Pilgrimage to Luxembourg Log -- Thursday

Thursday, 7/25/1996

Interestingly, the four English-language TV stations available here are CNN, CNBC, the Cartoon Network, and, yes, MTV. But I guess Uncle Gustav didn't get cable. There are about 12 stations total, with an approximately equal number of French, German and English channels. I think they should replace the Cartoon Network with the Sci-Fi channel, though...

Today we tried first to go back to City Centre, but it was too crowded (noon 'til two is lunch hour), so we drove through the narrow winding cobblestone streets of the Grund and into Clausen. As luck had it, we found a space and parked in a small lot right near the arch where Lucard picked up Mycroft Tickler. The moment we saw the arch, we suspected it was "Tickler Arch," and when we compared it to my photographs from the show, then walked through and found the distinctive Café Faux entry arch right on the other side, we were certain of it. We further confirmed it was the right place because a pub called the Pygmalion, which Phil Bedard told me was near the café, was right on the other side of the street. We compared my TV photos of Café Faux (site of Chris and Sophie's date in "The Boffin"), of the arch Max rode his bicycle through when driving past Café Faux (the same as "Tickler Arch"), and of the café where Tickler performed (the same as Café Faux), and they all matched. Dean stood out in the street taking tons of photos from all the right angles while I "checked his six" for cars. The real name of Café Faux is the Brasserie Mansfeld, and its address is 3 Rue de la Tour Jacob. The "Tickler Arch" (if it has a real name, I don't know what it is) is on the same street, just past where Montée de Clausen changes to Tour Jacob, and the bridge where Sophie and Chris were walking in "The Boffin" is right across from Brasserie Mansfeld. (You can see it on the map.)

After we had finished photographing "Café Faux," we walked to the nearby Mousel brewery and looked for the building which was used as Magnus St. John Smythe's English lab ("the MacCallum Research Centre") in "The Great Tickler." Phil Bedard had told me that he thought the spot where he made his debut on-screen as Malcolm was one of the Mousel brewery buildings, and, indeed, there it was. We recognized it by the squiggly railings on the stairs leading up to the doors. The doors themselves looked different, but then we realised that, of course, the ones that Magnus and Malcolm blew down must have been fake, added over the top of the real doors; they couldn't have destroyed the actual Mousel building doors! Dean took photos of the "MacCallum Research Centre" and of the other nearby buildings shown as surrounding Magnus' lab, and then we walked up and down the whole Rue Emile Mousel, which is quite a marvellous area, and I developed an extreme and incurable soft spot for Mousel. Even before the trip, I had vowed to taste Mousel, as the distinctive Mousel sign appears in the background of so many of the café scenes of the series that Mousel seems to be the official beer of "Dracula." I am not exactly a beer drinking sort of person, so I had not been looking forward to fulfilling this "obligation;" however, the Mousel brewery, with its signs written in that irresistible goofy font, its enchanting old buildings, its weird little trucks and its 17-foot high walls of bright red and bright yellow Mousel crates, charmed me completely. Whether or not I would actually like drinking Mousel, I was horribly fond of it already.

When we had explored the entire Mousel street, we looked for Scotty's pub, a.k.a. "Fat Eddie's American Rock 'n' Roll Shack," which Phil Bedard had told me was in the same area. We walked up and down Tour Jacob, but found nothing resembling Fat Eddie's and so walked along until we came to stairs by which one can either go down to the level of Klaus' church (St. John's Church), which they overlook, or climb up to a mysterious area above. The stairs were extremely steep metal steps which one can look down through and see the billion-mile drop below, so I was rather reluctant to climb them, and stayed in a conservatively high section while Dean went up to the ultra-high area above. Actually, it was not climbing up them that I was afraid of, but, rather, the thought of having to go back down. Dean tried to convince me to come up, but I insisted we go down to the Grund to visit Klaus' church instead, so we descended the stairs and walked around the side of the large church. This church, you will remember, was shown in "Decline of the Romanian Vampire" as being the church in whose cemetery the Helsing family crypt is located; in actuality, the crypt is not at the church and, in fact, the church doesn't even have a cemetery, but in the world of "Dracula: the Series," of course, such matters are irrelevant. Klaus' church has the most beautiful red rose garden, and the roses there smell absolutely wonderful.

