LUXEMBOURG, NOVEMBER 2021
Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg City) is a hilly town with steep valleys and is banking and administrative centre of Europe. Downtown is very well heeled (Luxembourg City has the second-highest per capita GDP in the world) and the Old Quarter has the feel of a French countryside village. Traffic congestion is being eased by the fact that public transport is now free throughout Luxembourg.
Dubbed “the most beautiful balcony in Europe” and on the UNESCO World Heritage List, The Chemin de la Corniche is a walking path from the Bock Promontory up to the lower part of the Holy Ghost Citadel and offers panoramic postcard-perfect views of the Old Quarter and the Alzette Valley. Though a planned route is recommended, I found myself going up and down the ramparts for better views and photos in a preventable bout of unnecessary exertion. And possibly dangerous too, what with wet leaves strewn all over the sloping hills.
125,000 live in Luxembourg City, but only 30% are actual Luxembourgers. English is widely spoken, though French is officially the main language. All the street signs are in French and German, though Luxembourgers are curiously intolerant of anyone attempting speaking German. Whenever I tried to, I was haughtily told “Sorry, I don’t speak Dutch.”
Wasn’t able to try a Luxembourger restaurant (see Miscellaneous), but did sample Gromperekichelcher, the del-facto national dish of Luxembourg. Big shalots and parsley-filled hash browny potato cakes. Excellent and very filling.
Diekirch, Battin and Bofferding were the local beers, nothing spectacular but more than adequate. Still downed in enormous quantities by the 1,200 Irish who travelled, though.
The new Stade du Luxembourg opened only two months ago and is excellent. Its diamond motif exterior lit up in national colours holds within an ultra-modern ground with facilities to match and stands close to the pitch. With a capacity of just under 10,000, many of us came away thinking this was exactly the sort of ground League of Ireland teams should aspire to playing in.
Luxembourg really isn’t a football country. Oscar’s Bar in the Old Quarter actively discouraged Irish fans from coming their regular Saturday night karaoke. Also went to Am Tiirmschen, a traditional restaurant serving Luxembourger food, only to be refused service because they were fully booked up. But they never asked if I had a reservation, plus the place was near empty. I’d say that fact I was wearing a green Ireland jersey was more the reason why they would not serve me.