Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rubber Duck Invasion This Saturday (April 30)

It’s an avian April here in Luxembourg Ville. Last weekend, we were invaded by ceramic bird whistles at Éimaischen and on tap for this weekend, 10,000 rubber ducks will flood the Pétrusse River for the 10th annual Duck Race, a yearly fundraiser put together by the charitable organization Roundtable Luxembourg.

The duck race will be held this Saturday, April 30 in the Pétrusse Valley by the viaduct, which is next to the mini golf and the petit train. There will be food and entertainment on from noon onward, and the duck race starts at 3pm. It’s definitely a family friendly affair, but a good time for anyone who is looking for a Saturday afternoon activity with the opportunity to hit up – you guessed it – a sausage or beer truck.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Péckvillercher (Éimaischen 2011)

My souvenir péckvillercher.
Easter Monday is a national holiday throughout most of Europe. But on this day in Luxembourg Ville, every year, tens of thousands of birds of all colors and shapes invade the city and chirp away without end. With a little human help, that is, since the birds are actually ceramic whistles called péckvillercher.

The celebration is a uniquely Luxembourgish festival called Éimaischen…a festival that I also like to think of as the official kickoff to sausage and beer truck season. (Sausage and beer trucks are common staples of Luxembourgish festivals that you’ll be seeing me mention regularly in the coming months.)

This year was our second Éimaischen and so far, the best. Last year, Nick and I wore winter coats and froze our fingers tasting our very first mettwurst, but this year we enjoyed loads of sunshine, much warmer temperatures, and the company of our friends Ashleigh and Scott, who drove up from Switzerland to spend Easter weekend with us.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

User’s Guide: Medical Care in Luxembourg

I think I am about to enter fun withdrawal. The last month has been a bit insane, in an awesome but crazy busy way. Since my last post, Nick and I have been happy to host several guests. First up was a college friend of mine who I dragged all over Luxembourg, out to Trier and Cochem, to Champagne and then off to Paris. The day after I left her in Paris to catch her flight home, my aunt, uncle and cousin arrived and were given the grand tour of the Grand Duchy. The day they left to go to France, I left for Frankfurt to catch a flight to the US for the weekend to attend a friend’s wedding. I returned home yesterday, a little jet lagged and happily exhausted from my friend’s beautiful wedding and a terrific weekend of catching up with old friends that I adore, and ready to see my husband, who I feel like I’ve only seen briefly in passing for the last two weeks.
The tapenade that caused
all of my ER drama.

So, naturally, not long after Nick returned home from work last night, I gashed my left hand while trying to open a jar of olive tapenade for dinner with a bread knife. (Dumb idea, I know…I often have a tendency to learn things the hard way.)

I had never cut myself that deep before and I was pretty sure that it was too deep to heal on its own under a Band-Aid, so I told Nick I thought we should go to the hospital. I keep emergency numbers on a post-it in a kitchen cabinet, but when we reached for it, it felt a bit silly to call an ambulance for a cut hand. After all, I was in pain but not in any kind of mortal danger. So, we called a taxi instead.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Village Hopping in Alsace

There are several problems with the Alsatian region of France.

First and foremost, Alsace is so close to Luxembourg – less than 3 hours – that it’s a perfect weekend destination; the problem is, when you get there, you’re going to want to stay longer than a weekend.

Second, once you do get there for a weekend or otherwise, you’re going to have to make some critical decisions. Should you follow la route des vins, la route de la choucroute, la route du chocolat, or la route du fromage? (I’m only listing half of the suggested routes here, but rest assured: all roads lead to your stomach.)

Then there’s the problem of where to stay. You see, there are scores of tiny timbered towns that make up Alsace and each and every one of them is charming and unique in its own way. Some towns sit beneath ruins of centuries old castles, others have been singled out by the Conseil National des Villes et Villages Fleuris for their town’s collectively dazzling, colorful displays of flowers and landscaping.

Finally, there’s the problem of what to eat. Alsatian cuisine is a perfect blend of German heartiness and French finesse. But with only a few precious meals to enjoy during a weekend stay, how does one choose between the choucroute garnie, the baeckeoffe, or anything that involves Muenster cheese (invented here)? And will there still be room for kugelhopf the next morning?

And most importantly: how many orders of tarte flambée are appropriate to share in one day?