Thursday, July 27, 2006

Benelux - Luxembourg - Luxembourg City

Benelux, Luxembourg, Luxembourg City

About two months ago (yea... It's been that long...) I went on a solo tour of Benelux. Almost solo, I guess, since I did meet up with a friend for one leg of the tour. It's during this tour that I really understood that I am still in command of my life.

Why go solo? Mainly because I don't have friends here, also because I want to go on a trip, on my own pace, do what I like to do, go to places which I like, and hasten the whole process and see more things. Having a buddy by your side can reduce efficiency, and that I don't have much time to spend, I'd like my trip to be as efficient as possible.

"You went on a trip alone?" Yes, it really isn't as bad as what most people would think. I am an indenpendent person. I grew up within the four wall of my house, staying at home alone rather than going out with the parents. My parents given me enough freedom, I grew up without a curfew, and I can take care of myself. I can go home at 4am alone, and walk straight to my house, my apartment, my room without an escort. I'm not afraid of dark, not afraid of supernatural beings, not afraid of being alone. Even when friends ask me to drop them an SMS when I reached home, I never do. I also don't like it when friends go out of the way to send me home (unless they drive). Yes, I can live my life myself. Maybe it's also because I've seen enough people failing me, so in the end, it boils down to me and myself.

Actually, I made plans with a friend to go together, but at the ticket counter, she started being indecisive again, and made life difficult for the ticket agent, and made me pissed with her indecisiveness. That was when I knew I didn't want to go anywhere else with her anymore. In my haste, I purchased a single ticket to Luxembourg, and a single ticket from Utrecht. So it meant that die die I must go to Luxembourg, die die must find my way from Luxembourg to Utrecht, and die die must reach Utrecht so that I can come back home. The tickets were cheaper than my Berlin tickets, so I was happy.

My initial plan was actually to just go Utrecht and Amsterdam and maybe tour a bit around Holland since Gabriel's there and I can bunk in free of charge, so must make use of it. But the friend who was supposed to go with me wanted to go to Liechtenstein, so I thought it'd be nice if we went around the region and go by Luxembourg, Belgium, before going into Holland, so I said we'll go Luxembourg. When she pulled out, I saw no point in going to Liechtenstein, and just went ahead and told the ticket counter that I wanted to go Luxemboug.

There are a few different connections to Luxembourg, but because of the time I chose, I took the connection via Offenburg/Strasbourg/Metz Ville, transiting that many times. It was the first time I was transiting that many times, and I can't speak a single word of French other than "Merci". I can't even pronounce "Bonjoir" properly (I don't even know if I spelt it right). The connecting train from Metz Ville also didn't provide the platform number, and I only had like 5min to transit. Panic attack. Luckily, I've been to Strasbourg before, so I knew Offenburg and Strasbourg pretty okay.

Taking that many trains, I decided that the French trains are the worst of the lot. My connecting train to Metz Ville was probably the worst train I've taken.
IMG_7815

Metz Ville apparently was the last stop of the train, so I needn't worry that much. But I still worried, when I reached Metz Ville, there wasn't any annoucements, there wasn't even any announcements in France itself. The train from Offenburg to Strasbourg announced all the stations within Germany, and stopped after crossing the border into France. diaoz... I peeked out and saw sign boards saying "Metz", I wasn't sure, so I asked this French girl who couldn't speak English or German (why am I not surprised?), but she was nice enough to nod her head as I pointed out the destination in my itinery list.

The train to Luxembourg was comfortable, and empty, save for two rowdy guys who looked Turk. I really can't stand the Turks infiltrating into Europe, and of all things, I hate being picked up by Turks. damnit... Anyway, thanks to the two rowdy guys, a police came by to check my passport. Luckily I remembered to bring it along. I didn't really need a passport because there isn't any borders within Europe, save for Switzerland, but I brought it just in case. Speaking of the Swiss, remember I was saying I was denied entry in Konstanz because I didn't have my passport? I went to Zurich the other day, and nobody checked my passport. damnit... Stupid border police. Okay, back to the border police on board the train to Luxembourg, there were seven of them in total. And it took a female police to ask for my passport, think they thought females easier to talk to females. lol~

At Luxembourg, after depositing my bag at the lockers, I got picked up. This is a sign that it's finally summer. Just the day before the weather was freaking cold. As such, I packed cold wear, and just a change of one tee, and I wore long pants, and I brought my jacket and shawl, the weather forecast said temperatures of 20 degrees mah... But it's bluff people one. It was so freaking hot. Okay, not too hot. Actually Luxembourg was still okay, I went about with my sleeveless tee and long tight fitting pants. There was still a bit of wind. Just nice. But as the day went on it because hotter and hotter. Back to me got picked up. I'm not saying I'm ugly, or pretty, or what, just that I know I don't look bad, and I do dress well, but only in summer because I only have nice summer clothes. My winter clothes suck. And I bet all those people who picked me up just think that I look hot. bah~ I know I have a nice body (okay, I still complain, but really it isn't that bad. Okay, I have fats, I know people like Jinwei like to poke my fats, but I still look not that bad ba...).

