Archive for the ‘Luxembourg’ Category


Thursday, August 27th, 2009

A lot of time has passed since my last post, and certainly a lot has happened, which did not let me find the time to finish even the last of my trips which I did a long time ago at the beginning of the month. At the beginning of the month we thought of visiting one of the richest countries in the world: Luxembourg.
As the destination city of this little country we chose… well,… Luxembourg (the city) 🙂 . Since we did the trip by car, the most important thing that marked the beginning of our visit, was trying to find a parking spot. Luckily in the central area there are a lot of parking places to choose from and certainly a lot of electronic displays pointing you to the direction of the parking places and how many empty spaces they have. Well done, it is easy to find them… or that is what we thought… you see, the direction towards the parking space is exceptionally well marked, the entrance to the parking area is not. It took us a few circles around the center until we discovered the entrance into the parking place.

After parking, we went to see the city itself, which has a very rare atmosphere of cleanness and exquisiteness which one could only feel maybe in Monte Carlo. Certainly there were a lot of tourists going around just taking photos. The locals are used to that and speak a number of languages in their cafes, restaurants and gift shops. It is not uncommon to find shops where they speak around 8 languages…

Places to visit: The Notre-Dame Cathedral, which of course has a free admission and is a great expression of neogothic architecture, the Grand Ducal Palace, the Gëlle Fra (Monument of Remembrance) war memorial, the Adolphe Bridge, the city hall and lots of other places which are crowded in the central area easily accessible on foot.

Food prices are a bit above average in the city center (a bit like Monte Carlo), so it is not exactly the backpackers ideal place of having lunch. There are however kebab places or the good old Mac if you get hungry which sell food for lower prices.

All in all it is a nice place to visit and something to experience. Check out the photos on my Picasa account.

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Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

After long planning and thinking a decision was made by our company to move a part of our team to a little town in Belgium, called Ninove. I do not know if unfortunately or not, but I was in that part of the team also. This means no more Italy for a while (well I will spend my holidays there, so I will be there later for a week or so)…

The change of jobs meant also the necessity to move into Belgium. For this purpose some of us chose to go by car. We rented a quite good car (VW Golf Variant Mk5) to make the trip. Our route meant a single-day drive from Genova to Ninove (about 1100kms).
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The major part of our route was on a highway, through Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Luxembourg and finally Belgium. It was a long day so we planned to start off at 8:00AM latest… and so we did: at 9:00AM… 😛

The first part of the road was pretty easy: a winding road of highway in the proximity of Genova, a straight one towards Milano and then, on to Switzerland. No big deal, the traffic was ok, the highway was ok, it was an easy ride.

We entered Switzerland on the E35 European road. Basically hitting Switzerland through one of its longest width. To use the highways in Switzerland one must pay the €32.00 yearly tax (even if you use it just for a day). We were kindly asked aside from the traffic (as most cars entering Switzerland without the sticker) to pay and get the sticker. Actually these €32.00 are quite a bargain, if you think that you can use it a whole year… we payed around €17.00 in Italy just for using the highway once, anyway…
The road in Switzerland takes through the tunnel under the St. Gotthard mountain, which should theoretically shorten the trip… theoretically.. practically in the summer, the tunnel is overcrowded and filled with traffic jams, so we took the scenic route over the mountain. What a scene it was… it was absolutely breathtaking… I could only advise anyone who goes over there to take that route instead of the tunnel. It is more windy with curves, but really acceptable.
The rest of Switzerland was done on straight highways, keeping exactly at the legal speed limit, on a completely empty road sometimes: the law in Switzerland is taken very seriously and only very few dare to risk speeding. The fines there can be huge for speeding, so everyone takes it easy…

Next target: Germany. We took this option instead of the French highway from Basel all the way to Strasbourg. One reason: it is NO LIMIT. Or so we thought… actually the road was limited and in some portions under construction… so no fun there. It was shorter though, than the French version…

We entered France near Strasbourg city limits:it was awful. Avoid that if possible. After that: the direction towards Metz and then to Luxembourg. A bit cooler here: the French speed limit is at 130km/h so we were just eating up the road. It was no too crowded, so I quite liked that portion.

Our short road portion in Luxembourg was interesting also: people started driving real crazy now. The speed limit was also 130km/h, but I think for most drivers this was actually the minimum speed. The roads were great, there was no traffic, sooo… why not? 🙂

At last we arrived in Belgium… our GPS was constantly trying to take us through the ring around Bruxelles to get to Ninove, but we wanted to avoid that: the ring around Bruxelles is like hell: overcrowded, slow and maybe dangerous. We took the road towards Halle and approached Ninove from the south. Actually it was quite ok like that. Even so, we had most of the route on a highway, which was sometimes completely empty: three lanes and just one or three cars in the distance: COOL 😀 . At last we arrived to Ninove at 22:30… and went in our pre-booked B&B studio for a sleep.