Pilgrimage to Luxembourg Log -- Thursday, Part Two


Thursday, 7/25/1996 -- Part Two

As we neared the foreboding entrance to Lucard Industries, we became increasingly aware that the building, which is an international conference centre in real life, is not exactly open to the general public. I did not think we would get very far if we attempted to enter, but Dean insisted that we try anyway, and declared that we should take an elevator to an upper floor and then just wander around. Following his lead, I entered the building and we headed for the elevator, only to be accosted by a security guard who asked us (in French) where we were going. Dean pointed to the elevator and tried to keep walking toward it, but the guard intercepted him and continued questioning our presence there. Dean, however, only shrugged and looked confused, indicating that he didn't understand the language, and persisted in attempting to go to the elevator; at this point, the guard asked in succession, "Parlez-vous français?" "Sprechen sie deutsch?" "Do you speak English?" and "Habla español?" He even asked if we were mute and tried using sign language, but Dean pretended not to understand anything he said, all the while stalling and looking around the lobby. Finally the guard completely lost patience and told us to "Raus!" I found it quite amusing that he would use German to tell us to get out, when we supposedly didn't know any languages, but, then again, one really can't fail to understand a good "Raus!"

Even though we were thrown out before we could get very far, we did get a good look at the lobby (hence all the stalling). It was extremely strange in that it had no recpetion desk, tables, or chairs. The whole thing was just a big barren open area with the guard standing to the right of the door. The elevators were to the right, and to the left were a few closed doors. The area had a high ceiling and a shiny dark greenish marble tile floor. Its only objects were some gold canister style ashtrays. The guard wore a brown uniform and a identity badge clipped on his pocket, and carried a two-way radio on his belt.

After leaving Lucard Industries, we retreated to city centre and paid another visit to Lawrence Lei's in order to get a second bag with the store name on it. While walking back to the Knuedler, we stopped at the store with the Little Prince dishes, where we proceeded to make a menace of ourselves for the second time that day by finding out if it is true that Luxembourgians don't bargian. I wanted to get a Little Prince bonbon dish for my brother's wedding present, and I also liked the tea cups and wanted one for myself. Unfortunately, the tea cups were only available in a set, which was very expensive. Dean tried to talk the shop owners down by asking if we could get a discount for buying such a large quantity of items. At first, they didn't understand the concept at all, and then, when they finally realised what he was asking, found the idea absurd, so we left to let them suffer for a while before making a decision about what, if anything, to buy.

Back at the Knuedler, we brought a small French dictionary at the Reynard Fox French bookstore, then went to the tourist office, where I asked about Scotty's pub (Fat Eddie's from "A Little Nightmare Music") and the Ciné Kursaal Café (from "What a Pleasant Surprise!"). The woman at the desk had never heard of the Ciné Kursaal (which is not surprising, since it's outside the city), but knew the precise location of Scotty's and showed it to me on the map. It was nearly six by this point, and we were getting hungry, so we bought Belgian waffles from Kaempff-Kohler and ate them while sitting on a bench in the square. As the stores would close at six, we walked back to the Little Prince shop and bought the wedding present for my brother, but a single mug rather than the set of tea cups for me (I had decided that the large box would be too difficult to carry back on the plane, anyway). While we were there, we watched through the window as the guards changed at the Grand Ducal palace (across from Lawrence's). Unlike the guards in England, Luxembourgian royal guards dress very simply in khaki and a black beret, and the palace is only watched over by one guard at a time. During the changing of the guards, a new guard marched up, accompanied by a third guard, and all three guards went through their stomping and rifle-twirling routine before the first guard and third guard marched away again.

Now that we knew the exact location of Fat Eddie's, we drove back to the Grund and parked, then walked to the corner where it is located. At the same time, we found the place where Lucard had his photo taken by the street artist in the "A Little Nightmare Music" teaser. We recognized it by the latticework on the window, then confirmed that it was the right place by comparing my photo from the series and matching the dark (filled in) arches across the river. There was a metal sign on the side of the building which read "Cercle Munster," but I am not sure what it signified. The door where the artist had her setup was #7. Dean took tons of photos of the street artist's area and of the views across the river, and then we went back to Fat Eddie's, which is right on the other side of the street and down a short distance.

