For our final day in Luxembourg, we decided to just take it easy and finish a few miscellaneous things that we wanted to do before leaving. First, we set out to visit the Cactus we had spotted on our way back from The Castle the day before. We were very curious to see what an actual large Luxembourgish supermarket would be like, and we found the name and huge arch on Cactus' logo to be quite amusing. On the way to Cactus, however, we decided to stop and take our remaining photos of locations from the series. We drove to the parking lot behind Lucard Industries, where I photographed the Sofitel (see photo included in yesterday's entry) and Europlaza hotels from across the street. Dean's neck was still murdered, so he stayed in the car while I clambered around trying to get good shots. We also wanted to photograph the distinctive honeycomb-ish looking American Embassy from "Children of the Night," but couldn't figure out how to get to it, so instead we went to back to the Kirchberg plateau and I took pictures of the skywalk/pedestrian bridge which connects Lucard Industries to the Conference Centre across the street (see the Lucard Industries photo section). Dean took one photo of me posing in front of our little turquoise Peugeot rental car, with Lucard Industries and the skywalk in the background.
After some driving around, we finally discovered how to get close to the American Embassy, and I jumped out of the car and photographed that as well. It is the Municipal Theatre in real life, and has a billion flags (tons more than are visible in this photo) flying out in front, but, unlike in "Children of the Night," no American ones.
Our next stop was Cactus, where we marvelled at the very incongruous looking St. Louis Gateway-like arch and were highly impressed by the clever cart racks. You have to put in coins to get out a cart, but the money is returned if you bring your cart back to the rack instead of leaving it in the parking lot. Highly motivational! Cactus was actually not that big inside; it was like a small supermarket, but had a huge wine section and an attached store to buy large volumes of beer and recycle the empty bottles. One could get crates of Mousel. I wanted to, but it would have been a bit heavy to carry back on the airplane. We did get three new types of Mousel (single bottles), to complete my collection. I now have four Mousel bottles: 1) Mousel Premium Pils (the normal kind of Mousel), which says on the bottle "onst letzebuerger gold" and has an alcohol volume of 4.8%; 2) Altmunster ("pur malt et houblon") which is 5.5%; 3) Black Lager / Luxembourg 95 (special for 1995, I think), which is 4.8%; and 4) Donkel Béer, which has 7% alcohol volume and comes in a slightly smaller bottle. As you will recall, I do not have a Mousel Clausen (the non-alcoholic type) bottle, because the café had to send back the empty bottle and wouldn't let me take it. [My Mousel memories are now long gone, so I cannot say which was my favourite, but I do remember that Mousel Clausen was far inferior to real Mousel and that Donkel Béer was a bit dark and strong for my liking. All my Mousel bottles are now proudly displayed in my tea room closet.]
Back at our hotel for lunch, we dined out on our balcony on items we had bought at Cactus. It was during lunch that I discovered Bitburg is not one of the "five beers of Luxembourg"--it is GERMAN and tastes awful, too. Why our hotel stocked their mini-bars with Bitburg is beyond me. What a crime! So now, on our last day there, I had not actually tried each of the five beers. This terrible oversight needed to be remedied quickly! On our way back out, we asked the receptionist at the front desk about the five beers. As always, she came through. She wrote them down for us on a scrap of paper, upon examination of which we found that we hadn't heard of Battin. She told us it was brewed in the south.
We decided to drive near the railroad station just to say we'd done so (this is the newer part of town, and was the one part of Luxembourg City we had not visited), and to see if there were any Battin places near there. Of course, there were not, so we agreed that we must go to Match to get Battin. Match is the other "large" supermarket in Luxembourg, so we were curious to compare it to Cactus. At the beginning of "Klaus Encounters of the Interred Kind," you can see the gang carrying in grocery bags from Match (according to Phil Bedard, there was one across from the location of the House of Helsing exterior, but we never visited there, as it was outside the city). Much to our surprise, it turned out that our Match was in a mall, "City Concord Shopping Mall." We did find Battin (it came in a cool clamp-style re-sealable bottle and turned out to be even better than Mousel, although I'd never admit that), and checked out the mall, which was pretty impressive except for the fact that it was not air-conditioned.
After exploring the mall, we went to good old Knuedler square for one last time and got tons of sour tongue candies to bring back to the US. I also tried to buy stamps, but was informed in French that they were only to be had avec postcards. So I got postcards too. After mailing my castle postcards that I had written to Lucard's Home Page visitors who had requested them, we went back to the mall and ordered "le cheesy crust" (better known as "stuffed crust") pizza at Pizza Hut. (For our last day in Luxembourg, we had wanted to go to Cuisinerie Linster, which was recommended to me by Phil Bedard. The owner, Lea Linster, won the Prix Bocuse, given by the famous French chef to the chef he feels is the best in Europe. Her brother Jang, after whom the cook in "My Fair Vampire" is named, owns a recording studio next door to the restaurant, where some post production sound for the series was done. Unfortunately, it turned out that Cuisinerie Linster was closed Monday and Tuesday, so we had to settle for pizza!) Dean was extremely grateful to finally have something other than a salad for supper, and, luckily, I knew how to say champignons. While we were waiting for the pizza to bake, I looked at nearby bins of loose candy and was quite tickled to find one kind labelled "Dracula" candy. Of course, I had to buy a few. They are sort of chewy marshmallowy things in the shape of gums and teeth with fangs. [I still have one, which is now as hard as a rock.]
After bringing "le cheesy crust" back to our hotel to eat it, we went for a walk in Parc Merl, the park behind our hotel. We took a lot of really nice pictures near the pond and, especially, in the wonderful rose garden, which we explored and admired for quite a while. Afterwards, we played on the long shiny bumpy slide and the swings until dusk, then went back inside to pack for our trip home the next morning.
Wednesday morning, our suitcase slightly weighted down by Battin and Mousel bottles, we said goodbye to Luxembourg. The last thing we saw out the window of the plane during takeoff was that the "I Love Lucard" airport site was in the cargo plane section. And yes, I do hope to return one day... it was the most marvellous trip I have ever taken.
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