We passed the three towers (and went under them) looked down on the Grund River and the amazing gardens of the neumunster abbey (sounds like a cheese). We also saw the Palace of the Dukes. Luxembourg is the only EU country to still be ruled by a duchy - no king - no president. I found this kind of strange. I mean, if someone pointed a man on the street out to me and said "Look, the Duke of Luxemburg!" I'd probably not even realize he was in charge of the place. In my mind, Dukes have bosses. Of course, we went to the Bock casement, which had amazing views and where we could gaze, yearningly, at the casement doors (locked). We headed back toward the parking lot, passing through William Square where they were selling gorgeous tulips for 4E per dozen (no vase in car - wah). We also passed this amazing centaur statue - you may have noticed I like my mythological creatures quite a bit. On another windy street, we came across this giant G. Of course, I tried to get Griffin to pose near it. You see, the other kids had found their own lands during this trip - although we hadn't visited them (Calais was Callie's place, Zandvoorde, Zanders - also, incidentally - I saw what must have been my dad's anscestral village - Geekvoorde) Griffin was sad we hadn't found his place yet. So I tried to get him to pose near the inlay, telling him this must be Griffinworld! Then erupted one of Griffin's strange tantrums. In general, he is a very mellow little guy, only having tantrums for 'normal' things (i.e. you aren't letting me do what I want) on rare occassions. Griffins' tantrums, instead, are usually centered around the insistence that something that is true, isn't. In this case, he was adamant that his name didn't start with G. Perhaps this is a bit understandable, since, in French, the letter G is pronounced like we say the letter J. But he wasn't biting on J either. MY NAME DOESN'T HAVE THAT LETTER! Let me chronicle some other common arguements Exhibit A (of course has to be): I am a big boy and I poop in my pants. Exhibit B: Peanuts are pistachios Exhibit C: That is a train (when it is really a bus) Exhibit C: I only like downstairs water (from the tap in the downstairs bathroom - as opposed to our kitchen tap) Exhibit D: I hate tomato soup and I love pink soup (these are the same thing). It's hard to know how to handle these situations. Sometimes (usually when it involves food and I want him to eat it) I lie G: Mama, is this downstairs water? Mama: Of course, now drink it Other times I try to sympathize without agreeing. "Oh, you think there is no G in your name. That makes you so angry" He is so funny - it seems he needs to scream for about 2 minutes and then he will say. I'm sad, can I have a hug and kiss? Once he gets that he's back to his old self. Maybe he just need to get some frustration out sometimes - I know I do. We saw this awesome circus performer sculpture near our parking garage - reminded me of how much I miss my Philly circus friends. We finally hit the road for the last time, we had 4.5 hours to make a 3 hour trip. We had to return the car by 6pm (closing time) Sat night. Well, the kids (and us) were just sick of the travel. They were very uncomfortable in the car and ended up basically naked in the back as we drove along. You can see evidence of this looking at Griffin during an, all too frequent, pee break. (Hey, they were strapped in, you have to choose your battles). Despite our best efforts, we were just barely able to make it to the rental agency by 6 to return the car - we did call to ask for a 5 minute extension so we could drop our stuff off at home before getting there, but these French - they want out when the day is done! The place is closed on Sunday so we would have had to pay for 2 more days rental - definitely not in budget! So, we went straight there and made it just in time to give back the car. Unfortunately - we had beaucoup baggage too! The heartless car rental workers literally just dumped us and our stuff out in a parking lot, miles from home. Would you do that to a family with 3 little kids? There was a bus stop nearby, but, unfortunately, it was not the line that drops us off right in front of our house. We ended up calling our hero, Olivier. Andre' ran over there, got his car, and we loaded our stuff into it and brought it the final leg of the journey.
You know that feeling you get when you get home after vacation? The kind that relieves the sadness of ending vacations? It's like my soul saying "Look, it's my place. My bed, my stuff - my home." Well, I didn't have that feeling when I came back and I didn't realize I don't think of this place as home until it was so noticeably not there when I walked in our door. Of course, I said nothing about this to the kids who seemed happy to be back but later, when I tucked Callie into bed she said "Mom, I'm happy to be here, but I want to go home to Philadelphia. This doesn't feel the same." Well, we've only been here 6 months - I was in Philly 15 years - not too suprising, right?