Last Sunday dawn rose fast on the City of Luxembourg. Only two days before I had arrived with the sun's first light on the flight from London and jet lag prevented my sleeping till noon. It was 1AM back in New York.
Madame Ambassador was in her bedroom. No other human was in the embassy.
Only her cat in the guest room.
I pressed my hand to the window.
The lower pane was icy and I dressed accordingly for the cooler weather of Mittel Europa.
I exited from the embassy. The morning was quiet even for Luxembourg.
The ancient city was sleeping outside the embassy, which was perched on a cliff overlooking the chasm of the old fortress. Not a single car was on the viaduct and pedestrians were absent from the sidewalks of Boulevard de FDR. The city's residents were sleeping in warm beds, I had Luxembourg to myself and the crows swirling around the spike spires of Notre Dame Cathedral.
I wandered down the narrow streets of the old city, hoping to find an open cafe.
The only sound of humans was my breathing and I thought to myself, "How could you have spent six months here?"
Madame Ambassador and I had a good time during my sojourn as resident writer.
Parties at the Aston-Martin dealership.
A soiree to commemorate the Battle of the Bulge.
And a great dance night with the RAF.
Come to think about it and that half-year in 2011-2012 were a good time and I headed over to the ramparts. The sun was rising over the EEU buildings in Kitchenburg, but offered little warmth. Thankfully I was wearing my tweeds and became my descent to the casement, fortified against siege until 1862. A few tourists were shooting the valley of the Alzette River. I stepped on a broken wine bottle. The noise startled the two of them. They were Japanese.
Te famed military architect Vauban had expanded the fortifications in the 1600s and the city withstood a siege by the French for seven months earning it the name 'the Gibraltar of the North'.
Not one solider guarded the city this morning. They too were in bed.
People in Luxembourg like their sleep.
My heavy boots crunched on the gravel path along the old mill stream. I imagined myself an Irish exile serving the Prussians. That ghost was only in my head, but closing my eyes the Alzette's babbling vanquished the years. Life was this moment now connected to back then my my daydreams.
Opening my eyes I saw that the Bock casemates glowed in the dawn as they might have to the Roman legions to have come upon this craggy plateau. It was a good site for a fight.
The plaza of St. Jean de Grund was another empty space.
Except for an exquisite Daimler.
Luxembourg is a rich city.
One of the richest in Europe and rich people get to sleep in late on Sundays.
I yawned and said to myself, "Time to join my pillow."
Madame Ambassador and I would have breakfast later.
She had promised me a proper English Breakfast, although she would be up for another hour.
I could wait that long.
The bells of Notre-Dame were ringing out the hour of Eight.
After all I was still the resident writer in Luxembourg and dawn was still five hours away from New York.