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Jan 21, 2002
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Feb 2, 2002
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January 21, 2002

January 21, 2002: Luxembourg has only 2500 square miles with 400,000 people, and 1/5 of those live in Luxembourg City. It was very peaceful, and the only country I've ever visited that had special bridges for the deer to cross over the autobahn. Imagine having Bambi's mother land on your hood at 135 miles an hour! It was all so easy and so rewarding. Luxembourg City is gorgeous and pleasant. Traffic is mild and you can walk the entire city. I parked and wasn't sure I'd used my ticket properly. Most Luxembourgers speak at least four languages (not at the same time), so I was hoping English was one of them.

I found a handsome old man and asked him how to use my ticket. He resembled my late uncle Wilbert Weiss, a rather large, jovial man with big puffy strong hands, tiny round glasses, a head of flowing thick silver hair that was more quality than quantity, and a sweet look full of laugh lines that was disarming, like Mrs. Doubtfire in drag. He was very nice, and after he saw me leaving the site, he told me I should use a parking garage instead because I could only park one hour on the street. He showed me where the garage was (it was under the green lawn here at the Arbed Building below):

Luxembourg border
Luxembourg border

Arbed Building, Luxembourg City
Arbed Building, Luxembourg City

Place de Metz, Luxembourg City

Click on photos with pink borders for full-size view

What a nice man! I guess it was because he looked so much like my uncle that I just started chatting with him. He tried to get away but I chased him down and introduced myself. His name was Wolfgang, and he was German, from Cologne (wow). We shook hands, and I had a flashback to June 27, 1992, my sister's wedding, when I shook my Uncle Wilbert’s hand and we tried to see who could squeeze the hardest. He’d always crushed my hand when I was a child, but by then I was 26 and finally had a chance! I eventually relented because Wilbert was 73 then, had been through a stroke, and as a sadistic smile ran across his face, didn’t look like he would give up. I didn’t want to give him a heart attack too. I gave in but I guess we’re even because he’s dead now.

Luxembourg City was gorgeous! (There's that word again--Place de Metz above). It had all the charm of Paris without the French and the traffic. It’s the ideal romantic spot, because it’s so beautiful and so perfect. (Corniche, called by some the “most beautiful balcony in Europe” seen below). I was alone--*sigh*--but I had a vivid imagination and just didn't have the money for a blow-up doll. The last one I had was filled with helium and I'm still having nightmares about her. "Come back! Come back! (in my rodent voice) Was it something I said? You don't look fat--you're very light--and tiny--in fact, tinier by the second!" Well maybe that never happened--but it could. Didn't want to take a chance on popping my woman.

What was so interesting about Luxembourg for me personally, is that the 1989 Tour de France, which is considered by many to be the best, had its opening prologue and first stage in Luxembourg City, and because I love Greg LeMond (the eventual winner), and must have watched that video 40 times, every turn would bring back an image from that race. Luxembourg City is set on the hills around the deep ravine of the Petrusse River. I did the walking tour which took two hours and led me down a cobblestone road (photo right) into the Petrusse River gorge and...

The Corniche, the 'most beautiful balcony in Europe'...Luxembourg City

The Corniche, the 'most beautiful balcony in Europe'...Luxembourg City

Valley of the Petrusse River, Luxembourg City
Me, Petrusse River Valley, Luxembourg City
...back out again. (below is the Pont Adolphe, the longest stone arch bridge in the world…270 feet):
Pont Adolphe, the longest stone arch bridge in the world, Luxembourg City
I quickly ducked into a McDonald's before heading out. I didn't have time to savor the sophisticated pleasures of Luxembourg cuisine, but that grilled cow hit the spot. On the way back I lamented about my old friend Bob Kowolchuk. That hit pretty close to home for me. Bob was only 30 when he died in 1998, and was my best friend when I was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base from 1990-1994. My visit to Germany had a dark cloud over it from the start--first my dear Uncle Lawrence, then my other Uncle Wilbert, then George Harrison (former Beatle), and now Bob had died. I wasn't getting along with people at work and to make matters worse, the letters I sent to Ha had come back to me 'address unknown'. Again, as in 2000 when I was in Florida, I wasn't getting replies on my emails to Seaford Baptist church and my church friends there. They had completely deserted me, again, and when I wanted to mail my monthly tithe to them, I had to contact the associate pastor by email. He didn't even know who I was. Add to that the preponderance of black/white/silver cars, overcast weather, cold, moist air, driving alone at night and before dawn for hours, not knowing the language, fear of inflatable companions--I was lonely, I can't deny that, and maybe that's why I had this drive to travel as much as possible while in Germany. I wanted the loneliness to count for something. As I cruised along at 100 miles an hour on the autobahn I wondered if I was trying to run away from my past.