Let’s take a leaf from Luxembourg City – one of those green ones, from the dreamy green park, in the middle of the dreamy green city…
Last weekend we took a mini, mini-break to Luxembourg. “Why?” do I hear you ask? Well, get this, it’s 55 minutes on the plane from London, and once you get there it’s 15 minutes on the bus to the centre, and it’s so tiny you can see pretty much all there is to see in one day and at the very most two so it’s the perfect “weekend getaway”.
I think this little weekend is probably one of the most sustainable holidays I’ve been on so naturally I must tell you all about it. It begins with our travel: the £14.99 Ryanair flights from Stansted (0.31 tCO2e) plus the 45 mile drive from Balham (0.01 tCO2e) cost all of £3.20 to offset which makes sure that our irreducible impacts are at least offset to invest in something good.
Waking up the next morning, whilst taking a stroll into town, the most noticeable thing about the city (no doubt helped by the sunny weather), was that it looked so clean! There was no chewing gum on the streets, very minimal litter and despite the building works, the construction activity and waste was confined to within the site fences. Our first pitstop was for pastry and coffee at the Golden Bean cafe – where the coffee is all sustainably and ethically grown and sourced, typically from international cooperatives, and is roasted by the owners themselves. Sustainable breakfast, check!
Next, we took a walk through the city, having pinpointed a few places to see, and came across the Vallée de Pétrusse, a beautful steep-sided valley full of lush greenery and crumbling natural fortresses. Here was a little oasis of trees and flowers, growing wild, city residents taking a morning stroll or run, and winding paths from end to end of the valley, following a tiny rivulet of the Alzette River. Natural beauty for all to see, check!
After a steep climb at the other end of the valley, it was time for our second pitstop in a pretty little courtyard at the bottom of the Montée du Grund (also a recommended spot for city views). The Updown Bar served us a local Bofferding beer which is brewed in Bascharage which means it’s travelled less than 20km to get to us. (Semi-)sustainable beer, check!
Next we hiked up the Montée du Grund and the Chemin de Corniche, to take in views of the Alzette valley and the Casemates du Bock. It’s a beautiful walk and if you make it right round to the Casemates du Bock you should stop by the Chocolate House and indulge in some of the largest cakes and chocolatey ice creamy desserts you’ve ever seen – even better they use no vegetable fats or palm oil, no artificial flavourings and colourings, no flavour enhancers and no preservatives. Sustainable sweet treats, check!
As this city is so small, you can pretty much see all the main things in one day which meant Sunday was a day of total relaxation for us. A French omelette brunch in the square and exploration of the parks around the city which are some of the most beautiful green spaces I have seen: planted carefully with pretty meadow flowers, trickling fountains and ponds and lush green grass to kick back on.
So, whilst many of you may have been thinking, “why on Earth Luxembourg?!” then I hope this might have swayed you to give it a try. It’s a top location for a chilled couple of days, and comparable to many other destinations in Europe, it’s pretty damn sustainable.