Just walked in the door, put down my bags, drank a glass of milk and started writing this. I haven’t even begun to unpack. That’s how much I love you people.
My weekend away in Luxembourg City was just lovely. It snowed every day, but I was lucky enough to get some sunlight this morning when I was walking around the old town with my camera along with a few other tourists. Jeepers creepers, it was such a romantic place. We spent most of our time giggling at the thought that we’d actually made it there. The train ride certainly was a bit of an adventure, since the negligible time between transfers saw us flying around the stations in a panic. After the second and third transfers we weren’t even sure which country we were in anymore. (Had we crossed over into France, or were we just circling around Belgium the whole time? Answer: the latter.)
At some point in the trip we realised that the Dutch flag is almost identical to the Luxembourgish flag. And the national symbols of both countries are lions. And (through my Wikipedia searchings) I found out that both national mottos express a distaste of change. I know there would be a whole lot of shared history, but… In my head I see someone sitting in the Netherlands or Luxembourg, reading about the new lion symbol of the other country in a letter and thinking, “Hey, lions are great. Let’s run with that. They would look great on stamps.” And that they do.
Luxembourg would definitely be the most multilingual country I’ve ever seen. It’s not like the sort of bilingualism you find in Belgium, where you would hear French in the south of the country and Dutch in the north. In Lux, we sat in a café where the waitress spoke French while the radio was tuned to a German station. My friend would make inquiries to the bus driver in German while I fumbled through French to try to help an elderly couple sort out a problem with their ticket. (Also, I’m told that Luxembourgish is to German what Shakespeare’s English is to my native tongue.) After speaking English with classmates, other international students and my Dutch housemates, it was really pleasant to switch my brain over to another grammatical blueprint. I even practised a bit of Italian by teaching my travelling companion a few phrases on the train.
This jaunt showed me two things: I definitely want to go back to France and Italy to brush up on my language skills; and, even though I barely speak any Dutch, it’s become pleasingly familiar to hear it again after being away from home.
P.S. I’m impatient to upload this post so I’m going to link to someone else’s picture of Luxembourg City instead of uploading my own. Deal.