06 October 2010

Oh Duchess, My Duchess

Above are Henri and Maria Teresa, the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg. Henri is the heir to the throne and Maria Teresa is a Cuban-born commoner he met in college. We didn't actually meet the royal couple. This is simply a google image. However, we saw their faces everywhere - displayed in store windows, on postcards, etc. Walking around Luxembourg city you saw Duchess Maria Teresa's Cuban influence immediately.
Okay, to be honest, Brussels and Amsterdam both had as many Cuban or Hispanic inspired bars and restaurants. Each had as many Che t-shirts as a shop on St. Marks Place. I was just much more aware of it because of the lovely Maria Teresa (and my Cuban relatives back home).
Went went to this place to try out their mojitos (which were pretty awful) and found the walls lined with cuban cigar boxes and portraits of Che and Fidel. The free tortilla chips and salsa seemed a little misguided, though.
This "Brasserie-Restaurant" was actually a tapas bar that we wound up visiting twice. We were easily the youngest patrons by about twenty years and, aside from the lovely older woman preparing the food, I was the only female in the place. The waiter was a thin, balding Spaniard with a handle-bar moustache who first addressed us in French, then English and spoke to other customers in Luxembourgish, and the cook in Spanish.

That seems to be the norm here. At any given time, you will hear Luxembourgish, French and German being spoken in a single conversation. All three are official languages of this tiny country. You may also hear some English, Italian and Spanish. There is a big Portuguese population here and about 60% of its banking industry is foreign. Almost every Luxembourger is at least bilingual, usually tri.

The Grand Duke and his Cuban Grand Duchess exemplify this diverse country perfectly.

1 comment:

  1. i found a "tip" of yours most interesting....and valuable. If one is traveling and needs info from a foreigner who speaks english, the best person to ask would be a teenager...being that most are bi-lingual or better. I am curious to know what questions foreigners might be asking you..what the comparisons might be between inquiries from the younger generation and the older folks..or the similarities....thanks:)