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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Our Road Trip to Luxembourg

This past weekend we took a road trip to Luxembourg. Who? What? Where? When? Why? And How?

Deme has a old friend named Fergal whom he used to share a house with when he lived in Ireland. (Fergal is Irish.) Fergal then married a lovely, dainty, petite but “she-can-hold-her own” lady named Alice, who is Belgian. Deme was the best man at their wedding 6 years ago when he was working out of Brussels. Both Fergal and Alice settled in Luxembourg and since Deme and I have been married, they have come down several times to Rome for long weekend sans their child, the outspoken Gwyneth. Now it was our turn to pay them a visit. (An interesting note, Fergal and Deme were out of touch for a while and Fergal found Deme again and met me via this blog, before we ever met in person. Blogs are great!)

We drove from Italy through the St. Bernard tunnel in Switzerland and then through France and into Luxembourg. It was a long drive as the last weekend in July/first weekend in August is the busiest travel season in Europe. There were thousands of folks on the road hauling camping equipment, bikes, trailers, horses, boats, canoes, really dehydrated looking dogs and so on a so forth. The drive there took 10 hours and the drive back took 9. Giordano was a great passenger and never complained, I on the other hand, got a sore back from being in the car that long and WILL remember a back pillow the next time.

Some things I Noticed about Switzerland, France and Luxembourg:

1. Luxembourg is a very, very clean. No graffiti downtown, no dog poop on the streets even though there were dogs to be seen. The flower pots that hung everywhere were well tended, well watered and absolutely overflowing with blooms.

2. Luxembourg has its own language, Luxembourgish. Most citizens that live in Luxembourg speak 2-5 languages. (French, English, German, Luxembourgish and/or Dutch/some other language.) Most of the labels in Luxembourg are baffling since there are at least 5 languages printed on every product.

We had dinner one night in an Italian restaurant. We even found grissini from Torino there.

The owner of the restaurant does a musical number every night and he coaxed Giordano to help him sing "Roma Capoccia". He also sang in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish.

3. There is an abundance of farming in both Luxembourg and France. Cows, horses and sheep were grazing every bit of available farm land. Straw was being cut and baled for winter. I saw no less than 4 species of cows, and fields and fields of corn and cabbage crops.

4. Driving through the Alps is very expensive. To drive through the St. Bernard tunnel cost, 36 euros and to drive through the Frejus tunnel cost 26 euros.

5. There were no Turkish toilets in Luxembourg but I found a few in France.

6. People drive much slower in France than in Italy. They typical speed limits were 90, 110 and 130 kph, in Italy they are between 110-180 kph.

7. There was a lot of bread, pate, butter, and meat being served everywhere. The sauces were richer and I did not see a drop of olive oil being offered anywhere.

8. Switzerland has official languages: German, French, Italian, Romansh. Now that is cool!

9. The flag of Luxembourg and the flag of the Netherlands are just about identical. Both consist of three horizontal stripes of red, white and blue except the flag of Luxembourg uses a light blue and the flag of the Netherlands uses a darker blue.

It was a great trip and we all learned a lot. Thank you Fergal, Alice and Gwyneth for all your hospitality!

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At 3:08 AM, Blogger PhD Stud said...

wow I never realized the speed limit in Italy is 180 km/h where did you see it? seeing people going at that speed doesn't really count as a proof :-) I got the impression the difference is that in France people actually abide by the limit, while in Italy they just don't care about the limit.


At 3:54 AM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

PHD, you are right. There are no signs that say 180 is the limit, but in France the citizens abide by the limit and you are 100 percent correct in saying that in Italy not many folks can stand going only 130 kph.

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Ale said...

waw you've been up to lots of cool trips and adventures! :) i bet the kids are all having a blast together- whatch that rachel i'm sure all the italian boys are chasing her :)

At 5:13 PM, Blogger miss cupcake said...

Hi Gia,

Great photos and observations. I'm living vicariously through your travel. Thanks for sharing ;-))

Cupcake in Buenos Aires

At 3:04 AM, Anonymous TOlove said...

Grissini in Luxembourg ????

At 4:28 AM, Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

Luxemborg looks great! Hope to get there someday.

Sorry we missed you guys in Rome. It was soooo freaking hot and humid. When I returned home on Wed, I found it had rained! The first time in two months! The rain brought with it, nice cool humid free air. It feels like fall and I am in heaven!

Have a safe trip down south. Looking forward to hearing about your next adventure.
ps. Com'e il suo gatto?

At 8:31 PM, Anonymous deborah said...

Hey there travellling gal. Don't you love living in Europe? So many place to visit, right at your door step.

mulitiple languages on packaging ... Yesterday I unboxed a new data storage drive, from HP, the manual and warranty was written in 12 languages. TWELVE!

At 12:58 AM, Anonymous www.muebles-en-alcala-de-henares.com said...

It can't work in reality, that is exactly what I suppose.


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