Holiday time in Luxembourg

Well, I’m finished judging the entries for the drawing contest and have given them to EuroSpaceward to get the certificates printed up and notify the winners.  My disguise is being delivered tomorrow morning – hopefully it will keep me out of trouble.

And, my presentation is actually finished.  Really and truly.  I’ve even been able to have time to send it off the rest of the Board Members of ISEC to get their comments.  Will wonders never cease…

So, I’m in Europe, in Luxembourg, and it’s the holiday season.  I have some free time and am told that the local “Christmas Market” is a great place to do Christmas shopping.  Also, I get a chance to walk around ‘old Europe’ and it’s always been a great pleasure of mine to do so.  I’ve done lots of walking in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, Great Britain (England and Scotland) and especially the Netherlands.  I love it – it’s so different than where I live (a suburb of Chicago).  There the streets are straight and wide and (relatively) new.  You have to drive to get anywhere and the attempts to make a ‘town cente’ in the suburbs just don’t cut it.  Old Europe streets are narrow and paved in cobblestones.  You rarely can see what’s 50 yards in front of you as the streets twist in all directions – it makes walking anywhere seem like an adventure.  And town centers are vibrant with life, especially during the holiday season.

I’d been looking forward to walking around in the old part of the city in Luxembourg City and I was not disappointed.  I did get a good chunk of Christmas shopping done but, sadly, did not find anything for my wife.

I have a confession to make – I did not buy my wife a Christmas present last year.  She’s tremendously difficult to buy for and, when pressed as to what she wanted, she finally told me “A condo in Hawaii”.  I wasn’t able to come up with one last year, but did have faint hopes that I might find something while Christmas shopping today that could act as a substitute.  Alas, no…

I’ve included some pictures from today’s walking tour of Place D’Arms (the location of the Christmas market in the Luxembourg City Town Center).

The first picture might take a little explaining.  It’s an outdoor heater.  Several of these were located by the tables located in the middle of the Christmas market – tables where people ate and drank their Glühwein.  They were quite effective – I can attest to that.  Though there was no snow on the ground, it was damp and near freezing – the heaters were definitely welcomed by all who were there.  The third picture is a 4-tiered chocolate fountain – there are chocolate / confectionery stores everywhere.  The rest of the pictures are of the Christmas market.  I particularly like the last one – it really seems to capture the atmosphere I saw and felt tonight.

The conference starts tomorrow.  My internal clock is adjusting well and I should be fully functional, or at least coherent, by tomorrow morning.

Stay tuned!

(Click on any of the picture thumbnails to see a full-size version)