Monday, October 5, 2009

The Stuff of Nightmares

Day two in Luxembourg has had two things working against it: my cold and the rain, which was severe this afternoon. Aside from those two negative aspects, the day has been lovely. I went on a brisk walk in the park this morning before browsing through the shops on the Grand Rue. There is a fine selection of chocolate shops here, although I have yet to sample any. I did however buy a coat. It's weird, I know, but it is chilly here and the coat is nice; it is black and sort of marching-band-esque. It proved to be a wise purchase in light of the rain and cool temperatures.
Luxembourg busker
I then went to the Casino. No, not the gambling kind, some of you will be disappointed to learn (and you know who you are), it is a contemporary art museum called "Casino" (it was a gaming establishment in the 1800s). They had an exhibit called SK-Interfaces and it was great, although I may very well have nightmares. It was probably the creepiest exhibit I have ever seen - and let's not forget, I have seen mummies in Egypt, pickled babies in Russia and, yesterday, a jar of preserved fingers. The exhibit was this weird synthesis of science and art that culminated in art such as someone growing tiny leather coats using animal stem cells; some flowers that had been cross-bred with the artists own DNA; a fur coat made of road kill and an accompanying video of the skinning process; a video of an artist who had an ear grafted onto his arm; a display of artful hymens made of human and animal cells; รค collection of "perfume" bottles filled with liquid derived from human sweat and supposedly smelling of actual human fear; and a photography exhibit of a nude woman engaged in rather disturbing acts with a pig carcass. Yep. Not everything was creepy. There was a neat painting that you were encouraged to touch and when you did, the color would disappear (temporarily) from the places you had come into contact with. But by and large it was pretty disturbing (which means I loved it).
The rest of the after noon consisted of me wandering and, when the rain got too bad, hopping from cafe to cafe, sipping on wine and coffee and soup and smoking. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to smoke inside and to SEE people smoking inside. One cafe I walked past was filled with table after table of women with glasses of wine and coffee, smoking contemplatively and reading or writing in books. It just seems so civilized.
I had about a 3 hour nap today. I was wet and tired and I am, after, all, sick. This allowed me to go out this evening for a tea and a stroll. The streets are so welcoming here after dark. Everything feels so pleasant and secure.  I have to say that there are a surprising array of inviting cafes and taverns here; they aren't too loud or too quiet and the decor seems to always be just right.
Tomorrow I plan to venture outside of the city to explore one of the many villages in the country.
Gutt Nuecht.

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