Once again I have abandoned my blog... but never fear! It has only been a short while and my absence owes only to the many new, excellent adventures that have been occupying my time! I'm back, and I have lots to share, so look for more posts about Italy, Germany, and Belgium, and lots about good friends along the way :).
First though, I want to go back to where I left off two weekends ago (~ October 22nd). At this point I was still feeling pretty alone (and tired of not being able to share everything with the people I love), but also determined to continue to fill my time with adventures, and not stop appreciating the opportunity I've been given.
When I'm feeling a little down one of my favorite things to do is find a new place to run... and lucky for me there are lots of new places in my life these days! Saturday morning I thought I'd search for the best places to run in Luxembourg and found this article about an olympic runner who claims that her favorite place to run in the entire world is Luxembourg City (she's from Luxembourg, so she may be biased, but still... I'm sure she's run in a lot of places)! So armed
with the suggestions in the article, and my well used map from the tourist office, I set out from my house for what was definitely one of the coolest runs I've ever been on (perhaps rivaled only by the bike paths in Boulder, CO :) ). I descended into the valley, or the Grund (which I think, literally translated, means "low city"). It's filled with crazy old architecture, gardens, a river, and little pubs and shops. Then I happened upon a beautiful bike path, and decided to go a little further than planned (another sign of a good run!). It took me along the river, under some crazy old bridges, and past some locals preparing their gardens for next year. I think I also passed the water treatment plant... it smelled a little like the Cuyahoga (mmmm home :) ). Then on my way back I decided to take the public elevator from the low city to the high city, and run through the downtown shopping district to get home. Luckily Luxembourg has had uncommonly beautiful weather every weekend I've been here so far. It wasn't quite warm, but super sunny with no rain in sight--pretty much a perfect Saturday morning :).
Then for the afternoon I decided I'd try to catch a tour of the Luxembourg "Old City" that I'd read about on the Luxembourg tourist office website. I guess it makes sense, but I've found in my adventures recently that I can go see something beautiful in nature and be awed into appreciation immediately, but with man-made beauty it adds so much to the experience to know the story behind it. So thanks to this tour, I now know all about all the cools things I ran past in the morning :). Here are some pictures!
The Grand Duke's business castle (he also has a castle that he lives in in Colmar-Berg where I work... I wonder what its like to have two castles... :) ).
The old monastery (right of the river) and the monks' gardens (left of the river), which are now kept up by the city of Luxembourg. I'm not sure who gets to eat the veggies though... I should have asked :).
This was inside the tunnels carved into the old city wall. Soldiers used to live in here to protect the city.
This is one of my favorite pictures... the river is beautiful!
I also got to talk to some of the other tourists (about things that aren't round and black, and don't involve spreadsheets :) ). I met a couple from Michigan who were touring Europe for their anniversary and took a few pictures for me. They took trains from Frankfurt (Germany), to Amsterdam (Holland) and Bruges (Belgium), and toured France on bikes! I've determined that all kinds of people might decide to take a vacation to Paris or Rome, but if you decide to vacation in Luxembourg then you're probably pretty interesting people :).
While I was at the tourist office I also picked up a book of 201 "rambling routes" in Luxembourg... basically the book has maps of 201 very well marked hiking trails all over the country! I went on a hike on Sunday that brought me to this beautiful lake... but I think that all getting the book really did was make me sad that there's no way I'll be able to hike all the trails while I'm here :).