Question: What’s Going on in Luxembourg
Answer: Not a lot is going on in Luxembourg ….
After making my way to Dijon and meeting up with my absolutely lovely Couchsurfing host Tamzin we decided to head somewhere together. And that somewhere ended up being Luxembourg.
Neither of us had every visited the teeny tiny European nation and neither of us had much idea of what was even going on over there.
It was time to find out.
We caught a nasty far-too-short night bus and before I had even managed to get some shut eye our bus driver was announcing our early arrival in the city of Luxembourg.
It was pre 5am. It was cold. It was rainy. It was one of those mornings when all you want to do is fall back asleep in the train station… So we did.
Surrounded by other drowsy travellers we napped until it was an acceptable breakfast hour and then we began our day discovering Luxembourg.
First up: coffee.
After we had caffeinated and indulged on some yummy breakfast treats we decided to escape the dreary morning rain in one of the cities many almost-interesting-sounding museums.
We headed to the Lëtzebuerg City Museum, The Luxembourg City History Museum,which is a funky museum in the city centre inside a group of four restored noble dwellings and is to reflect the urbanistic and architectural development of the city since its creation in the 10th century up to the present day.
Only having existed since 1996, the museum is set up in a bottom-to-top visiting style and gives an insight into the changing day-to-day life of the population of Luxembourg city and the city’s city’s evolution from an economic, social, political, architectural and town planning point of view.
The top floors are completely different and house temporary exhibitions that included some pretty fantastic pieces of art when we visited. A particularly interesting exhibit was a floor housing a photography collection called “Portraits Under Surveillance”, a modern exhibit where different photographers worked with concepts such as mass media communication, anonymity and immigration.
After we had managed to explore the entire museum without falling asleep we decided to visit the city library… To have another nap.
After waking up feeling surprisingly refreshed we indulged on a Mexican lunch feast (featuring unlimited corn chips for a very generous portion of guacamole), we visited the city’s “bank museum.” As Luxembourg city is a European capital of lax taxation and bank headquarters it was not surprising to find they had a museum on the topic.
Located in the former spacious teller room of the State and Savings Bank’s Head Office, the museum was surprisingly interesting and entertaining, and it was cool to retrace more than 150 years of banking tradition and innovation in the rich little nation.
Financially educated we appreciated the appearance of the sun and wandered around town. Stopping for coffee and an afternoon visit to Villa Vauban, or the Luxembourg City Art Museum where we admired some pretty gruesome collections, and then visiting a tiny little fairground in the city centre, we spent the rest of the evening at a bar that never really kicked off for a Friday night before asking a 5 star hotel if we could nap in their reception area before our 4am bus.
After our most comfortable nap so far we made it on our bus back to France – unfortunately having our sleep interrupted by some men from Turkmenistan who had decided to carry a suspicious amount of cash on them which didn’t please the French immigration officers who checked the bus….
Eventually we made it back to Dijon exhausted and completely unimpressed with Luxembourg.
Although Luxembourg is often ranked among the world’s top-three nations in both wealth and wine consumption, the rich little capital city is certainly one of the most boring places I have had the pleasure of exploring. But I’m sure the nasty weather adds to my lack of Luxembourg enthusiasm so maybe I should visit on a nicer day… Or maybe I’ll just accept that any city that is a capital for banking is not going to be my kind of destination…