I made it my mission to travel more in 2015. I never went abroad as a child, so now that I was out in the world on my own, I was determined to explore our little planet.
I was lucky to be invited to Luxembourg by the Luxembourg tourism board, to discover what this teenie tiny has to offer. So I hoped on the again, tiny plan from City airport and was in Luxembourg City- the capital- in 1 hour. Takes more time to get to Manchester.
I have to admit I'd never considered going to Luxembourg. It's not really a place I ever thought about. As I said it's a tiny country with only 516,000 people. Talking of Manchester, Manchester has 2.5 million people living there, so you really begin to see how small we are talking.
However Luxembourg is famous for its rich cultural history. It is the only enduring sovereign Grand Duchy in the world. It has the highest GDP per capital in the world and a little fun fact, Luxembourg contributes to the highest sale of alcohol in Europe.
So with my official Tourism Board guide, map and the Luxembourg Card in hand, it was time to explore this mysterious country.
The first thing that struck me, is just how beautiful the country is. Unlike England, it's not highly dense with buildings, meaning there are trees and fields mixed in with the buildings. It makes for a very picturesque scene.
You might notice i the distance the modern glass buildings too. That's because Luxembourg is something of a business haven. Skype, Amazon and Paypal all have headquarters here, and many banks, including my own have offices. It's something to do with it being a tax haven.
I actually loved the mix of the old and new together, and I they had done it really well, where the traditional European buildings still remained prominent.
We wandered down to the centre of town, weaving through higgledy piggledy cobbled stoned roads, and beautiful pastel washed buildings.
Parts of it reminded me of Paris, but it also reminded me of Zurich alot.
Remember me saying about the Grand Duchy? Well this is his Palace.That's right, you can literally go up and touch the bricks. It certainly has the feeling of being a much more people's ruler with this close connection.
Which was made even more affirmative in my head, when our lunch spot was quite literally across the road.
Chocolate House is a chocolatier and cafe inside a 15th Century townhouse. Inside it is quite the magical experience. Pilled high are intricate handmade chocolates, slabs of colourful candy chocolate bars, and the cakes, oh the cakes are insane. Huge creations and completely decadent.
I told you they were huge. I think I found my lunch...
We had struck gold with the weather and so decided to sit outside.
They do do savoury food too. I'd rather jump straight into dessert, but convention says I have to eat something savoury first. Spoil sports. However their salmon quiche was rather good.
As well as dessert, you can get your sweet tooth fix from the drinks too, with a long range of hit chocolates that come in the form of a block on the end of a spoon.
^ For the eagle eyed, you'll notice this was not a brownie spoon as ordered, but I couldn't be bothered to protest in a language I didn't speak.
The way to choc spoons work is that you pour yourself a hot mug of milk, and then repeatedly dip and dunk the chocolate spoon into it, until it all melts off. No powdered chocolate here!
Oh sweet Lord!
But even sweeter was that chocolate cake I spied inside, appearing on my plate. And yes it really was huge. But guess what, I ate every last crumb.
After lunch we passed through William Square.
William Square, named after William II, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg, has been home to the church and of the order of Saint Francis, the Town Hall, and the statue of William II.
The square is one of the most cultural areas of Luxembourg.
As we carried on, we noticed a rather grotesque head on the wall. There was a story about it, and that's why I took the picture, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was. If I find out, I promise to tell you all.
Finally we wandered to an area that foodies will love.
32 rue de l’eau, is a historical classed medieval building which is also named Caves Gourmandes.
Inside the old cavernous building are several quality authentic Luxembourgish restaurants.
If you are looking for traditional Luxembourgish food, Am Tiirmschen is recommended. Sadly I didn't to visit as we already had plans for dinner and when I wanted to visit on the Sunday it was closed- remember this is not the UK with its open all hours!
The caves do make a beautiful dinning location though, as tables and chairs come out later in the evening.
Outside on the wall of the caves is this inscription: Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sin or Mir wölle bleiwe wat mir sin (Luxembourgish for "We want to remain what we are" It refers to the idea that the Luxembourgish people want to remain separate from the neighboring countries around it that have traditionally dominated it politically and militarily: Belgium, France, and Germany.
Now this is where I am going to leave you for today. We did so much in one day that I couldn't possibly put it into one blog post, so I am going to continue in the next post. But I will leave you with this gorgeous photo of Luxembourg.
More to follow on this gorgeous unspoiled country.