My van breaks down a lot. Like a lot. It is old and precious and has a reputation for being unreliable and I lack the mechanical knowledge and patience to nurse it along properly which only exacerbates the issue. During my first road trip the van had its problems and after that there had been more, including it setting on fire and my brother trying to decapitate it by trying to drive into an underground car park in which it would not fit. When I set off for my next European escapade I was a bit nervous as I emerged onto the continental tarmac from the Chunnel so to play it safe, I headed for one of the wealthiest countries in the world. If I broke down there I would probably have to sell the van just to survive for a while, so I thought I better drive carefully.
Luxembourg is a great place to start a road trip. As it was our first night back in the van, me and Bani were fully stocked and didn’t have to buy any food or fuel, and as I had a premature birthday party a few days prior, the cupboards were full of beer. We made it to the capital city, Luxembourg, and found a chilled out little car park on the edge of town from which we walked into the gleaming centre. The city is rich with medieval fortifications from its various captors and owners and a strong look of fortitude is still prevalent. We walked over the glorious stone Adolphe Bridge and around the fringes of the Parcs de la Petrusse, which dips into a deep valley which adds to the quality of the strength the city possesses. Following the park’s perimeter we headed over to the Notre- Dame Cathedral via Constitution Square before dipping into alleys of the city. I am not quite sure where we went as we just followed our noses whilst ambling around and became gradually less directionally aware as the backpack of beer grew lighter. Like several previous cities on this list and a lot of ones to come, it is very easy to just walk aimlessly in Luxembourg. Strolling up to something eye-catching at one corner then leads to seeing something else of interest which reveals another attractive sight and so on and eventually you end up walking in random circles until you are hungry, tired, and out of beer. Somehow, we emerged from the intriguing depths of the city centre and popped back out by the park to catch the sunset which dipped over the western horizon, leaving silhouettes of the bridge and the other icons of the Luxembourg skyline, and signalling that it was time for dinner.
I fondly remember Luxembourg for its elegant streets and the sunset view across the park to the illuminated bridge but there is one recollection that stands out. When we finally found our way back to the van I set to work cooking up a feast of questionable pesto pasta to revitalise us after our sightseeing whilst Bani relaxed in a camping chair in the next parking space. When he requested a bottle of water to quench his thirst I merrily obliged and threw one over to him. However, he was not prepared for such speedy service and wasn’t looking up from his phone as the water-filled torpedo flew towards him. Due to my impeccable precision the bottle would have landed right in his hands but instead of them being ready to receive the gift they were holding his phone which as a result was violently dislodged. Instead of the smooth outcome I had envisaged the result was a water bottle rolling down the car park and a severely cracked phone screen. For the next month the debate as to who was at fault for the damaged phone raged, was it me for providing no warning or Bani for a lack of readiness. Either way, it was a pain that was not solved for another eighteen months which is when I really broke his phone in Krakow.
Feel free to cast your vote in the comments!