Driving Through Europe-part#2
Days spent on the journey with the person I share the most beautiful moments in life became an unlimited inspiration to my happiness and joy.
A sense of calmness flooded all my senses. Like a short-circuit that suddenly fired the fuse and at the same time eradicated a series of glittering candles that were previously filled with obligations.
These are candlesticks that are activated daily, by the early morning alarm, when we are trying to delay getting up for five minutes, and then five more, until the thought of losing work does not pass through to the whole body and suddenly transpires and revives the body.
Then you put on the shirt, pants, jump in shoes, drink your cup of coffee standing on your feet, without any pleasure in its scent and taste, and wait for it to wake you up like a straight right (punch) in a face.
And all this for the higher goal; serving eight hours a day at work.
In the evening the candles are gone, but never completely. Before you fall into a sleep, you consider whether you have met all of the criteria you have been expected to meet for that day.
Finally, when the candles are extinguished, some occasionally flicker, and you awake and think of unwanted obligations. It all brings the thoughts into your mind like a ping pong ball that tirelessly bounces from the angles and corners producing a well-known sound, one that prevents you from falling asleep.
Mark and I left far behind this stalwart daily routine for a few days. We were in the north of Europe, located at Ana's apartment in Kirchberg.
It is a new, modern and business district in Luxembourg, where the most important institutions of the European Union are located.
The neighborhood is not yet built and you can see cranes, work machines and work equipment everywhere.
We decided to spend the first day in Luxembourg.
Until the afternoon we wandered through the streets and parks and enjoyed the beautiful views from the old city walls. Like typical tourists, we photographed the monuments and studied each corner of the city.
Later that day we met with Ana in front of the entrance to the European court, where she works. After we had passed all the possible controls and got visitor cards, we finally got in.
As many times before I was convinced again that the world is a village, and the social networks are its maps.
When I added Ana to my Facebook account I realized that we had a common friend Antonio.
This is my friend from elementary school days with whom I shared a bench and shuddered as the professor swirled pages of directory unmercifully.
Several years ago, Antonio went to live in Luxembourg because he had gotten a job at the European Court. He works in the same department as Ana, and they are good friends.
I did not let him know I was coming. Ana and I decided to surprise him.
Croatian department is located on the 16th floor of a modernist building. Alongside the corridor, there is a long line of doors, from which you enter the offices.
We went to Ana’s. The office was large and spacious. The feeling of the magnitude has been highlighted by a glass wall from which you could see the other part of the European Court tower and the entire city.
Antonio's office is located on the other end of the corridor.
We agreed that Ana would go to his office to check if he was alone and to let me know from the door. It would not be a good idea to get inside like a crazy person while a client was in the office.
As she scanned the situation I wrapped my long white scarf around my mouth and forehead.
You could only see my eyes. She gave me the signal that he was alone and then I went in.
When I saw him, I started to mumble in some incomprehensible language, waving my hands around. He looked at me as if I were a complete madman, wide-eyed, not knowing what he would say. Although surprised by the appearance, he remained calm and collected as a true professional.
Finally, I started laughing, I could no longer control myself.
After he realized who I was he said the sentence I was completely expecting "OMG what are you doing here!?" It was a real surprise, a neighborhood friend who he expected to see only in Zagreb, was now standing in front of him.
Far from primary school bench and the local cafe, in a foreign country in northern Europe.
After the emotions had calmed down, Ana and Antonio showed us around the Court.
Then someone suggested that we go to a pub for a beer. We went to one of their favorites.
As we looked at the photos Mark and I took this morning, they told us about the history of the city and its sights.
Through Luxembourg rivers Alzette and Pétrusse flow. The town is situated on steep hills connected by numerous bridges, Ana started explaining.
On this photo you can also see European court where we work and which you visited today. Besides the Court, there are Luxembourg's national concert hall-The Philharmonie Luxembourg, European Parliament, EFTA court, European Commission, European Convention Center Luxembourg, hotel Melia.
We kept scrolling through the photos and when we got to the old city walls, Antonio told us something about their history.
Throughout history in Luxembourg ruling of the great powers were changed. The reason for this was the development of a military fort, which was built in 963 by Siegfried when he bought Rocher du Bock and built a fortress, castellum Lucilinburhuc.
Around the fortress the city of Luxembourg gradually developed. Continuous conflicts and siege of the city have led to the strengthening of the existing fortress, its expansion and the construction of the first underground tunnels. Because of its size and complexity in the 18th century it was named the Gibraltar of the north.
Wall constructions today attracts many visitors. The fortress remains were included in UNESCO's list of world and cultural heritage. Unfortunately that day it was closed, so Mark and I couldn't manage to visit it or walk through its underground tunnels.
We walked along the city walls from which we saw the Grund, a part of the city located in the Alzette valley. There is the Neumunster Abbey, which was built in the 16th century, after which it was repeatedly destroyed and refurbished. Since the late 1990s the European Institute for Cultural Routes has been the seat of the European Cultural Institute.
This is the captured frame of the Judicial Center, Antonio kept on going.
The site on which it is built, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, is located in a buffer zone, close to the area which is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Because of this fact, prior to the construction of the Judicial Center at this site, it had been necessary to obtain the approval of the World Heritage Committee.
You saw, The Grand Duke Palace (Palais Grand-Ducal) it is the official headquarters of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume, where he carries out most of his duties for the last 18 years.
As we looked at the photos, we saw a very interesting one.
While we wandered the streets, we entered a passageway. We came across a shop where Placebo was written in big letters. The shop was growing marijuana, and was fully equipped with equipment necessary for enabling the conditions for growth. We asked if we could buy a gram, but the seller has explained that marijuana is being grown for medical purposes and that has a different composition, without thc, so he could sell it to us but it will not get us "high".
Walking the streets of the city, I got the impression of a big building site.
Cranes, work machines and work equipment were everywhere; by the road, squares, in front of museums, hotels and churches.
We looked at the renovating of existing facades, paving streets and squares, or building new complexes of modern buildings and trams which would better connect the newly constructed parts of the city with the center.
Antonio and Ana told us many more interesting city-related things.
The hours passed quickly as we spoke and laughed. In the afternoon, we said goodbye to Antonio, agreed to go for a coffee sometime and headed for the apartment.
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