The luxury of Luxembourg

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Neumunster Abbey

I never knew much about Luxembourg, except for the fact it was the “Lux” part in the union of neighboring countries of BENELUX. And why would I? It’s a tiny, tiny landlocked country with population of over 100k in the main city of Luxembourg (just like in my hometown in Poland!). When I told friends I was traveling for 2 days to Lux City for interviews, they were horrified by the fact that I might consider it for living! I’ve hear comments like: “it’s boring”, “there’s nothing to do”, “if you like big cities, don’t even”, and “it’s good for families.” But, of course you can’t make any judgements until you see it yourself. So I was hopeful.

Not many know that Luxembourg’s GDP per capita is >$100,000, making it the 2nd highest in the world right after Qatar (in PPP terms). I’m not kidding, check it here. Approximately 80% of the population are expats or live outside the boarders of the country (in France, Germany, Belgium) and commute to work every day. In restaurants and hotels you can hear mostly French, and often German, but everyone seems to speak English, so it’s not a problem if you don’t know any other language especially that Luxembourg is home to all sorts of international companies, including Amazon’s European HQ.

True, Lux City is small but it’s full of young, ambitious professionals, who make the most out of their time in that tiny country. Next to hiking, biking and rock climbing on the weekends, you can easily travel to neighboring countries as the distances are, obviously, relatively small (4 hour drive to Paris and 2h drive to Brussels). The city also offers plenty of restaurants and bars where people hang out after work. The streets are clean and safe, distances are walkable, and public transportation is reliable for those who live further from the center. On the other hand, the downside of living and working in Luxembourg is the feeling that nothing is permanent. Co-workers often come and go, changing geographies, or companies, and friendships that you made over the past few months disappear as fast as they appeared. After all, majority of the people move to Luxembourg not from their own will, but for employment. Through my past experiences of moving and adjusting to new situations, it’s not a problem anymore. I can get the best out of every place I go, so I am ready for what comes next. Anywhere.

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Neumunster Abbey and the view on upper Luxembourg
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View from the above
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Sunset over a castle
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Cape Town 

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View on Camps Bay Beach

Easter Weekend was a perfect time to go to Cape Town because we had full 5 days off of work. Or we thought it would be perfect…ticket prices from Johannesburg skyrocketed and it was almost impossible to find accommodation. People from across South Africa and the rest of the world flooded CT because of holidays and Two Oceans Marathon, a popular running event taking place once a year around this time. The moody weather didn’t help either cancelling out trip to Robben Island the first day, not mentioning the rain which spoiled a few other plans along the way.

But enough about the negatives. The city is so beautiful that nothing could have possibly ruined our experience. I’ve heard so many amazing things about Cape Town that it made it hard to go there without high expectations. Yet, I was still surprised and amazed…the beaches, white sand, blue water, the mountains, the food, the cosmopolitan vibe, the waterfront, the people…I can go on and on. You get the idea. I fell in love with the city.
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Sunset at Clifton 2nd Beach
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On the top of Lion’s Head Mountain

I compiled a list of must see & do things that I recommend for those who are traveling to Cape Town:

  • Beaches: Camps Bay & Clifton 2nd (the last one is perfect for when it’s windy)
  • Cape Point – most Southern Tip of Africa
  • Cape of Good Hope – where two Oceans meet
  • Boulder’s Beach – swim with the penguins
  • Robben Island – where Mandela was held (ex prisoners guide you through the Island)
  • Hike the Lion’s Head!! Or if you’re lazy take the cable car to Table Mountain
  • Winelands: Franschhoek & Stellenbosch – for wine lovers
  • V&A Waterfront – stunning and lively harbour (read “touristy”) with shopping, restaurants and bars
  • Sea Point – take a walk along the ocean
  • Biscuit Mill – really fun, fresh food market where you can buy homemade and handmade products (only Sundays)
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Camps Bay Beach
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Boulder’s Beach & The Penguins
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Cape of Good Hope

South Africa has, hands down, some of the best food I’ve ever tried. And it’s not about their traditional cuisine but literally everything from salads, sandwiches, steaks (duh!), duck and even pizza! Here are some places I highly recommend:

  • The Potluck & The Test Kitchen (book way in advance)
  • Charango – Peruvian
  • HQ, Hussar Grill – Steak
  • Chef’s Warehouse, Savoy Cabbage – Contemporary
  • Willoughby & Co – Sushi
  • La Boheme – Wine Bar & Bistro

Fun bars:

  • Union Bar
  • Aces & Spades
  • Village Idiot
  • La Perla
  • Caprice (on Sunday)
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One of the wineries in Stellenboch
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Haute Cabriere Winery