Apr 27, 2012

Vianden

The heading would be like the Dickens' novel "Great Expectations".... 

I have been told, insisted once again and again... that Vianden was fabulous. I went there a couple of Saturdays ago.... and the trip is nice, the landscape is nice, the castle outside is nice... and the view up from the hill (after taking the charilift), is AWESOME :)

Though I prefer Echternach... if you can make it, visit Vianden. :O)

























Apr 26, 2012

Translator in Luxembourg... and rude people

Hi guys again!!!

Some time ago, I met a translator in Luxembourg.

Since in Luxembourg everybody speaks many languages, and use them on a daily basis, and translate things.. the role of the translator is really required for official places such as the European institutions or the Luxembourgish administration.. and also in these cases, a translator is "nobody".

I met one and he was a bit bitter, defending his role..... he was the only one talking and all people around just listening and smiling, very understanding.... and "agreeing" with everything to not let him feel badly.

I fully agree if we talk about working in the office.. but outside the non-resident or the non-luxembourgish tend to not speak as many languages as residents do.

Indeed I miss the role of a translator on a daily basis since I don't speak French...

One day, one of my rude neighbours, greeted me "Salut, ça va???" and after my "ça va merci" I asked him whether he could ask the workers about 1 issue we were having in the sidewalk, next to our house and his answer was...

"NOOOO, maybe you should ask by yourself.. Probably they don't speak French, and you may understand each other as they are Portugese or somewhere Southern European... "

PARDON??? The only missing thing in that sentence is "fucking immigrant!!!" and "Go home to your own country".

I ask to myself.. but this barbarian.. what does he think?, who does he think he is??, does he even allow himself to believe he can be better than me??, is this ignorant barbarian thinking than the Spanish language is a "secondary" one?, doesn't he know Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca, el Marqués de Santillana, Quevedo, Góngora, Garcilaso de la Vega, Iriarte, Samaniego, Fray Luis de León, Bécquer, Pio Baroja, Jacinto Benavente, Pérez Galdós, Moratín, Jovellanos, Larra, Ortega y Gasset, Zorrilla, Tirso de Molina, Jorge Manrique, Valle-Inclán "and many more"???

I wonder...( and I say it without the aim of contemp)... How many writers in the world Literature has given the Luxembourgish language??? How can he associate one of the most beautiful languages on Earth to underdeveloped countries, uneducated people, and so on??? How isn't this person able to separate the idea of immigrant to other ideas??

When I speak French.. If I have the occasion.. I will remark that these "underdeveloped" countries / people have a cultural background, a flavour, that brings us to a position of privilege that he hasn't....

Anyway.. that's all for the time being....

XXX

Hospitals and pharmacies in Luxembourg

As I promised, Hospitals and pharmacies in Luxi....

The idea is quite simple. I got sick. One of those horrible throat-aches with their corresponding infection, fever of 40 degrees... and feeling like bloody hell.

Of course I went to the office, highly motivated, trying to convince myself "you're gonna be fine", "Maybe you are too aprehensive", "The paracetamol will have any effect soon".. and of course, I had to leave the office after 2 hours and went to the emergency service of the hospital. Very typical!!!: we all do the same, don't we?


So I sent the pertinent communications to my boss, who was on holidays, to his secretary, who wasn't.... and a couple of persons that had to know whether I was going to be absent for a couple of days.


Fortunately it was just Thursday: I could rest for the whole weekend.

I took the car, I didn't crash... and drove to the hospital.

1. I had to park... how could I let you know how far it was from the hospital...???? 

Let me think...

Well, since Madrid is not the most well known city in the world I can't use it for my example. Let's use New York city / Manhattan.

I parked in front of Tiffany's on the 5th avenue (so, at the main door of Abercrombie & Fitch ;O) ) and the hospital was in Battery Park or Wall street.... THAT FAR!!!

So though I had the right to park there for 2 hours.. I paid a ticket for 3: my sixth sense was telling me that I would need it....

2. It's very funny walk with a 40 degrees fever carrying the laptop from Tiffany's to Wall Street.... I got into the hospital... but I didn't get into the ER service inmediately... I went to the admission: it was not there but in another wing of the hospital... 

3. I arrive at my "final destination" (It was my end, for sure)... Woody Allen, in Manhattan Murder Mistery, says when Diane Keaton sees the, so believed, murdered neighbour: "a single ticket to heaven".

