SOCIAL MEDIA

7 Jun 2020

Luxembourg (February 2020)

It's like Luxembourg City has its own model village

We all know I am not a spontaneous person. I love a plan. I love having a million tabs open, literally and metaphorically, and I love being and feeling prepared. I love feeling like I'm getting the best out of every morsel of energy and every penny spent. So, when I found myself booking too-expensive flights for my friend Claire and I to go to Luxembourg two weeks before we were due to go, that's when I knew 2020 was a true shady lady...

'...why?'
'Where even is Luxembourg?'
'What, as in NEXT week?'
'Is that a city or a country?'
'Who's Claire?'
'Isn't that Valentine's weekend?'
'But it's too small to even scratch off on your map???'
'What about Claire's boyfriend, it's Valentine's Day?!' 

I knew I needed to do something over Valentine's weekend but I didn't know what. Should I just have the most indulgent self-care weekend? Should I spend it with my mum? Could I fly somewhere? Was I brave enough to fly somewhere? We all know how bored of my own company I got in Brussels, and that was just for one day. 

No, I wasn't brave enough to fly solo. But all my friends are coupled up, so I thought trying to persuade someone to spend the ol' V-day weekend with me would be practically impossible. I'll treat you well but you're not getting laid. I can't be bothered.

Enter Claire (not like that, you animal). 

'I'LL COME WITH YA. BOOK THOSE FLIGHTS. SCREW VALENTINE'S. LET'S GO.'

Unnervingly easy. 


I'd only known Claire for nine months at this point. She was still relatively new at Anthony Nolan and we got on really well, but well enough to go on a weekend trip together? RISKY. I was the brooding, sarcastic, overthinking YA protagonist and she was the loud, confident, lights-up-a-room new friend. The books had prepared me for this. 

We booked our EasyJet flights before they tipped into three figures, and a hotel room in the centre of Luxembourg. Why Luxembourg? No reason. Why not. 30 countries before 30 now seems hilariously unachievable but hey, we squeezed in at least one new lil country this year.
 
'We want to stay what we are'

The flight time was just over an hour from Gatwick, and we landed late on the Friday night. A quick 15 minute bus trip for a couple of Euros took us to the city centre, then it was a 10 minute walk to our hotel, Hotel Perrin. Our expectations for the hotel were fairly low. We booked it last minute and it was cheap... but the reception had high ceilings, a bloody chandelier, and a lovely grandad-style manager who gave us sweets and felt very smug giving us their Wi-Fi code. Nailed it.

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Claire's hair, a story in three parts

We had very few plans for the weekend, but one thing was for sure: my European breakfast buffet, and LAWD did it come through. Pastries for days, so many bread rolls, lukewarm hams and sweaty cheese, Nutella, tiny muffins, massive oranges that are impossible to peel. Actual heaven. 

Getting around Luxembourg City is incredibly easy. Because it's tiny. Obviously. But also because they've recently made all public transport free. Free! What a life!! Imagine the UK with free transport. Huge lols. We only used the free trams (sidenote: bloody love a tram) a couple of times, just to experience the thrill. We did a lot of walking otherwise. Including... a free walking tour. Classic.


After spending a few hours learning the history of Luxembourg, we headed to a cafe called Konrad to meet Claire's friend from uni, who just so happened to be living out in Luxembourg. He was lovely and like another tour guide. He explained that the reason Luxembourg City felt so empty at the weekends is because a lot of people don't actually live there. Most people who work in Luxembourg commute in from other countries. A third of the country is covered in forest, being on minimum wage means getting over over 2,000 euros per month, and the whole country is the same size as Dorset. I'm so on board with an empty, rich, safe country full of forest. Let's all move to Luxembourg. But until then, it was a nice to just sit in a cafe in another country and chat for a couple of hours. This was the most chilled European city break I'd ever experienced, and it was glorious.


Luxembourg City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and as well as most of the country being green, the City is full of greenery too. The City is on two levels, with the lower level looking like a National Trust park. When you're on the upper city-scape level, it kinda feels like walking in the clouds as you're above the huge trees. It's a bit weird. ANYWAY. While the sun was out, we got a lot of our steps in heading down to the Grund and wandering around, before hiking back up to our hotel to get ready for dinner.


We decided to splash out a bit on the Saturday night for dinner, so I found a traditional restaurant hidden away called Am Tiirmschen (ok, so I did a bit of planning, fine). We ordered some fancy-ass wine and some gorgeous food that we couldn't quite pronounce, and spent hours getting more drunk and escalating the oversharing stakes. And when it was time to leave, we weren't done, so we headed back to Konrad which turns into a proper bar in the evenings. Settling down in the very hipster-like basement with more cocktails, we nattered on every topic under the sun (moon) until drunkenly bickering about Meghan Markle at midnight made it clear that was our cue to head back to the hotel.

If you want an insight into how well I was sleeping in February, take a look at them bags

The sun was back out on Sunday (it was meant to rain the whole weekend so, as my late nan would say, weren't we lucky with the weather) and we made the day a lazy one. We popped into the shops we spotted on Saturday to pick up some souvenirs (and bread and crisps), then spent the afternoon sat outside The Chocolate House. I knew by this point that I was super glad we'd gone for it with this weekend trip, but Claire sitting back down with a sheepishly thrilled look on her face after ordering double the amount of cake that we initially agreed on sealed the deal. What a legend.
 

I won't bore you with the journey back home. Not because it's just: we got the bus back to the airport then flew back to Gatwick and got trains back to London, oh no. That would be too easy. We ended up delayed until the early hours the next day, so by the time we landed at Gatwick there were no trains and a super long wait for taxis/an Uber. Now, going on an emergency weekend away is one thing, but dealing with a delay together? That's risky. Claire's experienced my tired strops now and survived. We have to be friends. Anyway, one expensive Uber later, we turned up at Claire's flat at, like, 4am or something stupid, and I crashed out on the blow-up mattress her boyfriend had set up for me. Not only was he unbothered at me whisking his girlfriend off to another country for Valentine's Day, he made sure I was comfy when we got home too. Cute.
 

Our little Luxembourg trip was lush and I'm so glad we did it. If you need an easy weekend to escape, Luxembourg is your friend. You can probably take Claire if you like. She's great. 

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