A week late but ... 2 days in Benelux, but I'm only visiting Be and Lux. No time for Ne.
A sleepy journey from London was brought into focus when the train stopped at the entrance of the Channel Tunnel because of a power failure. No worries I thought, time to bring out the iPhone and burn up some $Dollars on my International 3G usage.
And there it was. Steve Jobs had died. Tragic that I discovered this news using one of his greatest devices. I've used Macintosh computers since 1987, so the guy had a pretty big impact on my life.
Belgium may be the Manchester of mainland Europe - it's always raining here. I headed to the Pantone Hotel. Once more they have excelled themselves. I'm in a room with this for toilet roll.
On Friday I headed for Luxembourg. Because why not? Brussels has fast trains to everywhere, except it's neighbor to the south. It's quicker to drive, but instead I picked up a big bag of Maltesers cranked up the tunes and sat back for 3 hours of rolling Wallonia countryside.
I've come to realize that much of my geographical knowledge of Europe is based on knowing the football teams of each country. I reached Namur, a nice looking town overlooking a wide river, and I had to research that their lower division team is Union Royale Namur.
Next I passed a Rochefort, which has nothing to do with the smelly cheese. Excitement over, I entered Luxembourg.
What an awesome place. The old city of Luxembourg is perched high atop precipitous cliffs that drop into the narrow valleys of the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers. In the valleys stand a picturesque old town. On the other side of the narrow valley is the modern day town and the banking and Euro parliament buildings.
If you have a hard time visualizing this, here's a cock shaped drawing to help.
I took a bus tour and walked the streets and had a swell old time communicating in my perfect French.
On the ride home the train filled up with kids traveling home after school. It seemed to me that some of them took 50 mile journeys. Sat across from me was a guy who did not have an iPod. Instead he pulled out his cumbersome 10 year old laptop. Then he hooked up a hard drive of equal size (presumably containing his music files), and finally plugged in a big old pair of headphones. He took up the whole table. But he was a bit rough looking so I didn't kick up a fuss. International relations are an ongoing specialty ...