Just back from a whirlwind tour of the Ardennes, site of Shakepearean romps and devastating World War II battles. We visited the medieval towns of Durbuy and La Roche, the massive castle at Bouillon (where there is a chair you can sit in that will ensure marriage within six months), and the Cistercian abbey at Orval, where they make some of the world's best beer. We followed the Ourthe and Semois rivers as they meandered through deep forest.
The Reading Cow of Redu
We also ventured underground in the Grotte de Hoton, where we were given a tour by a charming multilingual cave gnome. Almost enough to make me like caves. Tried to visit Redu, the town of bookstores, but everything was closed.
Attacking the veal stew in Durbuy
The food was superb, though Phil was undone by his blanquette de veau and creme brulee (a bit much for a recovering food-poisoning victim).
Cemetery from the Battle of the Bulge
Returned laden with special beers of the region (including La Feodele de la Roche, named for a lovelorn maiden who flung herself from the castle in La Roche; her ghost still haunts the town) and the delicious jambon d'Ardennes, a supersalty ham.
Today we return the rental car, so our further adventures will be more...pedestrian.