Archive for the ‘Luxembourg’ Category

Sheltering in the Tax Haven

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Luxembourg, Thursday-Friday

The Van handled the hills of this pissy little country surprisingly well, though as mentioned before third gear is a challenge to slip into without a grind. Luxembourg is a verdant hilly patchwork of forests and meadows with content cattle grazing, the wafting scent of industrial fertilizer, and the gentle fattening of tax-free investment portfolios. We took a detour en-route to the Duchy looking for non-existent petrol stations thanks to our helpful GPS and ended up at the Spa racetrack. Icy rain fell and I had to keep the windows open to stop the windscreen from fogging up.

We stopped for lunch at the first city inside the border, for a sandwich with the mildly famous Ardennes ham, though it might have been spam as the boucherie woman spoke no English. We were surprised to find the town had a large Portuguese population, who all had their flags out for the Euro football tournament. Karina was able to chat with them and learn that the Portuguese had infiltrated the Duchy in significant numbers, thanks to the Eurozone laws.

luxembourgThe city of Luxembourg takes the biscuit for capital city picture postcard looks, beating Prague, Stockholm and Paris by its ridiculous grandiosity. The palace is set high upon flying casements and revetments that plunge down into the gorge below, spanned by precipitous stone arched ponts. No glass insurance buildings or concrete superstores mar the uniformity of its black renaissance roofs and sandstone walls. I was half expecting to see serfs pulling carts out the gates instead of drunk but well dressed luxembourgers wandering between the few clubs and bars of the old centre.

We have to be in Paris for Monday, so today we’re off to the Reims to sample the bubbly, then work our way westward to the Somme in case the Bosch tries any flanking maneuvers.