Luxembourg City Stories and Tips

Some Strange Things Afoot, and a Bit of a Communication Problem

Green Cow Photo, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

There were these cows all over the city. It was weird, because you’d be walking around and you’d turn a corner and suddenly you’d be face-to-face with the dreaded Green Cow! Or, there was the one that was divided in half by a wall and different on either side of it. Very strange. I am happy to report that (I have determined by exhaustive methods) that no real animals were harmed in the creation of these displays, or in the taking of the photos. Please do take a look at the photos below.

We never could find anything out about why there were painted plaster cows all over the Old Town, but I have my suspicions, based on an experience we had with a woman working in a booth selling snacks and tourist items in the Place de la Constitution. She was a bit of a cow, you see.

Now, I can’t speak a word of French, but my friend had studied it and could do okay. My problem is that I can’t pronounce the words, as I always want to give them a Spanish twist. So I let her do most of the talking, though English was often sufficient. So we approached the counter at this little booth while we were waiting for the Pétrusse Express. We could see that they sold ice cream bars, as they had a plastic picture mat with all the choices on the wall and then on the counter. My friend pointed to one of the ice creams and the girl mumbled something I did not understand, but the general impression I had was that they didn’t have those. With some more hand motioning and a little bit of French, my friend did manage to obtain an ice cream.

So now it was my turn to deal with the chipper counter girl. They had some packs of assorted Luxembourgish stamps on display, and I picked up one and set it on the counter. The main reason I was there was because I was desperate for a bottle of water, but they didn’t have anything nearby to point to. I tried asking in English, and then I even asked in Spanish just for good measure (I didn’t try my Gaelic—maybe next time). So I was standing there, looking at this girl, who was looking back at me and holding her head up with her elbows on the counter, giving me this look as if she might fall asleep at any moment and it was entirely my fault. So I asked my friend what the French for water was. So I repeated what she said, as best I could, "Oh."

Assuredly this was not the most aesthetically-pleasing sound ever produced, but I thought it just might accomplish the task at hand. Instead, it elicited a very strange reaction: the heaviest sigh ever exhaled on the entire planet, I’m fairly confident. Then, the girl languidly reached for a calculator and punched in some numbers and then turned it around for me to see. I tried saying no, and pointing to the massive pile of water bottles in the corner of the booth, just out of her reach, but she didn’t comprehend. I asked for the water again, and still she stared. Finally my friend came back to the counter and asked for the water, and we both energetically pointed at the water, and finally finally finally the girl turned around to see what we were pointing out. Success!

If you go to the Place de la Constitution in Luxembourg City and try to buy a water or anything else from this booth, you too will know if you have met, the Most Unhappy Counter Clerk Ever to Have Lived on Earth. Cow.

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