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Finding Harley-Davidson police uniforms with a touch of 80’s awesomeness in Luxembourg

The motto of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the stubborn ‘Mir Wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn.’ We want to remain as we are.

They have certainly achieved this. Surrounded by the languages powerhouse countries of Germany and France, they maintain their Luxembourgish language even though there are only about 400,000 speakers worldwide. Stepping into Luxembourg city on a daytrip from Brussels was like stepping into another time. Exploring the cobblestone pedestrian streets, the massive ravine park and viewing the fairytale buildings made for an exciting day in this laid-back city.
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All you need is love… or wine, cheese and a good picnic spot

The Beatles said all you need is love. Well, they should take a lesson from the French. Yes, love is one option but good wine, decadent cheese and prime picnic spots are another way to go. France’s couples and singles really know how to live the good life. Whether they’re eating alone or in a rush (very rarely on-the-go), meals aren’t wasted on crappy food and when they drink something, they enjoy the hell out of it. Many times in France, my palate was blown away in ways I had never experienced in picnic locations straight from a postcard.
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La joie de vivre – the joy of living

France was certain to be a big change from Spain. I decided I would celebrate the French joie de vivre (joy of living) was by treating myself to a hostel in the center of Carcassonne, a hilltop fortified town in the south of France. While most tourists stay in the ‘ville basse’, the lower, modern town, I was staying in the Cité de Carcassonne, the actual historic fortified part of Carcassonne and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s strange, but while tourists come to Carcassonne to see the Cité, they don’t take the opportunity to actually sleep there. It would be like visiting San Francisco, but sleeping in Oakland. You are there to visit San Francisco, but for some reason you forgo the option of actually sleeping there. The hostel was beautiful, with a peaceful backyard (not what you expect in a small touristic town), plenty of space to relax and easy access to everything you’d want to see in Carcassonne.
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Catalan luck and Gaudí love

Irish and Northern Irish accents were hard to understand. Even British accents in London were difficult at times. But Spanish is a whole different language (obvious, I know).

I flew into Barcelona airport from London on a whim and even though I didn’t have much time to brush up on my foreign language skills, my high school Spanish slowly came back to me and a fast-talking and helpful Catalan woman helped jolt it back into gear right away.
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The coolness of a giant, the warmth of the Northern Irish and the relief of a hot toddy

Northern Ireland is a beautiful place.  I think it incites fear in people who have never been there because of its recently violent history, but it is wonderful.  As evocative as the Republic of Ireland, but part of the United Kingdom, it’s a place I couldn’t leave as quickly as I thought I would.
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