On now swiftly to the 21st and this was now becoming more than a little crazy even by my lunatic standards. A putative four day trip, with appropriate kit for that duration had now gone over two weeks and I still had no desire to go home, I just wanted to keep going. I was starting to question my own sanity by this point but pourqoui non (why not?) as they say in these parts? I am not married, have no children and no responsibilities at home so I can effectively travel as much as I like. I have an annual travel insurance policy, my flat will look after itself as all the bills are paid directly from the bank. I have a modest income from a pension which is enough to keep me on the road if I keep the costs down (this was turning out to be a very expensive run) and I could just keep going until I don’t feel like it any more.
Liege is a beautiful city and I had a bit of a wander round including several very good bars. However, in the way my mind (if indeed I have one) was working then, I had decided that Luxembourg was close. I wanted to visit there for no better reason than I had never been so why not? I’d had a shower so I didn’t smell too bad, I had a few (very few) clothes, a debit card and a few €€€ in my pocket, so let’s go.
I scored a cheap hotel online in Luxembourg city, jumped on a train and just kept on running. Again, the train was my friend and deposited me bang on time in the beautiful Luxembourg station in very comfortable fashion. I have to say that what passes for a British railway system has much to learn.
It was a short walk to my hotel which, being in the station district, was in what I would call a fairly edgy area. I saw gangs of black youths on street corners and had to front out a couple (nothing major), there were obvious prostitutes standing about and the street my hotel was on “boasted” one pole dancing club and two sex shops. However, I have lived in London for a long time, know how to look after myself and am not worried by the sex trade nor silly little boys strutting. I have seen far too much of both before. Frankly, and completely off topic, I would prefer to sit and have a drink with a few prostitutes than a few lawyers. At least the prostitutes are honest about taking your money!
I digress, as always and I shall tell you all about the Hotel Yasha in the next instalment.
So, I had arrived in Luxembourg and obviously I was going to have to investigate the local area. I did not fancy going too far that first evening as it had been a long day but a few minutes walk through a slightly seedy area which offered even more strip clubs and sex shops brought me to what looked like a half decent little bar called the Cafe – Brasserie Garer Stuff. It was unpretentious, although clean and tidy, quite busy with local people and just exactly my sort of place. I called for a beer which was one of the local brews (Bofferding if memory serves) which is a fine beer albeit I had been somewhat spoiled by the myriad offerings of Belgium.
The lady behind the bar was terribly friendly and we managed to get by in my pretty abysmal French in which I was getting probably too confident for my ability and her English which was of about the same level so I did not feel so bad. There were a few fairly raucous outbursts from several tables of middle aged men but she assured me it was nothing to worry about and so it proved, merely a bit of boisterous behaviour and nothing intimidating. Although the Garer Stuff had a certain edge to it which I love and actively seek out, I certainly never felt in the slightest threatened there on the several visits I made.
Unusually for me I was a little hungry and this being a Friday night it was Panzerotti night. What in the name of all that is holy is a panzerotti, I had never heard of one? It sounded to me vaguely like a WWII German main battle tank built by the Ferrari factory. If you know what one is I do apologise and if not then please allow me to explain. A panzerotti is basically like a small calzone which is deep fried rather than oven baked, simple as that. I had seen several other people having them and they looked delicious so I ordered up one and it was utterly gorgeous and very good value at about €4 in what is not a cheap city.
Hopefully on the principle that a picture paints a thousand words my images here will give some idea. With my miniscule appetite it was more than enough for an evening meal and the perfect bar snack to accompany the excellently served beer. I should mention that this is not the only food on offer and there is a full menu of much more substantial food available throughout the day. Nothing overly fancy, just good “beer soakers” as we used to call them.
Yes, this place is in one of the rougher quarters of town. Yes, it can get a little lively although never worryingly so. Yes, it is fairly basic and yes, I love the place. This is effectively me in my element. Garer Stuff is hugely recommended if you think like I do but well worth a look even if you are a little more genteel as you will certainly come to no harm.
After a few more beers of the gargantuan size shown in the image above I headed back to the hotel to get my head down and had a great nights sleep.
I return to an earlier theme here. I hadn’t set foot in a museum, art gallery or place of worship nor indulged in any other tourist activity so was it a wasted day? Never. I had arrived in a new country (remarkably I’d never been to Luxembourg before ), hung out with the locals, rediscovered that I could actually speak basic French, had a very enjoyable time all round and I was still on the road. How bad can that be? I have a great life which I appreciate fully and I still had no idea where this little jaunt was going to end up.
More of the Duchy in the next instalment so stay tuned and spread the word.