Tournament Time, Leuven, and the Terrifying Drive Home
Saturday dawned wet and windy, though perfect for exploring the 1.000 year old Bock Casemates. Long story short: in 963 a mighty Count built a fortified castle atop Bock promontory, and thus Luxembourg was born. By the by, the Burgundians, the Spaniards, the French, the Austrians and the Germans added their signatures to create the, “Gibraltar of the North” with 3 fortified rings of 24 forts and a 23km tunnel city-like network. Because much of the casemates could not be demolished without destroying parts of the city once Europe was “settled,” they remain, with several kilometers open for independent touring. In a word, amazing!
Tony and I, as proud parents of an extremely talented violinist daughter, are beyond thrilled to support her and her accomplished peers by attending the annual international school honor orchestra concert. This isn’t a “participation trophy” style event; more than 160 violinists alone from across European, Asian, and South American high schools auditioned last autumn for 42 chairs; and the performance reflects the caliber of those selected.
So it was to The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg we flew this past Friday, to tour the medieval capital city and to attend the performance, this year hosted by the IS Luxembourg and performed in their Conservatoire.
It was a tremendous first-world privilege to be able to catch a flight to Amsterdam on Saturday for a few hours of sightseeing before attending the Association of Music in International Schools European Honors Orchestra performance, this year being hosted by the American School of The Hague.
Tony and I will be in The Netherlands on Saturday, the principal reason for our short getaway being to attend the European Middle School Honors Orchestra and of course, to hear our favorite violinist perform. We as a family spent a week in The Netherlands in Spring 2011, but, leave it to us, there was one quintessential Dutch icon we somehow did not see.
Brussels, like so many European cities, is best experienced in person rather than through photographs. The Guild Houses that line Grand Place are stunning, yet I most appreciated them in the waning hours of my final afternoon, while finally sitting down for my one and only non-on-the-go meal at a warm and sunny outdoor table.