Monday, 23 May 2011

Visiting a strange country...

Randomly, Betsy and I decided to go to Luxembourg at the weekend. We booked train tickets and a hotel the week before, and on Friday evening, about 8pm, we set off on a train to Luxembourg. The first thing that happened is that we struck up conversation with a very friendly French guy. However, when he got off the train at Metz, we refused to give him our details. This seems to happen too much! The second thing was that when we crossed the border into Luxembourg, our phones had no reception. They just didn't work at all. We really were in a different country! When we arrived into Luxembourg, it was just about dark. It was strange too, everything was written in English, French or a strange Germanic language - presumably Luxembourgish! ( It was all rather funny, seeing as we'd just spent less than an hour and a half on a train and it felt like a totally different country. We used the google map I had printed to find our hotel. When we got there they were just about to shut up for the night - thanks to God we got there in time! We started to speak to the woman behind the desk in French, until we heard her discussing with her colleague in English and realised that she spoke that better! They realised that they had upgraded our room to a 'suite' by accident (hilarious as we had paid a fairly small price for the room!) We decided not to head out and to enjoy our suite as we had it and it was already pretty late. We had some wine from the mini-bar and sat on the windowsill of the hotel and chatted. Later on we had some prayer time together and hit the hay!
I just want to emphasise how much we both appreciate this friendship we have together. It is so completely blessed and I know we will miss each other so much when we both leave Nancy. I think we have become better friends through the situation! We spend so much time together and can really talk about everything and be completely ourselves!

The next morning I had a bit of a nasty cold - again. I think its a combination of being tired all the time and the kids! Anyway, we had an amazing breakfast - which was included in the hotel price - and was basically a bit of an all-you-can-eat opportunity. Luxembourgish breakfast consisted of: pastries, cereal, fruit juice and yoghurts with cold meats and cheese and boiled eggs. Interesting.

Anyway, we headed out into the city, grabbed a map and started towards the old town. It was, again, a really lovely warm day! There seemed to be a massive street market on that day, so we did a bit of browsing through the stalls. Later we came across the Old Town. Its sort of built around a valley, and this bit of town was in the valley. It was really beautiful and quiet. Lots of narrow cobbled streets and nothing at all like busy Nancy. To be honest, we weren't really feeling being hard-core tourists, so we just lazed around on some grass under a bit of a gorge and I made a daisy chain for my hair because I felt like being a bit of a hippy. Later on, we found a bit of a food fair thing, and ate burritos, french fries, chocolate covered pear and drank Sangria. Quite the mix!
What else did we do? We found the old city wall, decided not to pay to go into the crypt, saw the Abbey, sat with our feet in a fountain and just generally enjoyed wandering around the city. It was really a lot quieter than I imagined and really multicultural. We found a really beautiful square with lots of restaurants and a big band playing in the bandstand where we stopped to listen and dance and sing long inappropriately! Then we wandered back through the market and bought a load of sweets. we shared a huge long snake, wandering along with one end each in our mouths and really not caring how we looked! We then had a really great time chilling in a park and praying about things. I guess we both have a lot to think about future-wise an praying about it together is really great!
Then we went back to the hotel to get our stuff. The guy on the desk said we could have the drinks from the mini-bar for free so that was a bonus! We decided to eat on the nice square and picked a Mexican place and shared some yummy food while listening to another band playing a great variety of music...including a medley of Phil Collins! It was a bizarre multi-cultural experience. We noted as we sat there drinking coffee that:

"We are drinking Italian coffee in a Mexican restaurant in Luxembourg, listening to a live band playing Gershwin. We are speaking French although we are English and American, but there are so many other languages being spoken."

It really was a very cosmopolitan place and great for a visit. We both felt though, as we arrived back in Nancy at 12:30am Sunday morning, that we were coming home. And how good that felt.

We also had a really awesome day on Sunday. A group of American people with Down Syndrome (the STARS) have arrived to stay for a week with people from the church, to attend conferences and sing with our choir. They were at the church in the morning, and we had a celebration service for them later on in the afternoon with testimonies and music and aperitif afterwards. The stories were truly inspirational and I think that we're going to be really blessed having them here. I love our Church here in Nancy. It is such a great family, and such a blessing.
After that, the normal bunch headed back to Betsy's and we sung gospel songs on the way back. In fact, we kept randomly breaking out into song through most of the evening as we ate together and played games! It was a really nice evening, but again a late one. After dropping the children off at school today, I came back and slept for most of the morning. Sleep really does get pushed to one side when you've got more fun things to be doing, but I must make more of an effort to get a few early nights in the next couple of days! However, I feel very happy to not be in the situation I was in last year, finishing my degree.

Thinking of everyone with exams and deadlines this week. Keep strong everyone, push through, it will soon be over! Praying for you.

I hope everyone has a really great week!

Lucy xxx

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