September 15, 2003


Europe is littered with a score of small countries, leftover from history. They range from the serious (Luxembourg) to the dreadful (Liechtenstein), from camp (Monaco) to the Bitch from Hell (Vatican City) and so we decided on this really cute one to visit.
Luxembourg used to be a superpower. Honest. It decided and delivered Emperors to the Holy Roman Empire (which was really neither holy or Roman, but that's another story), and now it rules the European Union, with various EU bureaucracies based inside its tiny borders. It has about 350,000 people and its capital has 100,000. So you may think it might be a challenge to find any gay life there, especially if you don't like your sex Eurocratic. So we tried. There is a gay association website called - very witty this, you must admit - Rosa Luxemburg (and she was neither a lesbian or a Luxembourger in real life). The site gave us a small list of bars and restaurants, and a gay swim meet on Tuesday nights near the French border. Plenty to choose from, you may imagine.
Since we were famished after a whole day on the TGV from France, we headed for the listed restaurant but it had been closed since June. Not a good sign. A neighbour (who spotted us immediately as fellow travellers) suggested some other venue in the Old Town, so not to mistrust the knowledge of a local, we tried out the ‘Colour's Bar’. Nice enough, possibly gay-friendly and definitely trendy. There were a couple of glamorous women sitting on the terrace, and you could have sworn they were drag queens, but their labels were real.
Luxembourg has an army of 500 soldiers and I would suspect even one enterprising prostitute could have serviced them all. (Wouldn't sexually servicing a whole nation's army make the Guinness book of records?) If she has not, I'm volunteering! One of the soldiers was guarding the Grand Ducal Palace. Now why can't we have that in New Zealand? Forget about becoming a republic, let's have a Grand Duchy instead. So much queerer, so much more attractive. And the tourists loved him too.
Since this is the richest country on earth (#1 in the OECD income rankings) you expect the bums and homeless people to wear branded sports shoes, and yes, they do. Even the local punks and drunks didn't look grubby at all.

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