Sitting high on a promontory overlooking valleys and rivers is the Old Town of Luxembourg. For over 1000 years these gorges were paramount to the city’s defense. Walking the pedestrian promenade of “Chemin de la Corniche” we are in for some fine views as it winds its way over the former ramparts (a UNESCO site).
The Old Town is where we spend most of our time. Its crooked streets take us to the Palace of the Grand Duke, with its many added extensions since 1573; now housing the Grand Duke’s office and Luxembourg’s parliament. The main square is dominated by an equestrian statue commemorating William II (1792-1849), King of The Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg from 1840 until his death. He is best known for stabilizing the county’s finances and achieving the first surplus in 70 years. Luxembourg has long been listed in the top 10 richest countries (steel and banking), and is the 7th smallest country in the world.
Our Luxembourg Photo Gallery
Seeing a frenzy of activity in the Old Town’s Central Square, we come across a 53ft transport truck with workers in the final stages of unloading what we are soon to learn are Trash People. We look at the sea of human forms built out of Coke cans, soup cans and every other type of can, wire, mesh, plastics….and most all things found in a garbage dump.
German artist HA Schult fashioned these characters as reminders of the excess of western culture; our throw-away societies. We see Schult (the fellow in the middle) being interviewed by a TV crew in the square – his army of 200 trashy ambassadors for ecological awareness behind him.
The birth of the Trash People was 1996, and for the past 18 years they have travelled the world – standing on the Great Wall of China, on Red Square in Moscow, in front of the Pyramids of Giza. They were gathered 2800m high on Matterhorn and deep into a German salt mine. They appeared in Rome, Washington DC, Israel and stood on Arctic ice….the list goes on – and NOW in Luxembourg! What a bonus to happen across an art feat par excellence!
Traditional Food Time – NOT!
After a lengthy walk with many map consultations we finally make it to a highly recommend restaurant just before lunchtime… only to find it “closed for renovations” – imagine our surprise! So we undertake “plan B” and move along to the Old Town area. Fair warning for those wanting to appease rumbling stomachs on a Sunday afternoon – almost all the Old Town restaurants are closed up tighter than a Luxembourg bank vault on a National holiday. Now weak with hunger, we settle for the only open café in the vicinity – a mainly dessert café, but they do have a few savoury selections. Our bagel with salmon and salad, although tasty, is a far cry from the national dish “judd mat gaardebounen” (smoked pork-neck in cream sauce with broad beans and potatoes) that we are hankering for. “C’est la vie.”
Our brief visit to Luxembourg City was relaxing and pleasant. Nary a busker did we see for our “best busker contest”. Climbing the rampart trails afforded us a workout without feeling taxed, with our many stops to check out yet another great view of the greenery, the aqueducts, the rooftops of lower level buildings, and river down below.
Rick, my Finance Minister is not taxed in another way…his Luxembourg tally of costs (for accommodations, food, travel) come to $213 CDN A day.
From Luxembourg we fly to Prague in the Czech Republic.