Local Heart, Global Soul

December 15, 2013

Luxembourg, Heading Out Of The City…

Another post from my retrospective diary travels of 2012, with visiting Singaporean friend “Velveteen”. We are leaving Luxembourg City behind us and heading north. As usual I’m in the front passenger seat taking photographs out of the window… Let’s take a look at the journey so far…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 14, 2013

Aspiring To Reach This Level Of Detail…

In continuation of yesterday’s post we are still in a little square in the centre of Luxembourg City. This post is mostly for my art inspiration portfolio, because there is a church at the back of the square that has some amazing spires. It stretches the capabilities of my camera as I try and zoom in as much as possible. After this I find a few extra photos of patterns I found so slotted these photos in too.   Detail… drool…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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December 13, 2013

A Tranquil Square Meets Tiny Drama…

Filed under: LUXEMBOURG,Luxembourg City,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are in Luxembourg City and have been having lunch at a café called “The Duke” in one of the cities central squares.

There has been quite a long wait for our order and so whilst we wait I take a little look around the square.

In the centre of the square is a statue of a female figure (I think possibly of a royal lady because she’s wearing a crown, but I can’t find any name plate of who it might be).

It took ages to get photos without people in it because it’s definitely a child magnet, observation showed they loved playing on the steps around her as much as the statue herself.

There are several buildings close by that judging from the emblem on the gates, also have some sort of royal connection but I didn’t figure out exactly what. Over one of the large gate-like entrances there is another little female statue in an alcove, it’s gilded and shines in the sunshine. Since she has an infant baby in her lap, I hazard a guess that this is a Madonna with Child figure. As usual my fascination with street stones, drainage grates and patterns takes hold as I find all the nice patterns around me. The sun is shining and it’s  beautiful day to be sitting admiring your surroundings.

Then we see something unusual happen… there are no lights or sirens but a police car and police van arrive in a bit of a hurry, at least ten officers exit the van in haste and another four from the car  and they all run into the building next to the wrought iron gates.  They don’t exit before we leave so we are left to wonder… A training exercise? a security breach?  Little Mr. at least is a delighted with the police “drama” and ecstatically spouts various theories about robbers for some time afterwards.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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December 12, 2013

Lunch Involves Biting Off More Than We Can Chew…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this page of my retrospective travel diary of 2012, we have left the Luxembourg City tourist bus tour behind and are looking for somewhere to have lunch.

In a little central city square we find an establishment called “The Duke’s” and since the outside signboard says “croque-monsieur ” (the French equivalent of a toasted sandwich) we are certain that the kids will appreciate the menu and since I fancy a toasted sandwich I order one too.

Velveteen and Himself order pasta dishes but when our orders arrive it’s clear that the kids will need some adult help to finish what’s on their plates.

These toasted sandwiches had most of the not insubstantial portion of cheese on the top of the sandwich, lots of ham on the inside and were very filling.

Since I struggled to finish my own portion it was left to Himself to help out the kids. We had to sit and wait quite a while for our lunch to arrive but it was nice to sit still and people watch for a while and the weather was excellent so all in all lunch was a success.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 11, 2013

The Roof Brings Our Tour Crashing To A Close…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is my last post about the tourist bus tour we are taking in Luxembourg City.

We continue around the city and as we make our way back to the more historic centre we also return to some of the older historic and “interesting” buildings.

Back near the financial district the only thing that inspired the children was a statue shaped like a giant chair on the front lawn of one of the modern buildings.

One incident however did get everyone’s immediate attention: we are seated on the top deck of the tour bus and because it’s a fine day the canopy roof has been rolled back.

Obviously it hadn’t been fastened securely enough because we stopped a little bit suddenly at one intersection and with a loud rumbling roar the canopy released itself and in seconds hurtled open all the way to the front down it’s sliding rail system. Fortunately no one was standing up at the time, so no one got hurt: almost everyone’s reaction was to duck for cover because it wasn’t first clear where the noise was coming from. Little Mr. got a fright and dashed from his seat into Himself’s arms, there were gasps aplenty  and a few nervous giggles as people recovered from the fright.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I took a photo of the canopy as it covered us, and once the bus pulled over the driver came upstairs and rolled it back into the open position again, this time double checking that it was securely fastened.

When I took the photographs the gentleman behind me pointed to himself and said “no photo please” which I acknowledged but later discovered he was in all of them so I edited them so that he can not be identified.

I also edited out Himself and Little Mr who was in his lap in the second photo.

We discover around one corner a “Train” which is like a tourist trolley car with “carriages” attached to the back, and in bright florescent lime green it’s certainly hard to miss on the road.

The kids look at it with interest for a few moments but then decide that they’ve had enough of tours for the moment to which all the adults agree.  Soon it’s  time to get off the bus, and the first question that comes up is “When is Lunch?” so this dictates that we next  wander in the direction of somewhere that has food…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

December 10, 2013

A Golden Girl In Flowing Robes, And Other Quirky Bits…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this section of our Luxembourg City tourist bus tour, I’m focussing a bit more on the details… Regular readers will know that I can never manage to take photos without zooming in whenever quirky things, architectural details and pretty patterns catch my eye.

Today is no exception. Although I’m usually less of a fan of modern art, three quirky statues on the front lawn of a historical looking building caught my eye, as do some eccentric and bright yellow telephone boxes. (which interestingly are still “boxes” rather than the minimalist installations in The Netherlands that as a public facility are darn near impossible to find thee days.

Much to my delight, decorative towers and turrets abound (If I win the lottery I’m building a house with a tower with windows around the top to be a sun-trap reading room, yeah I know, dream on!).

