Daydreaming

12/10/2009

Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge
Above: Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge (photo by dr. fil)

Nicholas brought a daydream
One that’s just for me
Patience is a virtue
Will sit back and see

Best Breakfast in Town

07/06/2009

Who would have thought that the best breakfast in town is served straight off the trees and bushes in Bambësch?

Swedish-Flavoured Day Trip to Belgium with a Slight Element of Drama or How Jogging Saves Lives

12/14/2008

Yesterday was an interesting day at the very least. I had arranged to go shopping to IKEA with my Lithuanian friends Monika and Romas who are moving into their new home around the same time as I am and their furniture store of choice was the usual suspect.

I decided to lower my shopping-related stress level by jogging in the morning. We arrived to Arlon, a trip that normally takes some 15 to 20 minutes, at 9 am and waited for the Belgians to slowly open up by five past. Being among the four people at the info desks manned and womaned by four people we were told to take a number and wait our turn. So we did. Except that the number board or whatever you call that thing was not turned on. After a while we were allowed to approach the desk at which point we were told that vans cannot be booked in advance.

So off we went, shopping our eyes and legs out, had an enjoyable lunch and were about ready to leave. We were all quite happy with our choices. I decided not to buy a bed frame yet as I could not make up my mind on which one to take and the one I thought I’d be bringing back looked its cheap price. I did invest in a high quality mattress, however, as experience taught me that it may well be the single most important item in the house. Most of the rest of furniture and whatnots can wait until after I’ve moved in and can better plan the arrangement, especially in view of hopes to make the place comfortable for many of my friends that I would like to come visit.

Once we made our way past the cash registers, leaving quite a hefty share of honestly earned money to the Swedes and hopefully some to the people of the many nations manufacturing their products, we ran to the info desk again and of course found that the vans were all rented out. I emphasized to the clerk that we bought many large items, including a large mattress and we need a large van.

After an hour’s wait, which offered a wonderful opportunity to do some caviare and knäckebröd shopping, we had our van. Which was not a van, but rather a Renault Kangoo. Hello? A day of shopping, which does not rank high on the list of my favourite activities, I was ready to kill. Apologies to Monika and Romas for having to witness my dissatisfied-customer face and demeanour. My American grandmother would have been proud of the way I threw a fit and demanded free shipping for the mattress that wouldn’t fit. But to my defence, I had planned for this with the morning jog, which probably saved lives.

In the end, the kind IKEA guys strapped the offending item on top of the “van” and Romas, who worked for a removal company back at home and is excellent at this stuff, followed our car en route back to the Great Bubble City.

As soon as we reached the highway, blood froze in our veins. Romas’ van was about to become a basket carried under the balloon that was destined to serve as my future resting place. But not up in the sky! Even at the lowest speeds, the mattress kept raising its head up high, growling at the thin rope struggling to keep it on the same course as the unappreciated van. Dear mattress, it is fine, Kangoo is not what we wanted and I’m sorry about the quality of transportation, but come on, it’s not even raining. Or snowing for that matter. Down, boy!

We proceeded at snail speed. No, wait, a slug who’d just come from Amsterdam actually passed us by, waiving and uttering “Peace” with a condescending look in his watery eyes. So did plenty of truckers. I mean, pass us, but the word they used was not peace although the pronunciation of their word of choice was similar. Their gestures, as well, were more complex and rather faster than the slug’s gentle waive.

All’s well that ends well and after a few heart-stopping moments we managed to unload the van-wannabe at both future homes and return to the shopping centre quite uneventfully. By the time we got home it was about four thirty.

Tea time. Play music. Relax. Mmmmm…

Luksemburg: zaradi evtanazije ob veto (2. del)

12/09/2008

(glej Luksemburg: zaradi evtanazije ob veto)

No, danes je državni svet dal zeleno luč za predlagano spremembo 34. člena luksemburške ustave. Veliki vojvoda zakonov ne bo več potrjeval, ampak jih bo samo še razglašal v tridesetih dneh po sprejemu v državnem zboru. Zadevni člen ustave se bo tako glasil: “Le Grand-Duc promulgue les lois dans les trente jours du vote de la Chambre.”

Hkrati je državni svet opozoril, da je to že deseta sprememba ustave od leta 2003, kar na na dolgi rok zmanjšuje njeno stabilnost.

