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luxembourg

A weekend in Luxembourg

On a beautiful weekend in mid-May, my better half took me on a surprise trip to a destination unknown. It was my birthday that weekend, and he knew exactly what I wanted for my big day. The idea of packing my suitcase with absolutely no idea where I’m headed to, while someone else takes care of everything has actually been a fantasy of mine for a long time. Usually I find not knowing and not organizing things on my own, to be a somewhat stressful affair. And yet I love surprises. As much as I hate not knowing. What a paradox.ย I was told to get in the car with an open mind and a suitcase packed with whatever I would have worn had we stayed home in Paris that weekend. Traffic signs gave away a few hints along the road. We were not headed to the airport. We were not headed south, nor west. The large crossroads close to the border suggested Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg or Eastern France. I was clueless. They all seemed like good options to me!

And shortly after, there we were. Luxembourg City, the capital of the country by the same name. A small rural country, peaceful and green. The capital city is famed for its medieval old town, perched on sheer cliffs. A small country, but a country rich in history. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg contains around fifty historical castles – more than a hundred if you ask those who also consider the old manor houses as castles.

We spent the first day strolling around, exploring and photographing Luxembourg City. What really caught the eye was the Palais Grand-Ducal, a beautiful palace in the city center. We were obviously not the only ones who were fascinated by it, as it was surrounded by tourists taking pictures or smiling for the camera. There seemed to be some sort of an EU-festival happening in Luxembourg that day – as plenty of locals were waving European Union-flags, marching bands were parading the streets and women in traditional costumes were handing out flyers. Although we had no idea exactly what they were celebrating, it was fun to be there and take part of it.

We wanted to try local specialties while we were there, but we couldn’t find the very few things that were supposed to be traditional dishes from Luxembourg on any restaurant menu at all. So we went to a restaurant called Urban and had burgers instead. And we had burgers again the next day, from an equally great burger restaurant; Snooze. So, I did’t learn much about the local cuisine in Luxembourg, but they sure know how to make delicious, gourmet burgers!

The next day was spent visiting a few castles. The New Castle of Ansembourg and its spectacular garden was our first visit. It started to rain towards the end of the visit, but lucky as we were, we managed to visit the garden entirely before getting soaked. The next one on the list, was also the last one – due to the weather. The Vianden castle is set on a rocky promontory, overlooking the river Our and dominating the town of Vianden. We only saw it from afar – again, due to the weather -and went to grab a drink in a cafe downtown, while waiting for the rain to stop.

The weather didn’t clear up that day. The following day was, however, sunny and nice. What a lovely birthday present from the higher powers. What wasn’t as lovely, was the present from the police; a parking ticket due to illegal parking. Parking was free of charge during the weekend – but the weekend was over. It was Monday morning.

We left Luxembourg City to go somewhere else – for another surprise. A concert at edgy, new venue Rockhal in Esch sur Alzette (still Luxembourg). Hans Zimmer, the well-known German composer, whose works include The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, Inception, and more. The show was fantastic. At times I was misty-eyed and had goosebumps – that’s how amazing it was. Applause to you, Hans Zimmer. I haven’t felt this emotional since I saw another famous composer, John Williams (works include music from Spielberg’s movies) in concert.

From being a small country I knew little to nothing about, to a country where I have now spent my birthday and created wonderful memories together with my partner, I now smile when I think of Luxembourg.

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New Castle of Ansembourg

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Vianden (town and castle)

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16 comments on “A weekend in Luxembourg

  1. I have always wanted to go here! And wow, your picture make it look straight out of a fairytale ๐Ÿ™‚ Love all of the gardens!

  2. Your photos are so pretty! It looks like something straight out of a picture book. Maybe one day I’ll make it there.

  3. Okaaaaay can we talk about those photos?!! It looks unreal there. And I agree with Leah – straight out of a fairytale! I’m glad the weather cleared up for you although it looks like even when it was not clear it was still beautiful. Great post!

  4. natalietanner

    I love the gardens. I’m always inspired by gorgeous gardens to come home and plant a few new things. My front courtyard makes me think of my travels. Being whisked away on a surprise birthday trip = AWESOME!!

    • Yeah the gardens were my favorite part of the trip ๐Ÿ™‚ – no wait, the build-up before knowing what my surprise was, and then realizing where we were headed, was my favorite part ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. How great is your other half? I don’t know if my husband even knows how to book a flight ๐Ÿ™‚ I went to Luxembourg City a few years ago and it was such a pleasant surprise. Your pictures and post brought back some wonderful memories so thank you for that ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Our love for travel is one of the few things me and my man have in common. Whenever we’re not going on trips or returning from one, we’re talking about where we’d love to go in the future. He knows I don’t ever want things for my birthday or Christmas – and neither does he. So we surprise each other with trips and experiences ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Beautiful indeed. Glad that after the first cloudy day, you finally got a nice and sunny one to explore the whole place. I have never been to this part, but your post so very much made me want to be here right away

  7. Lucky girl! Your partner is amazing and it seems he planned a perfect birthday trip. Luxemburg looks like it walked right out of the fairy tale and I’m sure this trip will always be a special one for you.

  8. Wow! Luxembourg looks stunning! I have never thought about visiting it, but with all those photos I am reconsidering it. Lovely article and of course, pinned for later ๐Ÿ˜‰

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