We took the opportunity to drive through Luxembourg on our way home from the Black Forest. We spent the day in the main city, also called Luxembourg, that was filled with surprises for both of us. For centuries, Spain, France, Austria and Germany turned Luxembourg into one of the most fortified places on earth, the so-called Gibraltar of the North because of its major strategic position on the European chessboard. The city was bombed badly during WWII, so the downtown core has been completely rebuilt, but not in the old style, but in gleaming glass and chrome high rises like many North American big cities. However, much remains of the old city walls dating back to 963. One of the travel writers described the Corniche as the “most beautiful balcony of Europe” with its views down into the river gorge with its stone walls, towers, bridges and lower town of Grund.
The biggest surprise, aside from the beauty of the place, was how multi-cultural it was compared to any other city we have visited. I Googled it and nearly 50% of the population was foreign born – many from other EU countries but also a great percentage of asylum seekers. That also contributes to the country having the largest population growth of any other EU country.