I do, apparently.
I woke up at 4am in Brussels (time is money and I’m cheap) to take a two and a half hour train to Luxembourg. I admit it, I slept on that train. Sue me. I had a big day ahead. In fact, as I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten up so early for such a continuous amount of time on my own accord. Wow, I’m either growing up or becoming cheaper and cheaper. Most likely the latter.
I’m more annoyed now with the fact that I don’t know what these great buildings are than I was then. I didn’t even think about it at the time, but I don’t know what this is. It’s a shame. Where were you, Rick Steves? Sitting on a shelf in a library mocking me.
I showed up to this fortress and was in awe. There were 2 girls standing up there wearing bright green shirts that said “Ask Me Questions” on it. My book didn’t really tell me much about this and I was curious, so I did something I normally don’t do: asked a complete stranger for help. I went up to one of the girls and told her the truth which was I knew nothing about Luxembourg and said, “Go.” She proceeded to talk to me for probably 10 minutes about the history of Luxembourg and these fortresses. It was amazing! Luxembourg kept passing from ruler to ruler (I looked it up again now because I don’t really remember, but it was French, Prussian, Austrian, and German) and they had many large fortresses guarding the city which made it a powerful, desirable place. At some point they destroyed the fortresses, but some facades like this still exist.
I was so grateful for this girl. She was a college student learning English. And by “learning” I mean she spoke fluently. America really needs to step up the foreign languages. Or just not give me Spanish. I hate Spanish. Anyway, I asked her what I should do with the rest of my time there and she recommended a tour of the underground caves of the city. I thanked her profusely and after taking a few more pictures headed to the tour.
I loved that area. Next up was the wonderfully reasonably priced tour of the caves – only 3 Euros!The caves under the city are called casemates (kaz-uh-mates). They were built in the 1600s and was originally 14 miles long. 3 miles were destroyed with the fortresses, but 11 miles still remain.Going down was all well and good… I was not looking forward to the return.
We got to come out on a ledge for pictures when we were almost all the way back up. The guide paced the walk up with breaks. It was greatly appreciated. I really loved the casemates tour and am so happy I asked that girl about Luxembourg. I actually learned something!