Fairytales transform to reality in Luxembourg, and I had no idea.
I actually had no expectations whatsoever... and was all the more pleasantly surprised.
1. Luxembourg Literally Means ‘Little Castle’
The existence of Luxembourg city can be traced back to Roman times but it was not until Siegfried I of the Ardennes (a relative of the French king and the German emperor Otto the Great) built his castle Lucilinburhuc on a giant rock that it was first mentioned. After Luxembourg got rid of its army, most parts of the castle were torn down. Now you can walk in ruins, which are still very much charming.
2. Walk Through History
Although Luxembourg Castle is left in ruins, you can still see the remains throughout the city. Walk the casemates and look out over the strong city walls, over to towers at the other end. There are ruins all over and they make a cute addition to the city landscape. Where else would you drive into a city and see a tiny tower at the entrance and then some more when you drive along? It wasn’t so small a castle after all.
3. Parks by the River
When you are walking along the old castle walls, your gaze will naturally wander downwards and spy all the amazing green parks and gardens around the river. They are not only perfectly maintained but also lined by radiant flowers and are publicly accessible. Despite the old grey buildings next to modern constructions, the city is remarkably green.
4. There’s a Mermaid
Legend has it that when Siegfried came to Luxembourg he was enchanted by the song of the beautiful Melusina, a mermaid who lived in the river Alzet (of course, Siegfried didn’t actually realise that). He repeatedly came back to see her and they agreed to marry. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as well off as he wished and had to ask Satan for help to build the castle (i.e. a family home). They had seven children and Melusina made a habit of locking herself up every Saturday. When Siegfried’s friends bothered him about it, he gave in and peeped through the keyhole; she vanished forever. But it’s said that she can still be spotted every now and then.
5. It Has Two Levels
With the castle built high on the rock and the city center nestled behind that, you might easily forget that there is a second level to the whole city. This is where the parks and busy restaurant streets are. In the national museum you can actually use a giant hydraulic elevator that takes you from one level to the next, which is a small adventure in itself.
6. Leave Surprised
When I was in Luxembourg I did not expect to be so entranced by its beauty. Even though the weather was terrible, everything looked so regal and pretty. And after attending a ballet show, something incredible happened. We were invited to dine with the ballet stars! Luxembourg surely knows how to surprise and you will love the hospitality of its people.