EU 2008: Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

The train from Paris to Luxembourg City is my first impression of European train travel. I thought my guide book was rather unkind when it said train travel was excellent and affordable in Europe:

… apart from Britian, whose rail system suffered massively following privatisation …

until I actually took a European train. The difference in price, organisation of the stations and number of routes available is pretty staggering.

Luxembourg BattlementsAnyway, Luxembourg. The guide book says to pay a bit extra and stay in the Old Town, I didn’t and frankly neither should you. The train station, surrounded by a knot of cheap hotels is literally ten minutes walk from the old town and it’s just not worth the mark-up. It’s difficult to grasp how small Luxembourg is until you’re there, but it does it’s best to make life difficult by being built around a ruddy great valley. So I reckon there’s more vertical distance to cover than horizontal plus you can end up on a road on the wrong level and it becomes a complete pain to get back to the level you were aiming for.

I was here out of season, which is a shame as many places were closed (notably the casements, a network of underground defensive tunnels). The weather was excellent so I settled for following the scenic tourist trail, up and down the hills ending up in Grund which is the lowest part of the city lying alongside the river. This area is supposed to be thronged with pubs, and I imagine it might be in high season but I could only find a couple that were open.

Pork with Broad BeansThe old town, where I was heading for food, is back up the hill again. Fortunately there’s a free lift so you can avoid the half-hour winding walk back up. My guide book strays further into fantasy when it says the old town is “crowded with inexpensive cafes and restaurants”. There are a fair few, but crowded is pushing it and they’re not inexpensive unless you’re settling for a McDonalds or a generic pizza joint. I sampled a traditional dish of pork and beans which looks exactly as appetising as the picture and would have been only average before I paid an arm and a leg for it.

The truth is the old town is a bit of a tourist trap with high street stores and chain restaurants, wander a few minutes away and you’ll find cheaper places with a more authentic atmosphere. It was here that I found the other dish I’d been searching for, Blutwurst, a type of Black Pudding. Much cheaper than the pork and infinitely more tasty, much moister and meatier than what we get here.

Blutwurst and mashEmpty Plate

If you want even cheaper bars and cafes then head for the area around the train station, although it’s noticeably more seedy and nowhere near as pretty as the rest of the city.

The advantage of this time of year is the lack of tourists, meaning you can get a good look at the places that are open, like the Notre-Dame cathedral. While not as impressive as the one in Paris it’s infinitely better for not being full of tourists.

Would I go back? Actually, yes. If I had some spare time, or if I wanted to go somewhere to unwind then I would definitely go for a few days.

Anyroads, I think that knocks Luxembourg off the list, there are a couple more pictures in the Flickr set.

Luxembourg Skyline

One Response to “EU 2008: Luxembourg City, Luxembourg”

  1. UnorthodoxY » Blog Archive » EU 2008 Progress Says:

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