Luksemburg: zaradi evtanazije ob veto

12/08/2008


Veliki vojvoda Henri z ženo Mario Tereso

V ustavni monarhiji s pretežno rimskokatoliškim prebivalstvom, kjer zaradi pozitivne diskriminacije pri priseljevanju med drugim zaradi njihove veroizpovedi živi toliko Portugalcev, da napisi v njihovem jeziku niso pogosti le v trgovinah, ampak celo ponekod na obcestnih znakih, ima vladar pravico veta, ki je sicer nikdar ne izvaja.

Parlament je sprejel zakon o evtanaziji, za katerega je veliki vojvoda Henri izjavil, da ga zaradi ugovora vesti ne bo potrdil pod nobenim pogojem, zato se je deželica znašla v ustavni krizi. V četrtek naj bi sprejeli spremembo ustave, ki bi velikemu vojvodi odvzela pravico veta. Glasovali bodo poslanci, ki so mu ob začetku mandata vsi po vrsti zaprisegli svojo zvestobo, vendar to ne bo povzročalo posebnih težav, ker si spremembe, ki bi iz ustave črtala določilo, da mora vse zakone potrditi veliki vojvoda, baje želi tudi sam.

Lux Things

11/14/2008

Good: Managed to finally get a parking vignette for my car (go, Luxembourg’s Bierger Center).

Bad (though understadable): HotCity internet connection is payable as of two days ago except for city info sites. Will Zoki follow suit when copying the system?

Jazz at the Abbey

11/09/2008

As mentioned before on this blog, rumours of nothing happening in Luxembourg are gravely exaggerated. For example, the Neumünster Abbey puts on a jazz concert every Sunday at 11.30 a.m. It takes place in the brasserie area, so one can come and enjoy nice music while/before having  brunch with friends. As far as the brunch goes, reservations are a must.


photo source:  Neumünster Abbey

Today, the Apéro’s Jazz programme featured “Schneeweiss & Rosenrot”, a group from Denmark consisting of a German, a Swiss, a Swede and a Luxembourger.

What fun! The girls and guys were obviously having a good time and the venue, which was packed full, shared their good spirit. Their CD is coming out in a couple of weeks and I’m planning on buying one.

A wonderful way to start a Sunday, I must say. Good music in a lovely setting and in good company so I can well imagine going back for more of the same.

You can read about the group at http://www.luciacadotsch.com/
(click “projects”)

Gumposophy 7-00-7

10/17/2008

I did have my doubts as to the accuracy of the thermometer serving the Pharmacy next to Brittania pub in Clausen this morning. By the time I’d jogged down there, I had to look and see whether the fingers clenching the house keys were still where they should be. Perhaps not a good call to hold metal in your hands while it’s not very warm outside. The sign at the Pharmacy read 07:00, 7°C. How sweet. Off we go, back up the road to Neudorf, through the cloud of inviting smell of freshly-baked goodies at the bakery and passing the grocery shop that opens at… well, 7, not forgetting to wave good morning to the owner. (Note: with the owner Iranian, they import some interesting items that an unsuspecting passer-by would never have expected to find inside.)

Anyhow, when I finally let my trusted little car take me to work, she shared with me that it was really no more than 3°C outside. But a beautiful, sunny early afternoon. Easy to forget yesterday’s showers. Luxembourg weather changes about as often as one can bother to check it.


Luxembourg City, Clausen (photo: dr. filomena)

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve come to resent the poor-me attitude some people around here seem to adopt. The country, the town and its people are growing on me quite successfully. The climate may not provide hot and sunny days all the time, but neither do tornados, earthquakes or I don’t know, volcano eruptions make surprise appearances. Contrary to what people moan about, there are always events to attend, cool people to see, nearby breathtaking places to visit. Above is just one of the sights you might enjoy on a rainy evening stroll.

Bored is as bored does.

Cockadelic Night in the Grand Duchy

10/16/2008

Who ever said there was no night life in Luxembourg? Ever since I arrived here, possibilities to spend an evening at an interesting place and/or event in good company have been plentiful. One of such occasions was undoubtedly last Saturday’s “Museum Night”. Which, incidentally, partly clashed with another all-important event, the Luxembourg vs. Israel football match. Since some of my new friends had a vested interest in the event, they set out to the museums a bit later on. I especially missed my new pal Tom!


photo by M & R :-)

The eight annual event organised by the association of “d’stater muséeën” drew a crowd of 16,000 night owls or 30% more than the previous year into the six participating museums, which opened their doors widely from 6 pm until 1 am for a one-in-all ticket of €12 or €6 and supplemented their regular exhibitions with additional programmes such as live music, dance performances, films, small-scale theatre productions and made sure nobody went hungry. Or thirsty for that matter. One of the museums offered wine tasting as a side activity.

