Thursday, February 5, 2009
First trip to Luxembourg
I arrived in Germany to live in the spring of 1999 and quickly caught the traveling bug. Within a couple weeks of settling into my dorm room I was invited by my 'piss mate' (I had my own dorm room but shared the bathroom with the guy next door.) and a friend of his to go to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.
Luxembourg City is only about 45 minutes to an hour drive from Spangdahlem Airbase but is very different from Germany culturally. Although the ethnic Luxembourg people speak a dialect of German the actual language of the government is French. So for example all the road signs and restaurant menus are in French.
It would not have made any difference to me why 'piss mate' was going to Luxembourg as I would have gone even if he had told me he was going there to sell me to Gypsies. As it turned out I need not be worried of Gypsies. We were going to The Utopolis movie complex on the edge of the city.
We parked the car outside the complex in a dirt parking lot that is now home to two world famous banks and walked inside to purchase tickets for the next showing of The Matrix. We had about an hour or so before the movie started so we went upstairs and got some seats in a very chic looking bar with a very high ceiling and large glass windows overlooking the main street.
After sitting there and soaking in the European chic bar scene we went to get some popcorn and drinks before heading into the theatre. Two things that were initially very strange to me was that if you didn't ask for ice in your soda they wouldn't give you any and you had an option of two different kinds of popcorn. Salty or sweet.
Having tried Salty popcorn for my whole life of course I HAD to go for the sweet popcorn... And I loved it. It is crunchier than salted popcorn. Perhaps it has some toffee or honey mixed in with the sugar and butter. Very rarely would I ever get salted popcorn when visiting the Cinema after this.
With my hands loaded with sugary treats to stuff my face with for the next 90 minutes we went to find some seats in the theatre. The theatre screen looked bigger than what I was accustomed to in America and the seating was much steeper. The seats were more comfortable as well from what was available in most theatres in America in the late 90's.
So when the lights went dark and I was expecting the movie previews to begin I got a slight surprise... I was sitting through commercials for milk, beer and car insurance in French. Thankfully these ended and the previews began and the movie shortly there after.
The movie was the original in English but had German and French subtitles on the bottom. I actually became quite used to this and it helped me to learn some German and French words as well.
Once the movie was finished the lights came back on and the doors that are typically used for the emergency exits opened and we followed the crowd out. Upon walking down the stairs we found ourselves back in the main lobby where you purchased tickets. They seem to have the system setup so that you couldn't leave this film and go to see another one without paying... Good Idea I guess.
We got out of the cinema well past midnight and drove back to Spangdahlem but many more trips to Luxembourg would be in my future. The place had a different vibe to it. I couldn't put my finger on it at the time as to why it had a different atmosphere that Germany but it didn't take me too long to figure it out.