First we photographed the outdoor café area where Sophie and the Contessa ate together early in the episode and the Contessa and Giselle sat while Chris was performing at Fat Eddie's (both "cafés" are the same spot). One does not realise it from watching the episode, but the eating area overlooks the river and has a beautiful view; not only that, but the "café" is merely the outdoor part of Fat Eddie's, not a separate establishment. In fact, it is impossible to get to the outdoor area except by going through Fat Eddie's, and so the scene at the end of the episode, where the Contessa and Giselle walk away while Chris performs "Love Is Like a Factory" inside, is in reality physically impossible.

Of course, I wanted to go out on the balcony myself, and, to do that, we had to go into Scott's (as we had discovered Scotty's was really called) and get something to drink. This was a very unpleasant necessity, for although it was cool to check out Scott's from the inside in order to compare it to Fat Eddie's, it was quite loud, dark, and generally not an enjoyable place to be for very long. Suffice to say that "Love Is Like a Factory" is much better than the music they were playing there. I did, however, identify the exact spot where Chris sang (in front of a mirror in the corner near the bar) and the window that the Contessa and Giselle were shown through. Dean and I each got a Coke, then escaped outside to drink them in peace overlooking the river. I sat in the same spot where Sophie and the Contessa had sat, in one of the same stacking white plastic chairs, and Dean photographed me drinking my "Fat Eddie's American Rock 'n' Roll Shack" Coke. (Note that in the photo you can see the street artist's corner across the river.)

After we had completed our Fat Eddie's visit, we started walking back to the car when all of the sudden I saw a sign and exclaimed, "There's the Café des Artistes!" I had had no idea that there really was a café with the name of the place Sophie and Vincent met in "Bad Blood," and hadn't even planned to look for that particular establishment, as we are never shown its outside, so I was quite thrilled. I would have loved to have eaten there, but it appeared to be out of business and was all locked up. The sign was still there, however, and it was possible to see through the windows that it had indeed been a café. The Café des Artistes' address is #22 Montée du Grund, and the building itself is greenish tinged, with a beautiful carved wooden door.

Following that most fortuitous incident, we ended the day by going back to the Café Faux, a.k.a. Brasserie Mansfeld, for supper. We had to eat inside (apparently they only serve lunch outside), and it was quite busy, but not in an objectionable way. Once again, our waiter was quite cool--very French and incapable of smiling, but younger than the hotel waiter. He needed to be, as he had so many customers. I ordered escargot, and, as I had planned to do, got a glass of Mousel. Dean had to get a salad and an omelet, as there was nothing particularly vegetarian on the menu, but it turned out to be the most amazing salad we'd ever seen and nothing like what you'd get if you asked for a salad in an American restaurant. It contained three types of lettuce, beets, tomatoes, star fruits, champagne grapes, an exotic yellow fruit that we didn't recognize, eggs, and zucchinis (I've probably left things out, as well). He was most impressed. My escargot, which came in a special escargot plate with a little indentation for each snail, was extremely delicious, and so, to my surprise, was the Mousel! I would never claim to be well-versed when it comes to beers, but I found Mousel much better tasting than any other beer I've ever tried. I was expecting it to be dark and strong, but in fact it was quite light and mild, without the bitterness that I expect from a glass of beer.

As we ate, we watched our fellow patrons and, as is our practice, made up things about them. We both agreed that the somewhat fat, bald, puffy, terribly sad looking gentleman sitting all alone at a table near ours was Mr Mousel and that he was so sad because his wife had thrown him out of the house after he'd come home late again after working 'til all hours to run the nearby Mousel brewery. Since he had no supper, he'd had to come to the Brasserie Mansfeld. He looked sadder and sadder as he ordered glass after glass of Mousel. We felt very sorry for him.

We ordered tiramisu for dessert; it was quite unusual in appearance--nothing like other tiramisus I've had (and I have had many)--but very good, although it contained amaretto and therefore could not place first in my tiramisu rankings. As we were leaving, I saw a table outside the front door (in the outdoor café area) on which a large number of wonderful red Mousel coasters were piled. Since I wanted one so badly, Dean pocketed one for me, and we returned to our hotel in a state of absurd contentedness.


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