Moien, Lëtzebuerg (or Luxi-land, Merci)

We live in the right time, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

Andrew Solomon

Luxi-land, my precious land of Lux, that’s how I call it. In my head, the word Luxembourg is not derived from the word luxury, though, which is so commonly associated with this deluxe place. Despite how pretty and well off the country is; despite the fact that I am always being treated like a princess by my caring brother and his endlessly kind friends whenever I visit; despite the sign of royalty imprinted in its castles and the lux-urious life-style of the Luxem-Bourgeois; despite of all the impressive numbers that will be thrown at you whenever you mention it; despite all this, I never related the name of Luxembourg to the stacks of gold, or the wealthy image of a banker, but only to its Latin ancestor lux which stands for light.

No matter how grey and cloudy it can be, for me the thought of Luxembourg brings back the memory of the light which can only be compared to the calming sight of the rising sun at the break of dawn. The light that lasts no longer than a mili-second.

Overlooking the Luxembourg city from up high, the time almost un-noticeably stretches and contracts. It almost disappears. You won’t fail to find different angles to look at the city for it’s started with a fortress built over the valley of Alzette and ever since grown into a confusing maze built on the different layers of a solid rock. From the stretching heights of its bridges to the depths of the low-land Grund, there are plenty of places to hide in Luxembourg – and yet nowhere to hide from yourself.

Upon my first visit to Lux, I was so terrified of its mesmerizing beauty that I couldn’t quite handle it. Having been used to the fast-paced London-town life-style, at the time I found it really difficult to face the breathtaking views that make you wanna pause and gaze. I was almost intimated by the sites that awaken the urge to stop and wonder off to places in your mind without considering what is it that you should be doing next.

It can be peaceful. This small little multi-lingual land of just about five hundred thousand inhabitants can be so peaceful that it’s frightening. So peaceful that the only threat you will risk to encounter here is your own carefully hidden self. Having gone to sometimes ridiculous lengths to occupy my mind with endless tasks to avoid it, here I stood at the central railway station staring at the ceiling finally facing it. There was no escaping.

While people kept rushing back and forth, at times stopping by to check if the roof-top wasn’t falling in (for the sight of a motionless figure in the midst of the station buzz must have appeared somewhat alarming), I kept staring at the answer found in the railway station ceiling. In the mess of the Gare de Luxembourg life, where people meet for their hi’s and good-bye’s, for their brief encounters, in this maze of a town with all its layers, angles and the mirror-like water reflections, there I stood with my head tilted upwards staring at the lux. I couldn’t take my eyes off the light found in the painting on the ceiling.

Having viewed Luxembourg from the variety of angles, having been swallowed by the crowds on the busy streets of the Grand Duke birthday celebrations; having seen it quiet and calm on a lazy autumn afternoon; having witnessed it changing shapes, forms, and colors; having been blessed with the experience of grasping its pulse in different seasons, I couldn’t help but fall for it. I couldn’t help but feel the growing tenderness towards it.

This time, during my fifth visit to the Luxi-land, this time I have actually sat on the many of the numerous benches and I was breathing. I was actually taking time to breathe. I didn’t have to get anywhere, I was exactly where I needed to be.

If you’re ever in Luxembourg, if you ever get to it, no matter what time of the year this would happen, there is only one thing you should know. There is only one rule you should follow. Simply just lose it: lose the map, lose the list of the carefully selected tick-boxes, lose the track, lose the trail of your hike, lose the sight of where you’re going, lose your mind for a moment if you have to. Lose it all and just go around wondering and you will, without doubt, discover your own land of lux.

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