Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday 29 October - Durbuy

To the Ardennes, at last. A beautiful, crisp, autumnal morning, giving way to a bright and mild afternoon, provided the backdrop to my first trip down south. Further south than I've ever been in Belgium.

Very hard to believe you're still in Wallonia. Such a contrast to the drab industrialism found in its cities. Went along with friends, and we really couldn't have picked a better day. The colours of autumn were in full bloom with browns, and oranges, and reds protruding from every vantage point. It really was a magical sight.

The village itself is attractive, without being prissy, and was relatively free of the usual hordes of tourists villages in the Ardennes are famed for. Although there was a lot of Dutch being spoken. Not the Flems this time, but Dutch as spoken by the Dutch. Didn't hear much French anywhere we went.

Having grown rather tired of Belgian cuisine, we settled on a picnic for lunch, and sat on a grassy bank alongside the main car park, but in front of the river. Seemed like the perfect spot for it, and I was surprised that others hadn't thought of the idea. We even had our picnic rug. "You can take the English out of England..."

Walking around the place reminded me a little of Luxembourg. Funny that, considering Durbuy is in the Belgian province of Luxembourg. Or maybe an archetypal English village, possibly Boscastle, in Cornwall, where I went a couple of years back.

Only here the valleys were a lot smaller, and without the dramatic drops down below. The forest in the distance, the small bridges, and the river running through it, all helped give it a special feel.

I've heard that this place looks spectacular around Christmas time, with all the lights on and decorations up. Even more so when the snow arrives. I can imagine.

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