Ardennes

December 2007


Introduction

We spent a relaxing three days between christmas and new year in the Ardennes. We brought Puk who was very happy to discover all this new territory and have so much space to chase balls. We stayed in the Hotel Tropical outside Durbuy which has a swimming pool and a sauna and was a nice place to relax.
The sky was cloudy during the first two days and most of the third, but I still got a few nice pictures I think.


La Roche

Let me start with the second day, on which we decided to drive to the town of La Roche, half an hour from Durbuy, and spend the day there.

La Roche town

La Roche is a typical Ardennes town, most notable for the hilltop castle ruins right in the city center.


Nature walk from La Roche

We like to improvise so instead of following a route we just walked into the forest near where we'd parked the car and walked around for a few hours.


Durbuy

The first and third day we spent in Durbuy, which is the main touristic hub of the Ardennes.

Durbuy town

Durbuy calls itself the smallest city in the world and indeed everything is tiny there. I expected it to be a lovely little town and the area behind the castle is very pretty indeed, but overall the place has sacrificed its charm to tourism. 90% of the tourists here are Flemish or Dutch btw and everything and everyone here is bilingual, which is remarkable.

First walk from Durbuy

On our first day in Durbuy we made a random walk.
Here are two movies of Puk and her little stick...




Second walk from Durbuy

On the third day we decided to follow a walking trail so we could do a circuit, and with the weather being a little clearer this was a great walk indeed.


After that walk we ate soup, pancakes and waffles in Durbuy and then decided on impulse to visit Tongeren on the way home.


Tongeren

Tongeren lies in the south of the province of Limburg (i.e. not in the Ardennes) and is the oldest city of Belgium, having been founded by the Romans shortly after their conquest of Gaul in 57-52 BC. Its two main monuments are the Basilica (built from 1240-1541) and the statue of Ambiorix, and I've always wanted to see these. It was late afternoon when we were in Tongeren and the sky was totally clear now, so the light was great and I could make some beautiful pictures.


A bit about Ambiorix: he was a king of the old Belgian tribe of the Eburones (which lived in this region) and managed to trap and massacre an entire Roman legion in 54 BC. Since that was the only significant victory the Belgae or the Gauls in general ever won against Caesar's Romans, Ambiorix was later turned into a hero even though the only result of his attack was a massive massacre of Belgian tribes by the Romans, which he could do nothing to stop - he in fact fled across the Rhine into Germanic territory and was never heard of again.

The following pictures are of Tongeren's old beguinage, now a living area. The sun was almost setting now






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