Updated: Nov 6
Saturday morning, leaving Metz by train, the journey was interrupted in Bettenburg. Luxembourg has been in the process of a serious repair/upgrade to their entire train system, so I transferred to an L40 bus which took me into the capital, dropping me in front of the train station. While boarding in Metz, perhaps 2 dozen young American students from Georgia Tech joined the train, to spend the day in “a different foreign country”. I got assistance with my bags at both ends, with a local pointing me to the correct bus. Most of the boys were over 6-foot, dressed in an All-American look, many in cream white shorts; the girls were closer to five and a half feet in height, with a 90210 glamor. Their conversations revolved around what other trips they could make over the coming weekend breaks from their studies.
Once back rolling my gear, Google Maps sent me on a circuitous route to the hotel, which could have actually been a straight roll up a slight incline. Leaving my gear, I returned to the station, determining that I would take an L10 bus north towards Clervaux, my “day trip” destination. As it turned out, all transit in country was free.
Needing to change in Ettenbruck, I gathered my gear and exited the bus. As it rolled around the corner to its final stop at the next town, I realized that I didn’t have my phone. And I hadn’t backed up the prior day’s photos as it had run out of juice - it was a curse! Local transportation staff told me to wait for the bus to return, however, it didn’t as it was off to the yard for the day. Calls to the yard yielded reports that nothing was found. (I suspected that the phone had slipped down between the bench seat and the wall, so as to not be visible to a cursory inspection.) I recorded all the information I could, and then took the next bus north to Clervaux to visit the abbey there which had served as a pro-cathedral during the Second World War. [Abbatial Cathedral of Saint-Maurice et Saint-Maur de Clervaux 1937-46]
Fifty minutes later at the Clervaux terminus, I found how lost I was without my phone. No idea where to go, how long it would take, I wandered around a bit before getting on the same bus to return to Ettenbruck. New staff on the ground, more calls were made to no avail. I caught the next bus back to Luxembourg City. [Some pictures from my bus jaunt to Clervaux.]
Off to the police, I reported the phone lost, which they considered stolen. Since I needed a phone for further train travel (my Eurail pass), I took a taxi to the closest mall and purchased a new A14 model Samsung, considerably cheaper than the 3 models in the floor display. Fortunately, I figured out how to take a bus back.
Back at the hotel, I called my carrier T-mobile in the States to report the missing phone. As I have repair/replacement insurance, they indicated they would ship me a phone to my home. No amount of explanation could get Experian to send it to Europe. So I directed it to my neighbors.
Programming the new phone went on hold, as I left it at the Park Inn in room 706 to charge while I went out for dinner. A brasserie restaurant, I entered Auderge de Reimsand, ordered a Befferding, a blonde ale and started journaling my day. The second beer was a Battin, another blonde with less American flavor. I had a three cheese risotto (parmesan, mozzarella, gorgonzola) which came with roquette (arugula salad.)
Returning to the hotel, I continued to work with the phone over wifi, finding that I could get my email accounts set up and begin finding the information I needed for the train pass. It turns out that, less than a month into my 90-day pass, I could “transfer” my pass once to another phone. The new phone would become critical to my itinerary. It still couldn’t make calls or connect to mobile networks, but I had the tool I needed most.
Sunday I was up at 8:30, but spent more time with the phone, not leaving to walk up the hill until after 10. I managed to disable the lost phone, although I was unable to locate it. Crossing a gorge via a bridge, I was out in front of the cathedral as 10:30 Mass was to begin. There was a lot of activity, with police and military holding folks behind stanchions, and three bishops in gilt vestments standing in the doorway. Along rolled a Mercedes, and the Grand Duke and Duchess alighted to be greeted by their Graces and escorted into the building.
My schedule had a free walking tour beginning at 11 at the nearby Dick & Lentz Memorial. Our guide, Jesus, had been living in Luxembourg for 12 years. He explained that the duke and duchess were celebrating the end of a local 8-day pilgrimage, hence the large number of youth groups that ranged about the center city. While he is a Spaniard, his tour would be in English, and the group was quite eclectic: visitors from Mexico, Chile, UK, Ukraine, Luxembourg, Germany and France, with me being the sole “Yank”. Few questions were raised, so Jesus basically rattled off his spiel as we walked around the square, the old fortress, some tunnels and many public spaces. His talk focused on banks, their history, the evolution of a local language. We visited a number of vista points, as a river ran through the gorge that runs through the city.
I returned to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Luxembourg where I found that a Mass for scouts was concluding. Waiting until it ended, I was able to get my inside photos, including the special altar for the pilgrimage.
The presence was in a side chapel, and the crypt appeared quite new, clean; the stations were located there. Listening to the organ, I was impressed by the playing, as well as the mix of old and new glass in the windows.
Exiting, as a priest was preparing to put the sacrament out for exposition, I wandered the shopping district hoping to find a shop where I might get a SIM. However, only food and some clothing establishments were open. I was hoping for a good profile shot of the cathedral, but a parade was forming up, so I headed back towards the lower city. Back at the room, I continued to pursue killing the lost (stolen) phone. Without a SIM, I resolved to get one the following day when I would be in Germany.
Working both the phone and the Chromebook, I was able to plow through my pending emails, and make arrangements to get my phone to me when I got to Strasbourg. I went out for a beer, not wearing a jacket, and found it cool. I returned to collect my jacket before searching for dinner. The front desk acknowledged the difficulty of dining on Sunday evenings, sending me to the restaurant in the train station. At Le Quai Steffan I ordered a half liter of Battin Gambrinus and a Boucher a la reine, frites et salade. The meal was too cool for my liking, although the fries were (finally) crispy. On my way back, I got a berry smoothie - strong flavor albeit a thin consistency.
[No food photos in this posting as I hadn't begun using that tool on the new phone.]
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Cathedrals to the Glory of God
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