I never intended on going to Luxembourg, much less on my birthday (by the way this was back in April). It’s not that I don’t want to visit this quaint little country, but more the fact that I’ve never thought much about this country. Like ever. It’s like one of those little countries like Lichtenstein or Andorra, which just sort of gets lost in the mix in the grand old continent of Europe.
Actually I originally booked a super cheap Ryanair flight with a friend to Italy – and I was already envisioning celebrating my 24th birthday in style…ancient Roman ruins! the Italian nightlife scene! (which must be better than the German clubbing scene for sure!) and of course, gelato galore!
But of course, disaster struck when my passport was stolen in Barcelona, and I wasn’t able to be a new Canadian passport in time the week after for my birthday weekend. Even now, thinking about the unused potential of my 18 euro round trip Ryanair ticket, is a bit tragic really!
And with my bank funds significantly lower from all the passport fees and not having a passport (or any id for that matter), I was left with two choices – stay in Germany or go to a neighbouring country by bus, where they normally don’t check for ID.
After a few google searches, I found a bus that goes to Luxembourg for 13 euros! And of course the boyfriend agreed to come, so off we went!
Their landscape looks like it’s something out of a story book!
I figured Luxembourg would be really similar to Germany since it’s so close by, but I found it actually to be really different! Immediately when we were there, I noticed how all the guys wore nicely tailored suits, and the girls all wore heels and all carried designer handbags. It definitely had a very strong posh feel to it, but no wonder – they have the highest nominal GDP in the world (it’s 3 times higher than the EU average!), the highest minimum wage salary in Europe, and the lowest unemployment rate in Europe at just 3.3%. They’re also the world’s only remaining grand duchy! Lots of accomplishments for such a tiny country!
It sort of felt like Switzerland, especially with the mix of German and French. Luxembourgish is one of their official languages which is sort of like a dialect of German. However, French is the official business language, but German is their first language taught in school. Confusing, right?
On the second night, we stayed at a hostel in the middle of nowhere (literally the middle of nowhere!!)…here’s a photo of where the bus dropped us off as proof:
Luckily the hostel was next to the only attraction in that town….a castle!
The receptionist was an elderly man who only spoke French which was a bit of a problem, and I almost got kicked out for not having any id! Luckily the boyfriend spoke a bit of French to get us out of that dilemma!
One thing I found really cool in Luxembourg are the Casemates, which are the tunnels underneath a fortified castle on the Bock promontory, built in 963 by Count Siegfried. It was used as shelter during World War I and II, and is presently a World Heritage Site.
And for the entry price of 3 euros, it’s definitely a must if you ever plan on visiting Luxembourg, especially compared to everything else in this country (although their 4 euros for an all day nation-wide transit pass is also an amazing deal!).
On our first night there, a walk around the city centre looking for dinner made me realize that Luxembourg wasn’t the best place for a certain Canadian who’s low on funds. After a thorough search, the cheapest eatery (aside from McDonalds!) was a restaurant where we had burgers and Mexican food for around 12-18 euros!
The nightlife in Luxumbourgh is also pretty odd. There was a street prettily lit up with lights and lined with bars and clubs, but everyone inside or hanging out outside were all wearing suits and looked like the CEO of some multi-million dollar company.
Overall, I was happy I got to explore a new country on my birthday weekend. Sure, I’d probably have an epic birthday partying it up in Italy, but Luxembourg was a nice surprise. Although I probably won’t come back until I’m a diplomat or something and can actually afford to buy a few shots in this country!