Exactly how Luxembourg is spelt is anybody's guess: is it 'Luxemburg' or is it 'Luxembourg'? Or, indeed, is it Luxemborg? It's a mystery, and while I initially made a decision to go for the former, I saw the word 'Luxembourg' on Luxembourg station so that is how Luxembourg is spelt. It has to be. If the station gets it wrong there's no hope for any of us. So, for those not completely clear, it's 'Luxembourg'.
This is the first time I've been to Luxembourg and sadly I'm not going to get much time to look around. Up until today, my only connection with Luxembourg has been Radio Luxembourg when I used to lie in bed as an early teen listening to the Emperor Rosco on my crackly old transistor radio.
|The Orsoyer Hof hotel near Rheinberg|
The hotel room was sort of okay, although I'm not a great fan of rooms that open directly on to the outside world as those in the Orsoyer Hof did. The rooms were below street level and accessed by a single flight of stairs. In all honesty it was a bit dingy all round. The breakfast was piss poor – rolls and processed cheese, no tea, no cereal – and overall it wasn't really my scene. Having said that, bed and breakfast was only 47 Euros so there was little room for complaint, although I wouldn't return.
We enjoyed an amazing lunch in Restaurant Caruso in Rheinberg, the only restaurant I've ever visited that doesn't have a menu (the chef/proprietor simply comes over and asks you what you want). We chose sole and pannacota, not forgetting a decent bottle of wine. Unbelievably good. The sole was filleted in front of us and was as tender as you like and accompanied with some al dente pasta and a rather delicious tomato and garlic dressing.
|View from the train to Trier Hbf|
The hotel was fantastic from the word go and there was good news from the moment I checked in: a complimentary glass of wine, 10% off my meal and free WiFi. Perfect! Room 304 was good too: an LG ('Life's Good') flatscreen television (Pistorius not guilty of murder, said CNN, but he could be guilty of culpable homicide*), a decent double bed and a gleaming bathroom, unlike last night's gloomy looking shower room in Rheinberg.
When I reached the restaurant it was full of Japanese people and I feared that I was invisible to the waitresses, but I was wrong and soon I had my free glass of red wine. I ordered roasted salmon with potatoes and carrots – good old 'hospital food' – and ordered a second glass of wine and some sparkling mineral water before signing the check and heading back to the room. It was 2200hrs and I was considering a walk, but in all honesty I needed to relax, and, besides, it was dark so what could I possibly see other than closed shops and shadowy people making their way here and there, to and fro.
|Room 304, International Hotel, Luxembourg|
It's been a rushed trip in many ways. I've got a meeting tomorrow at 1100hrs and I've got to be on the 1324hrs train to Brussels Midi in order to catch the Eurostar to London.
I'll take a stroll tomorrow morning, albeit briefly, and I'll see if I can find some 'Boris Bikes' but I doubt I'll have time to ride anywhere as another day of train travel beckons. You're probably wondering why I didn't fly back home. Well, the price was roughly the same, but flying means a taxi to the airport, it means hanging around beyond passport control for an hour or so spending money on food and drink in the process, so I figured it would be cheaper and more relaxed to simply jump on a train and the fact that my hotel is right across the road from the railway station makes the train the best option.
|The view from room 304...|
I had a pleasant breakfast this morning consisting of cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit and a cup of English breakfast tea and now, here I am, putting the finishing touches to this post. Outside the sun in shining and I'm about to go out for a walk prior to a meeting and then, after the meeting I'll head over to the railway station, which is visible from where I am sitting now, and catch the 1324hrs train to Brussels Midi and then I'll find the Eurostar to London. I've probably said all of this before, but I don't want my blog to look too untidy, hence the extra words.
Back in the UK...
I'm now back in the UK, meeting over. Before I embarked upon my journey home, however, I had lunch in the Alfa brasserie across from Luxembourg station – not brilliant, it has to be said, apart from the Leffe Brune and the bread rolls. I took the train from Luxembourg to Brussels Midi and it took an age. The most frustrating part of the journey – actually, the only frustrating part of the journey – was when we approached Brussels and I discovered that there were loads of Brussels stations: Brussels-Luxembourg; Brussels Schuman; Brussels Zuid; Brussels Nord; Brussels Central; and, of course, Brussels Midi.
|Yes, Luxembourg has Boris Bikes...|
I had an hour to kill on Midi station and wandered aimlessly around looking in shop windows and getting generally bored. I didn't want to spend money in a café or drink a beer in a bar so I window-shopped and never bought anything (that is, after all, what window shopping is all about). But then, fed up to the back teeth with Brussels Midi railway station, I decided to go through the motions of international travel: putting suitcase on conveyor, ensuring lap top is in a basket of its own before sending it through, then putting laptop back in suitcase and, of course, I almost forgot, showing my passport twice to French and then British passport control. The only bit of good news was that I managed to transfer from the later train (the 1856hrs) to the earlier train (the 1756hrs) and got home earlier than expected.
Oh, and talking about the spelling of Luxembourg (as we were earlier on in this post) I have photographic evidence that Luxembourg is spelt 'Luxembourg' and here it is. If you're going to get the spelling of a place name correct, the solution is very simple: go to the railway station.
* Pistorius is guilty of culpable homicide (manslaughter) and is awaiting sentencing.
|Proof the Luxembourg is spelt 'Luxembourg'|