One of the most marvellous things about Luxembourg city is that it has so many levels. This makes it so that you can, for example, see the Tower Building (the one skyscraper) next to Lucard Industries from all over the city, not only because the Tower Building is tall but also because the Centre Europeén is on a plateau. Lucard Industries is a much shorter building, but one can also see it from quite far off, in particular when on top of (or, as we would find on Friday, inside of) the Bock Casemates. From the Casemates, one also has a grand view of Klaus' church; the church, in fact, completely dominates the Grund and seems to be there every time you look down (including from Lucard Industries). Actually, it's not so silly the way everything is only minutes away (reachable by bicycle!) in the series; it certainly feels that way. If only one could fly, it would take seconds to reach places that are streets and streets away by car or foot.

Unfortunately, I can't fly, so I had to climb the stairs instead, but only after Dean convinced me that there was probably, possibly, another (non-stair) way back down and that we had to go up because it might be where Klaus' crypt was. It turned out that there was in fact nothing very exciting up there, other than splendid distant views of Lucard Industries and a field of delightful orange poppies, but, after we had decided we weren't going to find any sites, we did find another way back down to the Brasserie Mansfeld. We were getting rather hungry by this time (it was about 3 o'clock), but when we went into Brasserie Mansfeld, they communicated to us that no lunch was available after two, but that they opened again for supper at seven. We decided to come back again after seven, as we wanted to eat at the Café Faux, and I had chosen it as the logical site for my Mousel imbibement. So, we walked back to the parking lot on Rue de Clausen where we'd left our car (BTW, I wonder if Klaus could be named for Clausen?).

Since it was hours 'til seven, we decided to go back to Les Trois Glands. The weather was fine, and, unlike yesterday, it would be good for taking photos. On the way, we saw two police officers on motorcycles pulling people over for speeding, using high-tech binoculars. The motorcycle police (and almost everyone else who rides a motorcycle) wear black leather outfits that look like something out of "Blake's Seven." I have never, ever, seen so many people in leather pants! It would have been amusing if Chris had got himself a pair, as it seems to be a "cool" Luxembourg thing… Hm, Amber Santana was wearing a pair (not quite the typical Luxemboug type, though, which has padded knees and other elaborate features) when she draped herself across Lucard's desk. Oh, incidently, I noticed a sign (I can't remember what it was for, though) that said "Santana" on the street where our hotel is located, and wondered if Amber was named for that; before, I'd always thought the name Santana sounded quite out of place on the show.

We took photos of the front of Les Trois Glands, then went around back where the archeological dig scenes from "Double Darkness" were filmed. The back area was all fenced off, as they really are in the process of digging and making repairs, but Dean was able to fit the zoom lens through the links of the chain-link fence and take photos that way. From the "archeological dig" spot, the Tower Building next to Lucard Industries is quite visible and makes a weird contrast. The constant juxtapositioning of the ultra-modern and the ancient that makes up Luxembourg City is just so great; everywhere you look, there is something interesting to see.

From Les Trois Glands, we took some photos of the rest of the city down below, then drove to Lucard Industries, where we took tons of photos of the building from various angles. Oh, by the way, you'd never know from watching the series, but the European Hemicycle (Lucard Industries) is connected to the Conference Centre building by a skywalk! I found this quite shocking. [Photos of this phenomenon have to wait for Tuesday's log, as that's when I photographed it.] We parked in a parking lot near Lucard's and then took a closeup photo of the entrance (haven't you always wondered what the entrance to Lucard Industries looks like??) before venturing inside. We wanted to see what the inside of the building was like (yes, Lucard's office is really only a set, but still, one never knows…) and so thus unfolded the most hilarious and daring tale of our trip.

Continued in Part Two...

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