We are in Luxembourg. Flying into Luxembourg’s Findel Airport was a less expensive alternative than Schiphol (Amsterdam) as well as a new destination for us. Also, it is not too far (under a two hour drive) from where we were staying in Maastricht in the southeast of the Netherlands.
We stayed in a rather unusual hotel, the Bel Air Sports and Wellness Center, in the small town of Echternach which is about a half hour west of the airport and is the oldest town in all of Luxembourg. While Echternach is adorable, the hotel is not quite right on the inside. I would call the décor just this side of millennial-thrift shop-loft-hipster, too tacky to be considered good taste with its German Biedermeier meets Laura Ashley and Andy Warhol, but it is clean and cozy. We got a very rate of $100.00 through Expedia for the first night but the second time through, it cost $230.00 and wasn’t worth it.
I found Luxembourg City to be like many other European cities – wide avenues with government buildings, new modern office buildings looking over the park, the requisite cathedrals and the old part of the city with narrow streets not meant for cars, and crooked buildings hundreds of years old.
The thing I really liked about Luxembourg though, is just a few kilometers outside the city we drove into the most beautiful countryside with fields, cows, pastures and forests. Old barns were well kept and all the food we ate was unbelievably fresh, I imagined from that. I might add here that going to Europe in the spring is worth the chilly air and rainy sky. The flowers and budding trees and sweet green fields are a movable feast for the eyes. Renting a car is definitely the way to go [CAR REVIEW HERE] because we were able to drive off the beaten path and explore the villages.
As I eat my first dinner I think, “Is the butter this good in Luxembourg because I don’t eat butter normally and I miss it? Or is it because it just came out of the cow? And the bread! If there is one thing the Europeans do well it’s bread. My first dinner consisted of fresh baguette with creamy butter dipped in marinara sauce with a nice glass of house rosé wine and that was completely adequate with me.
The other fun thing about Luxembourg is that they speak a multitude of languages: French, German, Dutch, Flemish and Italian. Dennis enjoyed practicing speaking all of these in the restaurant. I am struggling to learn Dutch and become fluent in Spanish. I try to conjure up some high school French but it is clearly buried deep, deep in my psyche.
The thing I loved the most about where we stayed is the forests, rivers and fields. It conjured up my youth in Pennsylvania and how I never tired of exploring and playing in the thick woods behind my house and the pastures and streams on the lowlands of our family farm. There are amazing hiking/bike paths that wind along with the Sauer River and I look forward to coming back here when I can walk again. (In case you didn’t know, I broke my leg skiing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.)
They call this place the foothills to the Alps. It is in the Region Mullerthal. If you are interested in hiking or biking, check out www.Mullerthal.lu.
American Airlines Special Services. They went above and beyond the call of duty helping me travel with my broken leg. We were given bulk head seats on all legs of the journey (no pun intended). I was able to put my carry on next to the seat divider and prop my leg on a pillow the whole trip. Of course wheelchairs were at the ready when leaving and arriving. Particular shoutout to Tanya at headquarters in Dallas and Tito in London Heathrow. Thanks!
What I discovered about myself:
1. I am afraid to be dependent on someone else. It is very difficult to travel with the use of only one leg. I imagined if my plane went down, I would be unable to evacuate quickly before erupting in a giant jet fuel fireball. Never mind, if my plane went down I most likely wouldn’t make it anyhow.
2. I love bread and butter.
3. Good Riesling wines are good.
If heaven fell down on the earth it would smell like Kuekenhof. The flowers are a visual feast of every type of tulip that exists, plus cherry blossoms, rhododendrons, daffodils, lilacs, crocuses, and sweet green grass. It was chilly but of course you have to go April/May when all is blooming.