One day in Luxembourg City

Luxembourg is one of those tiny countries that seems to fall off the radar of many travelers while visiting central or western Europe. From Amsterdam, it’s about a 4 hour car ride or a 5 hour train journey.

As far as Luxembourg is concerned, my knowledge about this country was limited. I knew that while it is one of the smallest countries, it is also one of the world’s richest. Quaint and appealing as it is, the city also has a hard-working business and administrative side, which has made it wealthy. It is a major centre of international banking, the seat of several significant European institutions, and one of three capitals of the EU. Despite its permanent metropolitan population being just 107,247, it is one of the most multi-cultural cities with around 60% of the residents being foreign origin.

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Belgium’s best-kept secret, Antwerp

Have you ever thought of planning a holiday to Antwerp? This is one of those cities that you will fall in love at first sight.

Art, history, food, culture and diamonds is what this port city is about. If you are traveling by train in to Antwerp (which is what I would recommend), you will arrive at the Railway Cathedral. This neo-gothic masterpiece regularly appears on lists of the most beautiful train stations in the world. The enormous roof and towers are absolutely impressive. It is a welcome you will not want to miss!

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Explore the medieval cities of northern Belgium

Planning a holiday to north or west Europe?

Whatever your plans are,  you must include Belgium in your itinerary.  Plan your stay in Brussels (the capital of Belgium) for at least 3 to 4 days. Once you are done with this charming city, travel north further in to Belgium to experience cornucopia of culture, historic places and beautiful towns and cities.

Ghent

Only 56 kms from Brussels, this city has a medieval feel to it, but also retains an  industrial edge. With most of the town center closed to cars, Ghent is best explored on foot,  two wheels or by boat along the elegant canals. As you enter the central square you will be welcomed by Gravensteen Castle or Castle of the Counts.

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Besides chocolate and beer, Belgium has a lot to offer

While we have all heard about Belgium chocolates and beers,  Belgium has never been on the travel maps of  many Indians holidaying in Northern or Western Europe.

In April earlier this year, I traveled to Belgium with my husband and two friends (a married couple).  We chose to travel during spring, but we realised that the European spring is as cold as the Indian winter (at least for us girls). If you are planning a visit, plan to travel in summers – June to September would be an ideal time. But even in the cold and wet weather, Belgium did not let us down. There is so much that this little country can offer, you just need to know where to start.

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Are Parisians friendly?

They certainly have’t been living up to the rude reputation so far…

We were pleasantly surprised to find someone helping us with our luggage without asking for a cent! While figuring out the way at the Metro, a stranger happily gave us directions. Nice guy!

While on the streets of Paris, we stopped a couple to ask them the way, they immediately took out their phone map, and helped us out. Of course our pronunciation wasn’t perfect :-) but they figured out which street we wanted to go to, and showed us the way.

So what gives? Do Parisians just have a bad reputation (created by us!)? We have always heard that they are horribly rude and pretend not to know English when spoken to. We were pleasantly surprised to find that people in Paris were quite helpful and managed to speak a few words of English or two.
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