To be quite honest, I expected an event such as this to be free of charge just as my beloved Ljubljana’s Museum Night is, but at least the workshops for kids did not require ticket purchase.

Each of the museums has its own “that little extra” to offer, but personally, I was most taken by the work of Philippe Jacq in the Luxembourg Casino (yes, the casino in question does double as an art gallery on a full-time basis). Jacq’s installation was part of the “Best of Robert Schuman”exhibition representing the nominees for the most prestigious award of the “Grande Région” that has been given by the cities of Luxembourg, Trier, Metz and Saarbrücken since 1991.

The feelings inspired by the mixture of grossness of stuffed chickens straight (or not) from Psycho, a fine sense of humour and an evident knack for making connections between pop culture and political affairs cannot really be translated into words very easily. But I can offer a few random shots to begin with.

Here’s to many happy returns for the Museum Night in Luxembourg! This town oozes awareness of the importance of art and culture. Even after passing the title of the European Capital of Culture on to Liverpool, Stavanger and Sandnes. Incidentally, something tells me I’ll be visiting Vilnius in 2009! Right, Monika and Indre? :)

Veiner Nëssmoort (Vianden Nut Festival)

10/14/2008

A rather international group (what else, this *is* Luxembourg! represented: England, France, Finland, Lithuania, Malta and Slovenia) of new friends decided to join in on the local fun in Veianen (Luxembourgish for the town otherwise known as Vianden), which incidentally celebrates its 700 years of existance in 2008. Coming from Slovenia (no, not Slovakia) myself, allow me to appreciate the beauty of a language spoken by no more than some 300,000 people.


above: Eldoradio’s nutcracking contest

My first thought upon arrival was that these things are the same anywhere you go. Adriaan, this is the Lux version of Bohinj’s cow ball minus the cows and plus the nuts. And nuts there were! I did expect to see walnut liquer (nothing beats the walnut brandy made by the Amazons and good old Franc, though!) and saw countless supplies of “Nëssdrëpp” and the sweeter “Nësslikör”, even the apparently recent yet popular addition of the white “Nëss-Crème-Likör”. Just as expected were walnut cookies and cakes (Nësskouch), but I would not have thought of “Nësspâté”, “Nëssbrutt”, “Nësstoort”, “Nësseeken” or  “Nëss-Raclette”. Feel free to guess what these are. Should be easy enough. Of and the walnut wine tasted and smelled deliciously interesting even if not very wine-like.

Apparently, the stronger liquer  of 30% alcohol content is perfect for use with sparkling wine. A  nëss royal, so to speak? A bottle is waiting in the cupboard to put the recommendation to a test.

Vianden is a picturesque village where every other house seems to be either a guesthouse or a restaurant. With the possible exception of the castle, which dominates the area. Once upon a time, one of these houses hosted Victor Hugo as well.

The castle, which was completely restored in 1977 is well worth a visit.

What is it that all these OctoberFest type festivals around Europe have in common? Fun-loving Europeans!

And their friends from other parts of Europe.

And possibly cappuccinos? Nah… more fun-loving people!

Lo and behold,  Nëssdrëpp, Nësslikör, Nësskouch and Nëss-Crème-Likör.

And more of the above.

Crepes are always a crowd-pleaser. And do somehow seem local.

Which was more difficult to imagine in the above case of what was advertised as “home-made paella”.

Now waffles, on the other hand, were a different matter altogether.

Nothing beats a strong orator voice in attracting customers, eh?

Gosh, the chesnut stand made me think of and miss the best town in the world.

The local band. Gotta love the outfits. Not so much the music, possibly.

As the day progressed, people were getting exceedingly… cheerful? This lady was chucking walnuts at us just out of the goodness of her heart, as inspired by the walnut wine. Thanks!

Kiddo, I so know what you’re thinking…

No, that’s not the way adults should be behaving. But cut them some slack, it’s the nut festival afterall.

Pretty of what?

I think we decided to leave just in time.

Cheers!

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