Category Archives: travel
Last year we joined a friend at a local “American-style BBQ” restaurant in London for Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve never had barbeque turkey before, and it was pretty good. But this year we’re going even more traditional – sort of.
You know how the first Thanksgiving consisted of a meal between the original Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians to celebrate the first harvest? Well, the thought of sitting down WITH the Indians inspired me to sit down FOR an Indian. Yes, we’re going out for a curry tonight.
It’s a strange linguistic thing that the British do – adding “an” before the type of cuisine. It’s not “going out for Indian tonight”, it’s “going out for AN Indian tonight”. The same is true of Chinese food. And to me, nothing sounds funnier than “I’m really craving a Chinese, aren’t you?”
It reminds of me of a project I did once in high school: The Cannibal’s Cookbook. It was a (serious) look at all the different cultures around the world where anthropophagy is a part of the cultural heritage. Unfortunately my teacher didn’t really see the humorour OR serious side of the project, and I was referred to the counselor’s office!
Anyway … I wish we could be with all our friends and family today, tucking into a big bird with all the fixings. But instead we’ll raise a poppadom to you later this evening. Happy Thanksgiving!
Last weekend we jetted off to the tiny country of Luxembourg, which sits on the border between Belgium, Germany, and France. It’s the last part of the BeNeLux grouping, although we were scratching our heads a lot because it seemed like it should really be DeuFraLux, as there was a lot more of Germany and France apparent than Belgium or the Netherlands!
One of our friends was joking that it should really be called Deluxembourg, because it’s such a rich place. And walking down the main streets, it certainly seems that two out of three shop-fronts are banks! (The third store tended to alternate between trendy eyeglasses and couture lingerie.)
But to be perfectly honest, we weren’t blown away by Luxembourg. It was okay. It was alright. But there weren’t any ooohs or aaahs.
The city is oriented around the river Alzette, which is a tiny creek in a pretty big gorge. (It reminded us of Pittsburgh or Ithaca.) The two halves are joined by a series of bridges – some old, some new – and there is a lively scene down below on the banks of the Alzette. A lift connects the lower level to the upper level of the city, but it seems a pity not to have any funiculars. It would be a perfect place for an incline or two!
The cathedral of Luxembourg was nice enough, but it did that thing which really annoys me. I love OLD churches, and I love NEW churches, but I really dislike NEW churches that are built to look like OLD ones. This cathedral, although its cornerstone was laid in 1613, was massively expanded and redone in the late 1930s. So, it contains all the elements of a medieval building, but they are shiny and sparkling – not the way I appreciate my gothic arches…sorry!
We did have a lovely fondue dinner on the main square, and we enjoyed our second dinner at the Moselle Cantine. Alex had a horse fillet which was very good! The meat is really tender, although perhaps with less flavour than beef. We were really tempted by the traditional Luxembourgish dish of pork knee and broad beans, but ultimately went for the horse. (I had veal with champignons, as I’m a big fan of chomping on some champignons.)
The last bit of the weekend involved seeing a band that I like. This was really the reason for the whole trip – it was part of my birthday present back in July, but this was the first concert date we could actually get tickets for! The band is Bastille, and if you haven’t heard of them, I recommend you look up the songs “Pompeii” and “Flaws” – both of which are pretty catchy. The only problem with going to the concert was that it made me feel really, really old. Almost everyone there looked to be about 12! At first I thought I was just being paranoid, but afterward there was a line of cars around the block –parents waiting to pick up the kiddies!
Unfortunately we missed seeing the Casements – which I suspect might have changed my mind about Luxembourg. They’re supposed to be really neat walkways and artillery stores carved into the canyon walls. You could see them from the bridge, but they’re only open to explore during the summer months. Although a return trip to Luxembourg isn’t too high on the list, we’ll definitely stop back at some point to explore the cool caverns.
What happened? The last time I posted was at the end of September, and here we are almost at the end of November!
Sorry folks. Life gets in the way, sometimes. Honestly, I thnk the last three months have been the busiest, most complicated, most professionally challenging … well, ever.
But I’m loving every minute of it. Our new flat is great – it feels more like a grown-up flat than before. We even had a flat-warming party two weeks ago, and 10 whole people showed up. (I was hoping for a few half people, but no luck.) And we took a weekend trip to Luxembourg (post coming tomorrow – promise!). And I started my new job! Which is going really well. It’s a pretty big step up for me, but the challenges are great and the people seem friendly. The commute’s not that bad, either. A straight hour on the train, but it’s going against the flow, so the train is empty and quiet.
We decided to go to Dubrovnik for Christmas this year. It seems like it’s about the right size – big enough to keep us interested, but small enough to force us to relax a bit. As we get older and busier at work, our holiday priorities are shifting. Three years ago we were very much “GO GO GO” on our trips, and now we’re more “eh, I’ll go after I take a nap”. But I guess that’s part of the process of aging!
Ok. I’m going to cut this one short, because I’ve promised you a post tomorrow all about Luxembourg. Or as we started calling it, Sucks-embourg.