Sunday, April 26, 2015

Euro Spring 2015 - Part 31 - Finding The Real Ardennes

Where Our Heroes 
  • Sneak out from under the control of the Masters
  • Discover that there is a 'forest' in the Ardennes Forest
  • Find that maybe a touristy area is not so bad after all
  • Contemplate that the word "Trippel" actually means something significant 
  • Discovers 'Tom's' love of Liege
  • Go one more gastronomic road 

You know how the whole elder abuse thing works.  The young ones take advantage of their speed and quickness to leave the old ones bewildered and not knowing what will happen next.  Wife and I realized that if we were to maintain our freedom we would have to make a break for it!

Of course nothing of this sort actually is our situation - but it would make for MUCH better drama and story telling.

I reality, Wife and I told the 3's that we were going to take a little time on the way back from our Belgian Rental to Amsterdam to do a little photo op driving.  While we've had a good time here, one of our disappointments has been that the general area had not met our expectations of the "Ardennes Forest".  Everything we'd read about the area talked about the hills, forests, valleys, etc.  But what we had seen mostly had been agricultural land like this.

3A had given us some names of towns and areas to visit that would represent the more authentic Ardennes.

After not too long of a drive, we started to go through more forested areas with valleys.

Our first stop was a very nice looking town called Saint Hubert.  Unfortunately this is one of these towns (we've run into this before in Europe) that really doesn't want tourists because all of the convenient, downtown parking is restricted to permit only parking.  So I stayed with the car while Wife went off to take some pictures.  I did squeeze off a couple but the best shot I had of the town church required me to stand in the middle of a busy street so it didn't come off that good.

So we were a little bummed and headed off to the next town which was La Roche en Ardennes.  This place was absolutely tourist friendly.  In fact it was like, "hey you tourists, we love you, come in and spend money."  Actually for a tourist focused town it was very well done, not over the top, and very picturesque. 

There was a very nice river that went through town

This town also had a Battle of the Bulge Museum.
I tried to get this picture that had two tanks - one in town and one up on the hill

The way the town was laid out in a valley with roads coming down from the hills into it, you got a much better idea of the challenges associated with the Battle.

There were nice streets and plazas

A fine church

A really cool 'broken' castle (a term that dates back to a trip taken with our kids to Luxembourg in 1979)

And some lovely vistas containing both

We went to one more town that looked pretty good too but we'd run out of time because we needed to be back in Amsterdam by 5 PM.  So we grabbed a quick lunch.  At lunch I decided to have a small beer.  I'm not much of a beer drinker so I didn't quite get the term 'Trippel' that was part of the name.  This beer had a 9.5% alcohol lever!  So I didn't get to drink the whole thing as I needed to drive.

Once again our Tom Tom navigation system seemed to have a mind of its own because we had to drive all the way through the city of Liege on our way back.  However, I need to publicly apologize to Tom here as in looking on the map I think that was the only way to get where we were going.

Back in Amsterdam, I totally lucked out and found a place to park right by the 3's flat.  Then it was...wait for it...see if you can guess...right...WE WENT OUT FOR A BIG ASS MEAL!

It was a very nice Italian place that specialized in Rome regional cooking - really good - matching as good as we had during the trip but I was too tired to do the play-by-play photo journalistic gastronomic report.  But I will tell you that everything was so good that we had appetizers, mains, and desserts. 

We took the tram back to the flat and collapsed.

1 comment:

Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

You found some lovely photo ops. And I also love a good Trippel, but not when I'm driving.