By mid-afternoon we were satisfied with our highlights of Trier, Germany and drove about an hour southwest to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. Three languages are recognized as official in Luxembourg: French, German, and Luxembourgish. It was confusing to switch from the little German we know to the even less French that we know! An expression of thank you is not on the tip of our tongue and sounds something like thanka-dank-erci. Some days we’re so American.
I find this trilingual system fascinating, since each of the three languages is used as the primary language in different circumstances. Luxembourgish is the language that Luxembourgers generally use to speak to each other. Most official (written) business is carried out in French. German is the language used by much of the media and of the church. The first years of primary school are in Luxembourgish, before changing to German, while in secondary school, the language of instruction changes to French. Proficiency in all three languages is required for graduation from secondary school. And consider that second languages in the U.S. not only aren’t required but are being dropped as an option for those who want to learn!
We found the Casemates du Bock to be interesting from both a historic and geologic perspective. The city is built on top of a hill with huge rocks surrounding it. The Casemates du Bock are a system of tunnels carved in those rocks that served as protection like a castle wall.
After meandering through the historic part of the city along winding cobblestone streets we were ready for dinner. We checked into our hotel in neighboring Dudelange, a much quieter community of about 17,000 people (compared with 95,000 in Luxembourg City). Wow, no wonder we’re tired – we covered quite a lot today since leaving Ramstein!