So how’s life in Germany?
That’s a question I get asked a lot! Nothing wrong with that question … but I don’t actually live in Germany. I live in a little country called Luxembourg. Odds are if you aren’t into finance, you’ll not have heard of it either and if you have well done! You’re in the minority there.
For those who have no idea where Luxembourg is, it is that little country sandwiched between France, Belgium and Germany. It’s so small that you could be in any of those countries in about 20 minutes by car or train. I must admit that before moving here, I had very little knowledge of the country - all I knew was that it was beside Germany.
The things that make it special
There are a lot of things I love about my new country. I love the fact that I can hop on a train and head to Brussels for a day of shopping, eating Belgian waffles, sniggering at the mannekin pis and Jannekin pis (yes there’s a lady version of the peeing boy for those that didn’t know!) and enjoying a good Belgian beer.
There are also the little Sunday driving trips that I can take. My favourite one so far has been my discovery of this little town called Durbuy in Belgium. It’s one of those towns that make you want to take pictures of everything because it’s so beautiful and quaint. It reminds me of an old English town.
I also love the fact that Paris is only a two hour train journey away. It’s not so cheap to get to, so this is not a journey I do often, it’s more of a weekend trip with the girls destination. If I fancy a bit of French exploring, I usually go to Metz, it’s about an hour by train from Luxembourg. To be honest, I only really venture into Metz if I fancy a bit of French cuisine. Luxembourg is ok for this as it has the French and German influence in the food but no one does French food like the French!
My favourite German city to visit is Trier (in German) or Treve (if you’re saying it in French). I am a fan of German food so obviously if I go, the first stop is to get some Bratwurst or schnitzel and German beer of course! However, the main reason I love this little town is because the shopping is good. Luxembourg makes London look cheap! For the price of a week’s shopping in Luxembourg, I can stock up my fridge and cupboards for a month. It also has way more choices in terms of clothes shops. No offence to my new country but they’re not the most adventurous when it comes to fashion.
The things I’m not too fond of
I miss the choice of clothes shops I had in the UK. I miss Primark and I miss Schuh! If I want anything half decent, I have to buy it online because it’s highly unlikely I’ll find it here. If I want something on the cheap I have to traipse all the way to Liege to go to Primark. The Primark equivalent here is H&M. Whenever I go back to the UK, Primark is usually my first stop. I think last time I was home I spent almost £200 in there. I was in cheapness heaven!
I also miss being able to go the chippy after a night out. This is a concept that hasn’t reached here yet it seems. If you want to eat after a night out, then you better make sure you have food at home because there are no late night takeaways.
I miss having a Starbucks. Again this is something that we don’t have. Fancy a Starbucks? Well get in your car and drive across the border to France then! Same thing with Burger King (closest is Germany) or KFC (closest is France). This is not the place if you are a big fan of fast food. They are more into restaurant dining. Which I’m a fan of; if they had a Starbucks I would have no issues. Actually, I’d still have issues with the poor excuse for bacon they sell in shops here but I can live with that, I mean at least they have bacon, even if it’s not the bacon I’m used to having back in the UK.
My main bugbear is the lack of flights back to my home town. It’s like once they get you here, they don’t want you to leave. If I want to go home on a cheap flight, then I have to fly from Germany or Belgium. Travelling home is an all-day event usually. It involves lots of coaches and waiting around. This is why I don’t do weekend visits home unless I have to. I usually only really go home twice - Christmas and for a week in summer. Otherwise it’s not worth it.
Despite all the things I dislike or think could be improved, I love living here. I love the fact that I hear so many different languages on a daily basis. Yeah, I might whinge about the price of alcohol, the lack of flights home etc. but honestly at this point in my life I couldn’t think of a better place to be.
Random facts about Luxembourg
- Luxembourg city is ranked number one as the safest city to live
- It has the highest GDP per capita in the world
- Locals speak 3 languages (French, German and Luxembourgish)
- 50% of the people who work in Luxembourg do not live in Luxembourg. They commute from across the borders on a daily basis.
- The Duke’s birthday is a public holiday. It is known locally as national day.
- You cannot be a citizen if you do not speak Luxembourgish.