I didn’t think this time would come so soon. Nico and I have left Luxembourg to begin the next chapter of our adventure back in the US. For the next few months, I am in San Francisco attending Metis, a data science bootcamp. We’re both super excited for what comes next, but will never forget the hospitality we experienced in Luxembourg. This tiny country welcomed us in with jobs, social security, and many new friends. It gave me the chance to experience a new way of living and provided a home base to explore a diverse continent.
I loved living in Luxembourg and getting to know the area, the people, and the culture. I’ll definitely miss the quiet and calm evenings, having both a city and a forest within a quick walk, the beautiful winter lights and Christmas markets with steaming gluhwein, the summer Schueberfouer and delicious, greasy gromperekichelcher, the warm, kind, and multilingual people, the beautiful nature and climbing areas, the ease of traveling to a different country, and most of all, all the amazing friends that I’ve made. I’ll even miss the insane bus drivers, the struggle of finding a restaurant that’s open on Sunday evenings, and the challenge of communicating with a combination of hand signals and Google Translate. The only thing I won’t miss is our loud neighborhood rooster yelling all day starting at 5:00 am.
This year, I’ll be posting about my data science projects, some recommendations for Luxembourg, and the remaining backlog of trips I went on last year. Now however, I’d like to share a smattering of other things and places I visited around Europe the last two years that won’t have their own dedicated post.
One of my favorite trips from last year, a bunch of us drove to Chamonix for a weekend ski trip over Easter. Great weather and views, amazing powder, and crazy après ski nights!
Verdun & L’Epine
Verdun is a small city in northeast France, on way to the Champagne region from Luxembourg. The Battle of Verdun was the largest and longest battle on the western front, and you can still see the rolling hills and trenches, now covered with grass and trees. The area is marked by museums and memorials, such as the Douaumont Ossuary, with the remains of more than 100,000 soldiers.
We made several trips down to Paris for only a day or two at a time. Still well worth it though!
A beautiful medieval town in the Alsace region, it’s got a blended history of being French and German and is now the formal seat of the European Parliament. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see it, but Strasbourg is also known for having one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
We took a quick day trip down to Metz one sunny weekend during the Mirabelle Plum Festival and got to see colorful floats made of flowers parade around the city.
Fontainebleau 2017 & 2018
Another one of my favorite memories, it became an annual thing to drive down from Luxembourg and go bouldering for a weekend in the beautiful Fontainebleau area.
Ghent & Bruges
Belgium is so much fun. We went to Bruges and Ghent a couple times when friends were visiting. If you’re in the area in late July, Ghent throws a 10 day long music festival in the streets that you must experience.
Flanders Field, Waregem
Several WWI and WWII memorials are in the Benelux area, including many American cemeteries that are maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. It’s hard not to feel something when you visit one, no matter where you’re from.
A super cool city to walk and bike around in, we only had one day here to explore. A bit posh, I really liked the “fancy” fries at Frites Atelier.
Known as the sunniest and prettiest town in Belgium, it’s not far from the Ardennes but is situated in an interesting micro climate great for producing wine.
Once a year, Orval Abbey opens its doors to the public for a free tour and tasting of their Trappist beer and cheese. You still have to sign up months in advance to reserve tickets though!
The town where the term “spa” originates from, it is famous for its several natural mineral springs, of which, we went to the Thermes de Spa.
A tourist favorite, you only need a day or two to cover the city, but it’s a great launching off point for the rest of this amazing country.
Great for shopping when you’ve been deprived in Luxembourg, Düsseldorf also has a fun nightlife which we got to experience during the World Cup.
A 40 minute drive from Luxembourg City, Trier was founded by Romans and is claimed to be the oldest city in Germany.
My parents did a tour around Germany and we met them up for a night in Frankfurt before they flew back home.
Fun times with beer steins as big as my head
Omitting the time I spent in Switzerland in 2016, we went back a couple times while we were living in Luxembourg. On the way to Lugano, we stopped by Zurich to catch up with a few of Nico’s former classmates and went on a little hike outside the city.
In September, we went back to Vevey and Lausanne, where Nico got his MBA, for a beautiful wedding on Lake Geneva.
And of course, Luxembourg
We made this place our home for two years and had a blast. Cheers!
Lessons and Tips (for expat living)
- Make diverse friends
- Get outside, even if the weather isn’t always nice
- Experience all you can, not only in surrounding countries, but in the city you live
- Embrace the differences and be open to anything
Photos taken with the iPhone 6s or Fujifilm X-E2s