4. When it was my turn, the civil servant asked me "what do you want?, why have you come here?".... (obviously at my very end.. I probably just wanted to tell anybody my last will.. :O) ) but making a strong effort, and being very obedient to get what I wanted: A DOCTOR!, I answered very politely... I don't feel well, throat-ache, fever....

Of course I had to "play my role" from the very beginning: greeting them in Luxembourgish with a charming "Moien", asking him in French "Parlez-vous anglais??" and then telling him all my medical story which I had already prepared.. 
"tonsils.. 
deseases A, B & C when I was a kid... 
no I don't remember: I was a kid...
no alergies...
and so on".

Then he asked me for my documentation which I provided to him and, OH SURPRISE: he exclaims "THIS IS NOT VALID" (when it was 100% correct). He meant he wanted to see a picture of myself... to check whether I was using my own documents or not.. but he didn't express it in the right way.........

5. After filling all the papers, then I had to queue for the nurse.... I don't see now the reason because I was already embalmed!!!! In any case, there was just 1 person in the queue for the nurse... she seemed to be Halle Berry but very sick.... and not that pretty.

When my turn came (since it was 1 hour later, I believe my body was already corrupted... ), the nurse was asking me the same questions... I've been asked in the admission desk! but the news is that though I told her I didn't speak French at all, she asked me to say the information in French... FOR GOD SAKE!!!! A ZOMBIE SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGES!!!.. fortunately, "mon nom et mon prènom" don't need to be translated.

So after all I just needed to wait for another nurse to call me.

............... time passed........................... a lot of herb was growing on my tomb......

I understand that wounded people, accidents, internal bleedings pass before I do. I am quite understanding... I also understand that the nurse prioritise depending on how severe the condition of the patient is... BUT WHEN THE MOST HEALTHY PEOPLE THAT HAVE ALSO ARRIVED AFTER ONESELF ARE ASKED TO PASS FIRST, THAT DUDE, THAT MAKES ME GET OUT OF MY TOMB AND COMPLAIN!!!!
While seeing it I was already barking to myself.. in my elementary German, wondering how the conversation would be.

In the very last moment, when I was about to complain, after 3 hours in the hospital.. just waiting... the doctor called me.

6. I don't think that my expenditure in the Luxembourgish social security has been that much: he spent 3 minutes with me. HE DIDN'T EVEN ASK ME ABOUT MY TONSILS, REMOVED WHEN I WAS A CHILD!!! HOW LAMENTABLE!!!


7. But hey guys, the story doesn't finish here. I was running (or was it my fever???), towards the pharmacy because my only thought was "go to bed or you'll be dead in secs", and my ticket for the car was over, of course...

I got into the pharmacy, across the street and ask for all the drugs.. I told the pharmacist that I didn't speak French (yet, there are few people in Luxembourg that don't know that I don't speak French)... and as if she was a wall... she kept talking me in French and explaining me how to take the pills in French.

I paid, I got home and when I opened the boxes.. the prospectus was in Luxembourgish, Dutch and Russian. Good. I am really for universal prospectus in English and local language, or Latin and local language... or we can invent (to not discrimiate anybody) another language, like in The Lord of the Rings.. and use it, teach it at school... because in my case.... the only dose which was clear was the one "for children from 0 to six months"

COME ON!!!!!

Maybe I am already ready to come back to Spain: I've lived everything and completed the circle.. :)

Writing from Heaven... greetings for everybody!!!

Easter!!

Dear all,

It's been ages since my last time over here... but I've been busy these days. Tons of work stress me out and when I arrive home I've to carry out the normal tasks of a household.........

I wanted to mention 2 things that are different in Luxembourg.

Number 1: :) --> (I love "listing" things!!!)
Good Friday. After work, everybody runs home to paint with the family easter eggs... and with them, they decorate their houses, gardens... whatever. Very beautiful, by the way....


I still prefer the chocolate ones :O)

Number 2:
Easter Monday. On Easter Monday small whistling birds made of baked clay (Péckvillercher in Luxembourgish) are sold at the « Marché-aux-poissons », just behind the Palace of the Grand Dukes. There are as well other small things on sale and traditional German sausages.. DELICIOUS.. so if you are in Luxembourg one day during Easter Monday... I highly recommend to have an apperitive of Käsewurst, zum Beispiel... while visiting the market.

This year, though it was raining like hell, it was very crowded.





Cheers my friends!!

Apr 15, 2012

I write like Cory Doctorow!!!

Dear all, 

Internet is quite funny. I was about to publish a couple of pending posts, when suddenly I've come across a website that compares your writing style against official / recognised writers.

