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A Hidden Kingdom

by Richard
08/06/2016 04:29:34 P.M.

When I was younger and I heard the name “Luxembourg,” I couldn’t help but wonder more about it. “What is this small country?” “Why hadn’t I heard of it often in my history classes?” “What was its story?” To me it was a mystery. So, when I was in neighboring Germany, I bought a ticket directly into the cloudy haze that was Luxembourg.

I stuffed my sleeping bag and toiletries bag in my pack and trained from Stuttgart to Koblenz and then hopped on the train directly to Luxembourg City. It was, first and foremost, the nicest train I’d ever been on. Crisp, clean, efficient, quiet, large window, bright, comfortable, updated schedule on the screen that was simple to understand. Other trains are nice, but this basic transportation train into Luxembourg was far-and-away the best I’ve yet ridden on. 

I slid my MacBook Air out of it’s sleeve and just jotted down notes as we dodged in and out of valleys and tunnels, along rivers and quiet hamlets. Even the inspiration of the buildup to the place was special for me. At some point, I got lost in the environs and as I crossed the border into Luxembourg, I was already captivated by the allure of this hidden kingdom. 

Dotted with forests, mountains, and little hamlets, it was a mixture of France and Germany, with its own uniqueness, but also a bit of a time-warp back in history.

The capital, called Luxembourg City, is the epicenter of those qualities (evidenced by people speaking the French, German, and Luxembourgish languages). The city is built both along cliffs looking over a river and down below along the river, the city walls are a thousand years old and personality oozes out of them and the other old structures throughout the city.

As far as my two favorite things to check out when in a new city, the parks and restaurants are on point. The costs are kinda high to eat throughout the city, but there are some really beautiful, unique places to do so. And there are, more than that, beautifully ornate places to turn into and tuck away in the corner to write, something I long for when I’m traveling. The parks, they were wonderful, with the main one almost completely encircling the city and then descending down into the valley along the river. I didn't even set up my hammock, but they were far worth the time. Within that valley, lives a terraced community gardens, green fields, an elaborate skate park, and the old city walls.

Luxembourg is one of the old kingdoms from long ago that survived being assimilated into the larger countries that were forming. And because of that, it has maintained it’s uniqueness and mystery. For anyone looking to experience a piece of what small European countries used to be like and yet what they are like now, there’s one waiting for you hidden between France, Germany, and Belgium.