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31 May 2018

how a trip to luxembourg made me realise you can't love every break you take

i think i've officially reached my limit of european city breaks - at least for a while, anyway. it's unfortunate that i came to this realisation while on a european city break, but i guess that's just how it goes sometimes. in truth, i wasn't even really looking forward to heading to luxembourg last weekend, because while the flights were booked on a very cheap whim, the little research that had gone into the trip had sort of made me regret that bargain booking. there didn't seem to be a lot to do in the city. i totally get that everyone travels differently, but i'm not one for sitting in a cafe or bar all day drinking my holiday leave away. no, when i take a trip, i want to see and do and eat everything that the city has to offer, and unfortunately for me, luxembourg just didn't really provide many options for any of those categories.

despite the delayed flight and the complete rip-off of a cab ride to our mediocre hotel, i was prepared to give the city a real explore on the first day. on saturdays all the busses in lux city are free, so we jumped on one and headed into the pfaffenthal side of the city so we could walk from there - via the lift, onto the casemates du bock before heading into the old town for lunch. then we got very lost. a few times, actually, because google was having trouble deciphering what roads were walkable and which weren't, and the local signs were (naturally) in the local language. we made the most of it, taking the adventure in hand and exploring what we could along the way, and honestly? getting lost was probably the best part.

there were no people around, we had the amazing city view to ourselves, and it was easy going. there was shade, it was hot, and the views were absolutely stunning - no doubt about that. but.. other than that, though, we were sort of.. lost for things to do. luxembourg is an expensive city, so finding lunch that suited my budget was difficult at best, but we found a beaut little restaurant called la goethe stuff that served crisp, local riesling by the bottle and french tarte flambee that we had to try, and honestly - i can see the appeal of sitting in a cafe drinking wine all day, because it was the best part of the day, but.. it's just not me!

we got lost a few more times after that - much to our constant frustration, before finally finding a road that would take us to where we wanted to be; by that time, we had walked in so many circles on ourselves that it had stopped being funny, and no amount of golden hour light or friendly local dogs could have made up for the disaster of trying to find a bus that take us back to our hotel, and trying to find a bloody ice cream in the process. it was a long, hot day, and i think we spent too much of it wondering, well, where the rest of it was.

so, if luxembourg is on your list, you have to ask yourself what you hope to get out of the trip. if the answer is: to get drunk on great wine and expensive cheese, in a very pretty and romantic-looking city, then you will get on just fine. if you are hoping for something other than wandering in circles while trying to find how the hell to get down to the river, then i suggest you either do your planning ahead, or try a different city! after one day we were absolutely done, and pleased indeed that we hadn't planned a third day, as the second day was spent in search of something - anything that was open for food and drink (we settled on french tacos, in the end), and then counting the hours until we could leave for the airport.

it felt like a waste of a good weekend, in truth, and i absolutely loathe that feeling; i never want to get complacent with my ability to travel when and as i wish, so feeling less than love for anywhere i visit is a bit.. gross, really.