North of France Blog
Four men, united by their Veto, sometimes travel the European continent in search for enlightenment. Mere weeks before going to Luxembourg et al, they enjoyed France so much, having visited the cote d'Azur in the south, they decided to do the north as well. So, in a four day trip in May 1999, this time staying closer to home, the Masters visited Luxembourg, Metz, Nancy, Reims, Lille and Diksmuide.
Off to see the wizard
So there we were. Waiting in Brussels, poised to go. Only minutes away from a four day alcohol binge. This time looking at a mere 1500km drive, covering six cities in the north of France and north of France.
Featuring only one European capital this time Luxembourg, the start of our journey was an unavoidable stop on our way to France. Definitely the most spectacularly situated capital, Luxembourg is a friendly city with friendly people.
Stopping in Metz on our way to Nancy, both cities are proof that the more to the south you go in Europe, the more people like to enjoy life. As specially Nancy, with its large groups of youngsters 'hanging out' is a nice place to while away the hours.
Still, we were also looking for the 'classical' North of France. The industrialist north has never been known for its friendliness. The cities of Reims and Lille prove that very point. Both ugly, industrialist cities, at least Lille offers very interesting night life.
And then there is Diksmuide. This Belgian city was completely wasted during the first world war. Now, surrounded by war memorials, it reminds the visitor of the aggressive European past.
So, where to start? Well, in Luxembourg of course.
The sleeping capital
The size of an insignificant provincial city, the streets bursting with bigger than life banks and spectacularly located, Luxembourg is one of the more stranger European capitals, providing refuge for a large portion of Belgians and Dutch, trying to evade taxes.
In the gorge between the old city and the new town, we found Luxembourg's youth hostel. Crowded with Canadians, we had a hard time getting through to the reception but we where able to secure a room.
Site seeing is no more than a quick trip around the old town and taking a look at the Casemates, a large underground defense system, where we were able to spent several hours, because of signs not totally agreeing with each other. After that, you can while away the hours in one of the bars in the city center and enjoy the nice and quietness of this European capital.
The start of a good holiday obviously calls for celebration. The four of us and Jack where going for it, until Joost gave out. Refusing his very nice Mexican meal, he opted for praying to the porcelain god during dinner.
The city center and old city, not more than several hundreds of meters across is lively and very friendly by day, the gorge, between the old city and the region around the train station providing for lively scenes by night.
After dinner, while enjoying some nice Bofferding beer in one of the pubs, we enjoyed lap-dances and a real spontaneous striptease by one of the locals. Okay, she was trying to impress her boyfriend, but we had the benefit. Too drunk, he ignored her, and she chose the good Harm-Jan instead. That is, until her boyfriend woke up and started to chase us, pissed and drunk, around the pub. Not being able to catch up with our athletic powers, after some twenty minutes, the nice lady started to go after us as well. She, realizing, that now, her boy was going to be unable to perform during the night.
We walked back to the hostel, being welcomed by the same hordes of Canadians we encountered earlier in the day. This time however, they dwindled down to a couple rapidly and, intoxicated by Jack and too much Bofferding and tired from the physical excersice in the pub earlier on, we where almost witness of a Canadian rape. On our last legs, as real Mounties, I guess, we were able to save the day, slam-dunk the bad guy unconscious and free the babe. She, however, had one of the ugliest faces I have ever seen. Next stop: Metz.