function normally, why is it so hard to do the same for our own mind and body? This very question was echoing in my mind when my husband told me he is going on a business trip. So without giving it a second though I decided to go with him and booked a flight to Luxembourg.
Now, if you have never been to Luxembourg before, let me – it seems to be becoming a tradition – provide you with my observations in the form of a humble little guide to this lovely Grand Duchy in the heart of Europe.
So here it goes, 14 things you should know before traveling to Luxembourg.
- No matter where you go Luxembourgers are either constructing or renovating a building. Or a bridge for that matter. If building or renovating, the site is beautifully wrapped as a present and you only know it is a construction site by spotting the occasional guy with the hard helmet.
- If a bridge is being renovated a temporary one is build next to it so as not to interrupt the flow of traffic.
- Drivers are calm. They follow the speed limit and do not honk their horns unnecessarily. Drivers …. wait a second! This seems familiar! Is this some sort of standard behaviour outside Eastern Europe?
- Tourists gaze with as much awe at the UNESCO sites as to other tourist groups to see if they brave the descent to the gorge or not. Once you start the journey, others follow as little ducklings do their mother.
- Tourists – better known as hikers at this point – do not need to worry. Anyone braving the 70 meter/230 feet descent to the gorge only needs to make the journey once on his own two feet. There is an elevator ride up to street level for those less trained.
- Weathermen are (almost entirely) reliable. 80% chance of a rain means there is going to be a downpour right when you decide to go on foot to the restaurant for dinner.
- When you practice Tai Chi in the middle of a park on a busy, and might I add rainy day everybody takes it as business as usual. Only the wild ducks gather in the pond to take a look at this strange sight.
- An all weather jacket – also known as a sponge at this point – can hold a surprisingly large amount of water before you notice it has completely soaked through.
- One of the reasons the Grand Duchy has such a high per capita GDP is because they save on the heating bill. Even when the radiator is turned on to max it only gives off about 20°C/68°F-ish heat.
- A quick question for all of those algebra lovers out there: if a jacket has soaked completely through and the radiator gives off a blasting heat of 20°C/68°F, how much time does it take for it to completely dry? And how many extra days does it take if the hotel lowers the heating temperature by a further 2°C each night?
- Luxembourgers take their food very seriously! There are as many types of restaurants as stars in the sky. All of them have one thing in common though: the portions are either meant for an entire army, or for someone who has been fasting for at least two weeks.
- Even the sole food vendor at the airport takes a lunch break from noon to 1. And who can blame him?!
- And so does the airport for that matter: no planes takes off during this dangerous time!
- The sun finally starts shining on the date of your departure.
I myself have been called hungry before by those hilarious people who think it is quite witty to omit the “a” from Hungary. Well, the thing is, I found that these (Luxem)bourgers have definitely appeased my hunger for a break and I feel relaxed and ready to tackle anything. Oh, boy! I must have had too much rest because my sense of humor is back…