Off the beaten path

Every once in a while a maddening urge for an adventure comes over me. Right, let’s be honest, lately it’s been more than just once in a while…

This past weekend was spent at breakneck speeds, both on land and in the air. Guido, the husband of a colleague of mine, was kind enough to take me flying in his aviation club’s 4-seater over Hessen, and brave enough to hand the steering over to me once we were up in the air! Flying a plane is surprisingly easy, albeit extremely wobbly business; after an hour I was feeling slightly queasy despite my lack of fear. We were lucky to have excellent weather, and I was able to take some great pictures of my “home”land and the school where I teach.

Guido managed a very smooth landing after an hour in the air, and I rushed off to the train station to hop on the next ride to Luxembourg, where I had planned to meet Nick, a close friend from high school teaching English in Lille, France (his blog about the oddities of French culture and his travel experiences is well worth the read). We were hosted by an experienced Couchsurfer, Joaquim, who made sure my time there was spent having some exceptionally non-touristy adventures. This picture should give you an idea…

Vianden's medieval castle

Why all the gear, you ask? Because when you’re motorbiking at 222 kph (138 mph) a fly feels like a stone. Pardon? Yes. Absolutely fantastic. (The thrill of the ride, not the dead insects on our helmets). Dangereux? But of course! Don’t worry, I was riding behind Joaquim who’s an excellent driver…it got to the point where anything less than 150 kph felt excruciatingly slow.

La petite suisse

The countryside immediately outside of the city of Luxembourg and onward towards the German-Luxembourg Nature Park surprised me with its beauty and Lord-of-the-Rings-esque landscapes.  The incredibly smooth roads wind along idyllic streams and, once in a while, you might stumble upon a waterfall if you hike the trails or climb around the small-scale cliffs that border parts of the drive. The rather small country was turning out with some rather lovely surprises, which continued later that evening…

We had been introduced to the nightlife the previous night (it seemed as though every businessperson in Luxembourg simply slipped from a suit into business casual attire for the evening, as the quaint bar and club quarters were jammed with people whose wealth showed). After the somewhat tiring drive, our host led Nick and me to a few spots around the city for some nighttime photo ops. Empty streets and a waxing moon made for a peaceful midnight atmosphere; we all took advantage of Luxembourg’s aesthetic charm and enjoyed the lights by night. Our general impression of Luxembourg? It’s an underrated destination that more people should take notice of. My personal feeling? It’ll be a place for discoveries that play with your senses and leave you wanting just a little bit more…which is saying a lot for a country which is so small