My last weekend living in Paris, I didn’t even spend in Paris.
My friend, Emma (the one whom I visited in Toledo), and I were supposed to spend the weekend together in Paris the weekend after I visited her, but, because of the rising concern over coronavirus after the outbreaks in Venice, she decided not to actually come. I was a little sad about it, because I was planning on using her visit to Paris as an excuse to do some of the tourist-y things that I’d been putting off — like going to the top of the Eiffel Tower — but I completely understood. We didn’t really comprehend the severity of what COVID-19 would become at the time, so I thought she was being a little over-cautious, but it turns out her caution was absolutely warranted.
A major component of our concern was air travel, so I wasn’t sure if the trip we’d planned for the next weekend, Luxembourg, was still on. We discussed it over the course of the week, though, and we decided to go for it. We’d already booked the bus tickets and the hotel, and it was becoming increasingly uncertain whether or not we’d be able to reschedule for a later date. Either we went now or we didn’t go at all.
I left my Paris apartment early Saturday morning with the intent of taking the city bus to one of the main international bus stations, as the ligne 4, the metro line I lived on, which I usually used to get to the bus station, was closed for maintenance. I waited and waited and waited at the stop and the bus never came. I’d never had bad luck with the buses in Paris running late, so I’m not sure if the bus I wanted was down or I’d read the schedule wrong or what, but it wasn’t there when it said it would be, and I was becoming increasingly worried that I was going to miss my Flixbus to Luxembourg. I ended up having to call and Uber, which got me there in 15 minutes, in comparison to the hour I’d been planning on for my transit. It’s what I should’ve done all along.
I got into Luxembourg around early afternoon, which, admittedly, was later in the day than I wish I had been able to get there. I’d actually initially hoped to get there Friday night, but with my class schedule, I wouldn’t have been able to make the last evening bus from Paris to Luxembourg. In order to make the most of our time, Emma met me at the station when my bus came in, having arrived the previous afternoon from Spain, so we could get started on our sightseeing immediately.
We’d hoped to take a train from the Luxembourg city center station out to Vianden, a small town about an hour away, but for some reason, the train wasn’t running — I guess I wasn’t having much luck with transport that day. Thankfully, though, there was a bus route we were able to take — and for free! Luxembourg had just begun a nationwide free public transport initiative a few months before we visited, and it was a beautiful thing. I think all public transport should be free, like public libraries and public schools and public safety.
Because we had to take the bus, it took us about two hours to get into Vianden, and so it was mid-afternoon by the time we actually arrived. Most of the shops and restaurants in this sleepy town seemed to be closed at this point in the day (seriously, I was getting Vienna vibes), so we hiked our way straight up to Vianden’s main attraction — the castle.
I love a good European castle. I think I’ve talked about my thoughts about castles on this blog before. They’re just not a thing we have in the US — we don’t even really have any castle-adjacent structures — so I love visiting them when I’m in Europe. It feels so foreign and fantastical. More so than exotic cuisines or languages or fashions, castles really make me feel like I’m in a different world.
And I’m always so shocked with how common they are! It’s like every city, no matter how small, has its own castle. I should start a tag on this blog for “castles” to document how many I’ve visited over the years. Castles are the European equivalent of like, Kentucky horse farms. I’m sure they’re boring and commonplace for people who live near them, like horse farms are to me, but to an outsider, they’re unique and fascinating.
After we were done in the castle, we didn’t have much time to hang out in Vianden before the last bus, sadly, so we hiked back down the hill to travel two hours back to Luxembourg City. By then, it was too late to do anything but eat and head back to our hotel room to relax before bed.
That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life during my semester abroad in the Paris, France. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest,Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at email@example.com!
Coat: Thrifted (Free’p’star Paris)
Shirt: The LOFT