When I was still relatively new to Malta, I wrote about how the Danish word ‘hygge’ captures what I sorely lack in Maltese houses and offices. Now I’m going to use the Swedish word ‘lagom’ to explain, in my understanding, why so many people get frustrated about living in Malta but continue living there.
Being a member in a couple of Facebook forums for immigrants, I frequently see some people estimating, half jokingly, how long it takes until some Maltese member will virtually shout “Go back to your country” after an immigrant complains about this or that. A few hours. A day! Maltese people join immigrant groups for various reasons – to sell stuff, to advertise, – or to offer tips and helpful advice. Once in a while some of them snap in the face of criticism of their country. Those who complained get an additional point – “you see, they’re not welcoming people after all.”
My theory about the patterns of complaining among Malta’s immigrants on social networks has to do with cognitive overload. It is rather difficult to form habits and automatisms, because you have to be on the lookout as you move around, and constantly process the environment. Various negative stimuli add to the overload (noise, pollution, eyesore buildings, stressful road conditions, dust, garbage and pervasive humidity assault all senses). But I’ll elaborate this some time later. This time I’ll try to answer the question why people stay in Malta when they see so many negative aspects of both its development and its cultural habits. Continue reading
Sharing nice memories from Easter with friends in various countries.
2008 – Budapest: no photos (and not many memories unfortunately)
2009 – Tokyo. A pleasant picnic in Ichigaya, I believe. I was telling my Japanese friends that I couldn’t stand mayonnaise until I tasted the Japanese one.
Tokyo Easter – click on the images to enlarge them
People go to Luxembourg to earn money or to buy cheap fuel – the rainy country is not a popular tourist destination. But people who already live there tend to travel quite a bit – travel inside the country, which has the highest GDP per capita in the EU, is obscenely cheap (EUR 1.3 to go by train or bus anywhere in the country), and since Luxembourg wasn’t exposed to wars that much, it has many well-preserved small towns. I have already written about my trips to Echternach and down the Mullerthal trail, and to Esch-sur-Alzette. When I visited a tourist shop in Luxembourg City with my friend, we took note of which towns were marked on magnets with Luxembourg map, and one of them was Vianden. With the help of Wikipedia, we found that the town is famous because Victor Hugo once lived there, and because it has a well-preserved castle. That sounded interesting enough. Continue reading
Luxembourg is not frequently visited by tourists, and I have an impression that the country doesn’t promote itself as a tourist destination. Why should it? The world already comes there to pick up the paycheck. Germans go there to fill the tanks of their cars (lower taxes). Streets are already overcrowded with people who commute to the tiny country from its larger and cheaper neighbors. And yet, Luxembourg’s tourist destinations shouldn’t be missed. Most of them are outside Luxembourg City (I have already written about Esch-sur-Alzette).
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Top: Kirchberg quarter and Echternach, bottom: the Little Switzerland and Grevenmacher butterfly garden.
The most impressive sites in Luxembourg, and one of the most impressive in Europe, is the Mullerthal Trail, which crosses the so-called Little Switzerland – a rocky area at the border with Germany. We did the Echternach-Berdorf part of the trail. This trail is very easy and even children could possibly do it. There is a clear path in most areas. The only difficulty might be finding the trail where it begins. [Click on the images to enlarge them] Continue reading
It seems I will start describing my recent travels in Europe from the end. After I saw many towns and villages in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and a lot of the city itself, I went to visit Esch-sur-Alzette, the second largest town in Luxembourg. With a population of under 30,000, it could be expected to be just like anything else in the Grand Duchy – slow-paced and provincial. Yet I was surprised with what I saw. Even Wikipedia did not find much to say about it. And yet, I was surprised.