I reached Luxembourg in the afternoon at about 2 plus (I left my place at about 9am), and I was hungry. I remembered the real reason why I was at Luxembourg.

Let me ask you a question, what do you think of first when I say Luxembourg? Rich people? Small country? Not me. When I think of Luxembourg, I think of this thing, the most representative thing of Luxembourg. Big Macs. Although Big Macs are from the US of A, but Luxembourg is really damn famous for THEIR Big Macs, because their Big Macs are supposedly the most expensive ones in the world based on the Big Mac Theory. Being the sadomasochistic me, I wanted to see for myself first hand these pricy examples of the world's most eaten food.

Hence I headed straight for McDonalds.
IMG_7824
I don't eat beef, so I cannot eat the renowned Big Mac.

That meal at McDonald's was very disappointing. I expected something more expensive, expensive enough to blow me off my chair, but it turned out to be my wishful thinking. All the way to the most expensive place and it turned out not to be expensive at all. The menu turned out to be a German menu, the same menu that Germany is using, the price, in Euros, was the same too. bah~ The Euro not only standardised currency, but also standardised price in Europe. sucks~

After the meal I walked around the city. Before going to Luxembourg, I've no idea what's there in Luxembourg, excpet expensive Big Macs which are not longer there. Random walking around is fun because that truly means exploring the city. So, it was me and my two legs all the way. I didn't bother to take public transport because I didn't know where I was going and public transport is expensive.

Taking a leaf from Cindy, I tried to arrange my pictures too. Personally, I don't really like this kind of composite pictures because it looks too messy. The words in magenta are handwritten using the mouse, so it's not very neat.

luxembourg cityscape 2500px
Click on it and choose to view it larger.

1. Cathedral. All European cities will have one main Cathedral (or whatever you call it in their language, in German it's M√ľnster).
2. Some other church thingie.
3. Main Station.
4. Dog Shit Bags. The public cleaniness of Luxembourg really emblazones itself everywhere.
5. The Luxembourg flag with the EU flag.
6. Some grand governmental building.
7. Some grand hotel.
8. Some grand commercial building.
9. Some semi statue, semi rest point.
10. Railway tracks. I like taking pictures of railways tracks that seem to go on and on and on.
11. Another semi statue, semi rest point, semi water dispensing thingie.
12. A statue that rotates.
13. The courtyard of the Cathedral.
14. Rubbish bin. Not the print on it.
15. The Main Station again.

Then after viewing the city, I saw a couple of bridges and went over to check them out, then I saw a whole long chain of fortress and ancient built up not unlike those ancient castles. The view was beautiful. It was only until much much later after I left, went back doing some free surfing that I actually found out that that place I went to is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ancient fortresses of Luxembourg. wow~ And while I was there I only had a look see look see sentiment.

luxembourg fortress 2500px
Click on it to the flickr page to see bigger.

The whole fortress was very large, and the roads were hilly, but I didn't feel tired. I surprised myself at my drive to go up ahead and be all by myself.

I didn't linger there for long because once I had booked a bed in Brussels so I had to get to Brussels that evening. Once I reached Luxembourg, I went to buy a ticket to Brussels. The single ticket to Brussels cost €19.90, but the return ticket on special offer cost €16.90, so the ticket agent made me buy the return ticket. It's nice to finally buy cheap tickets. Tickets in Germany are the most expensive in Europe man. The train to Brussels depart every like half an hour, so it didn't matter when I wanted to leave. The tickets from Luxembourg came in a nice ticket holder made out of cardboard. The German ones are only of flimsy recycled paper, the Belgian didn't even have a holder, the Dutch you needed to pay to buy a ticket from the counter. Luxembourg is rich. lol~

While waiting to go to Brussels, I passed by this state garden somewhere in Luxembourg. At that time I didn't know where I was, but I knew I needed to get to the main station, all those walking made me lose track of my directional position. Anyway, at the garden, I did what I do best~

luxembourg-fauna

I don't know why I numbered them since I'm not describing it, it's evident, just look and appreciate those flowers by yourself.

Because I neeeded to get back to the main station and I have no idea where I was, I asked a passerby. I got the "immer gerade aus" answer again. He didn't speak English, I can't speak French, we ended up with German. The thing about immer gerade aus was that in Berlin, this guy told me that, and when I asked how long would it take, his reply was "ein Stunde". *faint* Being afraid that this would happen again, I asked how long would it take, luckily he said about 10 min, if not I think I'll die.

Having a little bit more time, I walked around the shops about the main station. Luxembourg's fashion is bad. I wanted to buy a skirt because I thought the weather was getting too warm for me and I hated pants. But I couldn't find something that's anyway halfway decent. The clothes were cheap too. And there was a huge lack of huge departmental stores (or manybe it's just that I couldn't find it). But I thought it's just not a place to go shopping.

I was about to leave Luxembourg thinking that this really isn't the most expensive place in the world, when I saw this print outside the toilet.
IMG_8009

This is really expensive sia. German toilets and French ones cost about 50cents, the ones in Switz is 1CHF, but this really blows us down. wahahaha~

In all, it's a very nice place to visit. Maybe one day I'll go back there.

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