Wednesday, January 22, 2020 | Written by Blanca
This past Saturday, I woke up bright and early to catch the B line bus to the Metz bus depot, and from there, a bus (from the delightfully whimsically-named company Blablabus) to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. After arriving at the bus station, my travel companions and I purchased all-day bus tickets for €4.00; although public transportation in Europe is generally already quite affordable, this feat in particular left us all patting ourselves on the backs for our financial literacy. (While it was revealed later, when the bus arrived, that certain bus lines run for free in Luxembourg on Saturdays, including the bus we were planning to take, for the moment, we revelled in our savvy saving.)
To pass the time while waiting for the bus that would take us into the city, and with a surprisingly strong eduroam wifi signal being emitted from the international high school across the street, we all pulled out our phones to do some quick fact-searching on Luxembourg.
Some Quick Facts About Luxembourg, Courtesy of Wikipedia and of Eduroam from a School Across the Street
- The people of Luxembourg have the highest GDP per capita in the world
- Luxembourg’s official languages are French, German, and Luxembourgish, the national language (but we also found that virtually everyone, or at least those that worked in business fronts and retail, spoke English as well)
- Most of the authentic Luxembourgish cuisine shares the same flavor notes as those of neighboring Germany
Our bus took us into central Luxembourg City, where we immediately marveled at the local architecture: a mix of Germanic, Romanesque, and Gothic. Like a bunch of flamingly obvious tourists, we took pictures aplenty.
Off in the distance, we spotted a Hogwarts-esque castle tower-looking thing with a gold clock face, later revealed to be the Banque et Caisse d’Épargne de l’État (Luxembourg has numerous banks; in fact, banking is Luxembourg’s largest economic sector, again according to Wikipedia), toward which me immediately decided to walk. Our trek across the famed Adolphe Bridge, pictured above, and through cobblestone streets lined with apartment buildings reminiscent of Parisian Haussmannian architecture eventually led us to a restaurant called Metropolitan, where we stopped for a much-deserved brunch.
Now fully fed and with a renewed pep in our steps, we made our way southward, back across the Adolphe Bridge, in search of the Palais Grand-Ducal (Grand Ducal Palace). Along the way, we stopped by the Cercle Cité Hall, where we saw an exhibit of contemporary and conceptual art pieces, contenders for the Robert Schuman Art Prize. Next, we walked through Luxembourg City’s lively shopping district, finally reaching the Grand Ducal Palace.
Not one to miss the arts scene, I popped into a local English bookstore, aptly named Ernster: All English Bookstore. Our group of eight then traversed the square to Luxembourg City History Museum, where we learned about Luxembourg’s city planning and history, first as a fortress city and then as a Grand Duchy. My favorite portion of the museum, the fourth floor, was entirely dedicated to the Schueberfouer, Luxembourg’s annual city funfair dating back 679 years. (Fun fact! The Schueberfouer was founded on my birthday in 1340.) A colorful range of displays showed us carnival lights, both old and new, rainbow-colored enamel carousel seats, and my personal favorite, a collection of vivid Schueberfouer posters, a few of which I desperately want as prints for my room.
Our time to return to the bus depot fast approaching, we took one final walk around Luxembourg City, taking in the buildings and the local culture alike. Luxembourg’s hilly landscape makes for great vantage points from which you can view the rest of the city, and we found yet another lookout point that offered us a stunning hilltop view of the quaint buildings below.
My final stop in the city was at Cafe Veneziano, where I stopped for a cone of ice cream, in mid-30 degree fahrenheit weather, at that—the sweetest way to end a sweet day trip to Luxembourg.