1. Adolphe Bridge, February 2008. In 2008 I was living in Brussels where I worked as a freelance English teacher at the EU institutions. My then fiancé used to make the odd trip to Luxembourg City for business, so one crisp Friday morning I cleared my teaching schedule and jumped in the car with her. The whole thing was spontaneous, I had no idea what there was to do and I didn’t really care. I was simply excited to cross another country off the list. In the end, I set off on what became a three-hour walk around the city. This iconic arch bridge, built between 1900 and 1903, was modeled on Philadelphia’s Walnut Lane Bridge and named after Grand Duke Adolphe Wilhelm August Karl Friedrich, the first monarch of Luxembourg.
2. Flower Market, Guillaume II Square, February 2008. I found Luxembourg to be a charming little place where a sense of uneventful daintiness prevailed. Indeed, the closest I came to bustling was this town square flower market. Luxemburgers sure do love their flowers! This was one of several markets that day and there seemed an inexplicable number of florists around town. It was with some surprise then, when a few years ago I stumbled across an online article saying the city’s famous monthly flower market had been pulled because of a lack of interest from vendors. That’s one less thing to do in Luxembourg then.
3. City Fortifications, February 2008. Much of my exploring took in the city’s impressive fortifications. Formerly one of the most powerful fortresses in Europe, the whole thing was built gradually over a staggering nine centuries! During that time, somewhat comically I imagine to the sound of the Benny Hill theme tune, Luxembourg fortress passed through the hands of Roman Emperors, the Hapsburgs, The French, a number of Spanish Kings and those troublesome Prussians.
4. City Fortifications, February 2008. It was the good old Prussians who began its demolition in 1867, a painstaking and often chaotic process that took the better part of sixteen years! Today the fortifications still provide amazing views across the city, particularly this picturesque spot overlooking a section of the Alzette River.
5. City Fortifications, February 2008. It had been a quiet, relaxing day, so I was completely knocked for six by what happened as I made my way back into town to meet up with my girlfriend. “Rob!?!” “Leighton!?!?” I literally bumped right into a guy I’d worked with in Doha seven years before. We hadn’t kept in touch and had no idea of each other’s whereabouts. Only in Luxembourg!!!