More than once, we went to the station to check if our TGV from Paris Gare de l’Est to Luxembourg would run. We went first to Bouray, and were told to check at Paris. When we went to Montparnasse, we went to the station there. Our train, we were told, was ‘sure to run’, despite the strikes.
Yet, just to be on the safe side, we decided to leave early and get to the station. Sure, options of buses existed, but we had tickets already. Most importantly, even if everything else got delayed or cancelled, we needed to reach Luxembourg in time to catch our flight back!
On the day we were to leave, a huge protest was organised – from Gare du Nord to Republique. And Gare de l’Est is exactly in the middle. Nervously, we made our way to Paris, and reached, much to everyone’s relief, well in time, and once more, with the guarantee that our train would run.
So that was that. Goodbye to France, and a journey to a country I had never seen!
Luxembourg was utterly beautiful, exactly like I’d heard it would be. We reached a little before 4 in the evening, and we’d found out in advance how to get to our hotel without needing to take a taxi. We walked out of the station to the bus stand and found our bus waiting there with lots of people sitting inside it. The driver wasn’t in, though.
What were we to do? We didn’t have bus passes the way I assumed everyone else would, so we stood outside with our suitcases until the driver came. I had my money ready; it would be 2 euros per passenger, or so the hotel had informed us.
As soon as the driver arrived, we climbed in with our luggage. I wasn’t sure what language to speak, for I had already heard English, French and German. When I was greeted in French, I was relieved.
“Sit down,” we were told, politely.
“Um – I haven’t paid …”
“No, no – it’s free on the weekend!”
“Oh!” Almost as an afterthought, I added my ‘thank you’, and manoeuvred my way to the back of the bus.
I wondered if it was just because of the festive season, but no. At the hotel, we were told that buses were free on weekends because there were “too many people on the road”. My eyes widened. Too many people? Really?
I looked out and saw three cars and a few people walking. A couple of taxis went by a little later.
“From next year, the buses will be free every day to reduce traffic.”
Wow. Welcome to Luxembourg.