I couldn't publish anything before, because I'd been sick but now that I feel better, you will be able to read, asap, about "hospitals in Luxembourg" (very promising), "Easter", and probably Vianden... (still don't know whether it's worthy enoug).

Well, the ISSUE is :) - I love how certain words sound: issue, contagious...- that I was writing a recommendation letter for an ex-colleague, and then while revising it I started to look for examples on the internet.

Indeed it's not that easy. US vs UK vs Europe...  Business vs MBA vs PhD vs University...  Of course the "target" is important and I like being precise and taking care of the content as well as the form. So, I started looking for some reliable examples and, when I was totally lost reading a forum in which the discussion was about how to state the date: 15th April 2012 vs 15 April 2012... (in fact there was no conclussion about this topic), I found that website.

Inmediately I randomly copied / pasted a couple of posts from the blog.. and it has happened to be like Cory Doctorow in both texts...!

Amazing. I am not educated at all, and I didn't know anything about this author before. Next weekend I'll try to look for a book of him or press article in Ernster Library.

I hope he doesn't make the mistakes I make and writes better than I do!!!!: I never considered myself like "a writer"... but you know.. what can you find on internet apart from nonsenses???

PORN???

Cheers!!!

P.S. I take this joke from the music hall "Avenue Q"

Apr 2, 2012

Scary rules!

Dear all, 

for the very first time I wanted to share you something very personal to me.. Indeed it was a video that maybe nobody cares... but I've read the terms & conditions of google for uploading the video and now:
- I am scared
- I don't understand most of them
- I am aware of the fact that Google must protect itself as a brand, as a search engine and as a service provider, avoiding at least any operational risk, legal risk and reputational risk. (Perfectly understandable, because they've to take care of the contents they hold and stuff like that.. but why can't it be clearer?????)...

If I re-read it again, and understand it completely... I'll publish it with its corresponding text....

sorry guys!

The smuggler!

I've done a round trip in Brussels during the weekend... Brussels as beautiful as usual, and even more beautiful the charming landscape that you can see from the train. Stations from the XIX Century, forest, clairstreams, rivers,....


The story begins just before leaving. As usual, I was rushing: I had to get out of the office, drive home, change my clothes, pick up the suitcase, leave the laptop and run to the station to catch the train at 7:20 in order to arrive at a "decent" hour in Brussels...

As usual, I open the mailbox and I have a couple of oranges from the empress... :)

The train was delayed, meaning that not only the "underdeveloped" spaniards are late..... or the italians... The few times I had to take the train in Switzerland it was delayed and here, in Luxembourg, THE GRAND DUCHY OF LUXEMBOURG, the first time I had to take the train it was delayed...

Maybe "North Europeans" (starting as "North of Europe": France) should review the concept, the cliché they have about Spanish: 
- 2 hours for lunch break (who??, please gimme 1 example, just 1!!!!).
- Bullfights
- "Ole" (and they don't even know what it means)
- Sun and heat
- Flamenco
- Paella
- Always late...

Bloody hell !!!!! I am tired of hearing that.... it's like "Japan - Geisha", "British - Drunk that never takes a shower or doesn't eat properly", "American - Uneducated who cannot situate Spain on the map", "Italian - Mafia", "French - arrogant" and so on.

I am tired of all clichés. If I don't beleve any of them because I have a minimum of respect, why do the people keep making the same mistakes, at least in my presence???.

I don't list all the things that I really believe about the others based on facts because I don't want to infer from those facts (that actually have happened to me) that all the population labeled under the same nationality are """"""........

Anyway,  after my pertinent complaint (I am a complainer! :O) ), I can continue.

Since I got many oranges but I didn't have (yet) to help my lovely old neighbour in opening her next dose of vitamins I thought on buying a small present for her.. and I decided to buy some small Easter Eggs made of Belgian chocolate.


By the way, two curious things about Belgium that I've learnt this weekend: 

1. The Tour of Flanders (my "Flandes") is very popular, takes 1 day and took place last Sunday (1st of April).


2. The architecture of the end of the Middle Age and Renaissance, (such as the building in the Vermeer's painting I keep as a screen backgroung in the blog) is called by Belgian, "Spanish style".



Comming back to the issue...


When I arrived home, I opened her mailbox to put them in... and surprisingly, there were Goji berries, newspapers, and many many things....  so I decided to wait 1 day because there was no space.