I spy a very sparkly golden lady high up on a column, she holds a wreath and I’m trying to work out if she has cape that billows out around her or is she has a flowing dress, even on maximum zoom she’s hard to capture from ground level so I try several angles.

I like the colourful stripes on the local public transport buses and in yet another example of how important cycling is here I see a special cycle crossing right through the centre of a large intersection complete with it’s own cycle road markings.  Cycle lanes are everywhere, and separated from the car traffic (also done ever possible in The Netherlands too) you can see how popular cycling is by the numerous cyclists peddling by.

I was disappointed not to have had more information about some of these beautiful buildings on the tour bus commentary… but at least that didn’t diminish the visual delights.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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December 8, 2013

Wind In Our Hair As We Set Out In An Open-Topped …Bus.

Filed under: Luxembourg City,Luxembourg City Tourist Tour Bus,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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In this page of my blogging  journal we are in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, and have decided that the best way to get an overview of the city is by taking one of the open topped tourist tour buses. The kids manage to bag us all seats on the top deck and we settle in for what we thought would be a relaxing ride around the historic centre…  which it did, (to start off with). Our bus might have had an open to but it still has high windows,  you could photograph over the top only if you stood up (predictably not allowed on a moving bus for obvious reasons.) I later photographed this tour bus that had no windows on the top.. much handier for taking photographs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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December 6, 2013

Grand Duke William II Rides High…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In continuation of  the day before yesterday’s post, we find ourselves in Luxembourg’s City’s central city square called “Place Guillaume II”

Laying in the heart of Luxembourg’s historic Ville Haute quarter Wikipedia tells me that “It is colloquially known as Knuedler, from the Luxembourgish language’s word for ‘knot’, referring to the knot in the belt worn by Franciscan friars.

The western half of the square is dominated by Luxembourg City Hall in the southwest, whilst the equestrian statue to former Grand Duke William II, after whom the square is named, is the prominent feature of the eastern half.

The Grand Duke of Luxembourg is the monarchical head of state of Luxembourg. Luxembourg has been a grand duchy since 15 March 1815, when it was elevated from a duchy, and was in personal union with the Netherlands until 1890. Since 1815, there have been nine monarchs of Luxembourg, including the incumbent, Henri.

The square was originally the site of a Franciscan monastery, hence the colloquial name. However, in 1797, during the French Revolutionary Wars, the monastery was dispossessed by occupying French soldiers. In 1804, the visiting Napoleon presented Place Guillaume II to the city as a gift.

In 1829, plans were put in place to build a new town hall on the square and that same year, the deconstruction of the former monastery was completed, the material from which was used in the new building which was completed in 1838, and first used by the city council.

However, due to the ongoing Belgian Revolution, the official unveiling could not be held at the time. Instead, the town hall was officially unveiled on 15 July 1844 by Grand Duke William II, as was the statue in his likeness in Place Guillaume II.

Place Guillaume II is used as an open air music venue, hosting the Rock um Knuedler rock concert each year since 1991.”  Not only a slice of  history but also some beautiful  details both on the statue and the plinth for my art inspiration file… artistry on all levels.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Place_Guillaume_II

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duke_of_Luxembourg

December 4, 2013

Seeing The Renovations As They Happen, Well Kind Of…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page from my 2012 travel diary as Family Kiwidutch take visiting Singaporean friend “Velveteen” on a whirlwind tour of as many European places and adventures as we can.

At this point of our travels we can be found in Luxembourg City and we are checking out the local sights.

There are some renovations going on in and around Luxembourg’s Place Guillaume II  main central city square, and I was just in time to photograph two workmen straightening out and then rolling up a massive poster.

Sadly there was no Hollywood moment where a hero or villain crashes through the paper making good an adrenaline filled speedy escape  (clearly I have an over-active imagination) but I waited a moment in hope anyway.

Other billboard posters on the large protective fences show us just how much work is going on behind the scenes, and I love this kind of thing. After all if you are going to inconvenience people by closing public and historic buildings why not take the chance to show the work in progress, the projected final result and a bit of history whilst you do it.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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December 3, 2013

Beautiful Lions, Flags and Bicycles …and Pigeons too, For Once.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In continuation of yesterday’s post we are arrived in Luxembourg City and managed by sheer good luck to have found the beautiful main square called “Place Guillaume II“.

There’s an imposing building on the far side of the square immediately identified as  the  “Hôtel de Ville” (City Hall) and whilst I love the neoclassical style of the building, it’s the imposing lion statues on plinths outside that grab most of my attention.

They appeal to my artistic fancy so I take photos from several angles for my art archive that I keep to refer to for inspiration at a later date.

The Luxembourg flag is one that could easily be mistaken for the Dutch one, because it’s the same tricolour formation and almost in the same colours: a horizontal red at the top, white in the centre and blue at the bottom… However the Luxembourg blue stripe is a far lighter shade than the Dutch one. Since The Netherlands can boast that  our flag has been in continuous use since 1572 and is the oldest tricolour flag  in the world still in national use, it’s clear who copied who. The colours originated from those used in Luxembourg’s Grand Duke’s coat of arms, and the coat of arms of Luxembourg, which consists of an ensign with light blue and white striped background with a large heraldic style red lion in the centre.

Some in Luxembourg have campaigned for the ensign flag to become the national flag because the current one is so often mistaken for that of The Netherlands, but so far without success. I also liked the beautiful cast iron lamps around the square, and the evidence that this is a bicycle friendly city. The cycle stand takes up the space of a singe car, as demonstrated with a large car-shaped cut-out and cycle routes abound. The paving cobbles are arranged in beautiful patterns, and the local pigeons were very tame indeed, I’ve never managed to get so close or get better photographs than these before.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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