Day 18: The Old Luxembourg Time Suck Trick

Day 18: Monday, 4 May 2020 – Luxembourg City (49.8153° N, 6.1296° E) (3,824 Covid-19 cases & 96 deaths as of today)

To start us off right today, we like to give our participants a lot of optional scavenges to indulge their fantasies in…and some people will clearly do anything for points…as our feature photo shows…seems if we suggest it, they will do it…thanks Rainey.

Okay…One of the numerous Event Director’s perks in sending the world travel championship competitors aflot for four or five days roaming around Europe going from here to there, is that I get some free time. No high maintenance hand holding. No logistical issues to iron out. No hospitality events to attend. And nowhere I really have to be. And as both my family and friends know all too well, that if you give Bill a few days somewhere, he will create some novel adventure that will require him to: do a lot, see a lot, eat a lot, drink a lot, and live a lot. Indeed…

So, I have really enjoyed my fourteen uniquely different free four-to-five day last week self-adventures in Europe. Among a few side trips I vividly remember are: motorcycle riding with a family friend and loved one, Valentina, to secret Italian sites, sharing a couple days staying with old SoCal friends in Krems an der Donau, Austria on their old grandfathered in old winery along the Danube that is actually a world heritage site–it is the land you see in the river cruise ads!, and taking a few days to cruise to/from St Petersburg, Russia. All fun, but just getting to hang out in Venice, Paris and London or Munich, Krakow and Prague, is just fine with me. Frankly, it’s good to be the Event Director.

With friends at their Danube vineyard in 2015…
Biking Italy with my favorite biker in 2012, Valentina…

How about running into an old high school Canadian friend on the streets of Vienna!

Or a family friend from Santa Monica on the streets of Budapest in 2005!

There is no travel thrill here for me in seeing novel new destinations, but there is always a thrill for me in traveling carefree in a familiar environment that I feel completely unrestrained. It is a good feeling, and one of reasons I continue to travel four decades running. What did Kristofferson say…freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. Travel rapture? Nirvana? Naw, just hanging out in Euroland.

You know, I know a lot of travelers that never, ever revisit previous destinations. Having that obsession with novelty is sometimes overvalued…a never ending Bucket List traveling approach, conversely, the FOMO (fear of missing out) modus operandi of travel…I think might frankly be both ridiculous and wrongly glorified. Why? Because when you repeat a prior experience, it allows you to go deeper, see things differently, actually see more…because you are now experiencing hidden layers and making fresh insights…we’re not talking repetitive monotony here (hedonic adaptation); but going back to a place, say like Cuzco, that you really enjoyed, visited once again a few years later, makes for a great time. There is a sense of vaguely familiar, you have confidence, a comfort level that allows you to travel with your eyes wide open–remembering the good times and avoiding (or confront) any previous pitfalls–that allows you to dig a little deeper. Your experiences there are expanded, enhanced and more nuanced. You don’t have to buy a timeshare and have an annual Groundhog Day vacation, but revisiting places that moved you, are well worth your time. Except Egypt of course, I’m done!

Okay, a couple more of our favorite people bring you today’s memory. Kim and Maria of the Retired Traveling Chicks fame, have traveled with us on three occasions so far, 2013, 2014 and 2019…and they tied for 2nd place in 2014!

This particular memory from Kim took place in 2013:

“We have many great memories, but I am going to share one of my favorites. It was our first year doing the GSH. We really didn’t have a point strategy, instead we picked out scavenges that sounded fun. Sometimes we picked things with a high point value, not realizing how difficult these high points could be to obtain. We were starting the European leg, which was a bit overwhelming. We saw that if we went to Luxembourg AND got our passport stamped we could earn 300 points (the most points possible). We knew this was risky, as we would either be heroes or zeros. We quickly jumped on a train from Frankfurt destined for Luxembourg. We figured the train ride would allow us plenty of time to map out the remainder of the European course in order to get to our final European destination of Oslo, Norway. As we settled into our train ride, we immediately realized that we were in such a hurry to start our adventure that we had not done any of the mandatory scavenges in Frankfurt. So, we quickly jumped off the train at the following stop and headed back to Frankfurt. Bummer.

After completing our mandatory Frankfurt scavenges we were still determined on getting to Luxembourg. Back on the train, we again started thinking about how one goes about getting a passport stamped from a country that is part of the EU and where passports were no longer being stamped. The most important thing The Global Scavenger Hunt has taught us is how important it is to talk to people and how willing people are to help you out. As we got closer to Luxembourg, I asked the train conductor if he knew any way we could get our passport stamps. He told us to not get off the train at the first stop in Luxembourg but rather get off at the second stop. He then told us to go into the train station and go to the ticket desk and ask for Peter, and let Peter know the train conductor had sent us. Inside the train station we asked for Peter, told him about our conversation with the train conductor, told him our dilemma and asked if it was possible to get our passport stamped. With a big smile, Peter pulled out the official country of Luxembourg passport stamp and placed it firmly on my passport book–300 points earned! But to this day this is my favorite stamp in my many passports.”

The prized, 300-point passport stampTomorrow…we head north to Sweden, America’s democratic socialist boogieman, the country that does things differently…

Stay smart, safe and well. Till tomorrow…

Please send any memories you want us to post to ringmaster (at) globalscavengerhunt (dot) com