Today.. I went downstairs and I got a postcard from her in my mailbox "thank you for the berries" BUT THIS TIME IT WASN'T ME!!!!, meaninig that either somebody made a mistake and left her the "merchandise" :O), or somebody is using our mailboxes to pass stuff :O)

Of course I'm kidding... 

Let's see how it finishes, because for the time being, I just left her another postcard, with the Belgian chocolates telling her that I was not the one who gave her the Goji berries... SHE MUST HAVE ANOTHER SECRET ADMIRER!!!!!!

Although she is old... I am jealous!!!!!

:O)

cheers!!!!!

Spring!!!

YES!!!

In Luxembourg the sun shines as well, and spring comes at a certain point.

To celebrate the beginning of the season, in Luxembourg some wooden structures are burnt at midnight and, suddenly, the conversations are not anymore about the weather or about when the A7 will be finished but about "this evening I've to urgently wash my convertible car to drive it without the capote".

In my case, that I have a crappy clio (of course, non convertible)... I was suddenly panic-stricken!!!!

MY WINTERTIRES WERE GOING TO MELT!!!!!!!

It's very terrifying when from one day to another all the cars seem to have new wheels and all the whispers you hear are about "no, apparently they melt at 7ºC"... For God's sake!!! I am SPANISH: I've never changed the tires.... I don't know the "melting temperature" and stuff like that.

I called the garage to see whether they had tires in their inventory and a Saturday morning at 8:00 I went to change them. I was saved!!!!

Now I am wondering when it's raining again.. because my car needs a wash. Here in Luxembourg people also writes on your glass "dirty pig, wash your car!!!". :O)

Anyway, I was that excited with the spring, that I even had my first telephone conversation in French. I couldn't speak any word... (because I still don't speak it) but we understood each other.

-Do you speak English?
-No
-Spanish?
-No
-Italian?
-No
-German?
-No: only French...

and we were condemned to understand each other after a huge effort on my side :O)

It was something about the work in progress of my sidewalk... but nothing relevant in this moment.

During the weekend, I woke up very early, proud of myself, with the energy that only the sun can provide one with, and after cleaning, and wearing summer clothes, I went to have breakfast at a pâtisserie, at Route d'Itzig.... 

A just baked croissant, a fantastic coffee, reading the newspaper with my sunglasses :)

Shopping, sunbathing, walking, ... having a gin-tonic at a friend's terrace, having friends for coffee after lunch, doing my stuff in my terrace...

The only thing that I disliked was the following:

After the gintonincs, I went with a couple of friends to a nice restaurant close to Senningerberg town: the small village of Hostert. This place preserves the old train station which connected the city to Luxembourg. Lovely!!





Just in front of the old station, there is a restaurant, Owstellgleis, in which Luxembourgish food is served. Owstellgleis, is the Luxembourgish word for the railway used to park the trains.

I liked the food, the place... everything but the bill. In the bill they were charging us 1 € each "for charity purposes".... Don't misunderstand my words... I am not against charity but against imposed charity and furthermore, without any extra information about it....

Anyway... very positive balance!!!!!

Mondorf - les - Bains

Dear all

After some requests... I've changed the blog settings to allow you to leave your comments if you want...

Today, though I went to the office, I am sick and now I am writing this few lines in bed....

I know that some time has passed but I've been enjoying every single second the past three (or four) weekends....

Some weeks ago I went to Mondorf - les - Bains. (This blog looks more and more a "traveller guide" :O) ).

Mondorf is a small town in the border, close to France. Indeed all in the Grand Duchy is "close to the border", but in this case you actually can cross the street and be in France: BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR DATA ROAMING!!!! ;O)

This town is famous for various things.

a) As its name clearly indicates "Les Bains".

It has the most well known thermal spa in Luxembourg. Many people go there to receive heath care.

The ancient building is much more beautiful than the new one. Together, they form a huge thermal complex.

b) It's the residence of one of the Schleck brothers.... (for more details search on google Tour de France).

c) John Grün.

John Grün, known as Herkul Grün, was believed to be the strongest man in the world in the XIX Century.

Mondorf is very proud of him. 

He was considered without any doubt the strongest man in the world when he emigrated to the United States. There, a professional athlete found out that John could move very easily beer barrels.. and convinced him of becoming a member of "The Marx Brothers": a strongman partnership.

He became very popular and was considered the strongest until his very end in Ettelbruck.

d) The Casino...

e) I would say the architecture of some buildings: Jugendstil or, in French, Art Nouveau.

Please find below a couple of pictures :)