Rural Rustic Belgium where BEER is King!
After 4 glorious days in the Moselle wine region we drove over the border into Belgium for a rural country stay in a town called Aywaille. Our accommodation was situated 10 minutes from town in the heart of rural Belgium. It was a beautiful old stone farm house filled with rustic timber beams, a fire place, 3 bathroom sky lights, double relaxing bath, gourmet chef’s kitchen, window sills for sitting on, electric lay back leather lounges and a Cinderella glass floor that from upstairs looked down into the kitchen. This country home was filled with so much character set on a rural property with a babbling stream that you could relax to at night. The property was in a bio zone meaning no chemicals are allowed in the waterways as the water from these springs are bottled for mineral water.
The owners were just as charming. They had invested all their dreams renovating this once farm house then restaurant whilst raising 5 children and … is the head music teacher and conductor at the prestigious music academy here in the local area. Now that their 5 children are grown up they have made their home into 3 separate holiday accommodations along side their property. They now also have 8 grand children which explains the sign as you enter their property.
We realised that we were well off the typical Australian tourist route when Joseph told us that we were his second ever Australian guests. We got a wonderful welcome!!!
This would have been our most relaxing stay as Joseph’s hobby is brewing his own beer which he gracefully shares with Rob proudly on arrival and on departure!!! Rob was thrilled when he got a tour of the impressive home brewery.
Rob really wants to set up his own brewery (man cave) when we get home but our climate is a little hot for a home brewery. If he does I’ll grow mushrooms amongst his beer!!!, as they also need a cool climate. Rob’s new hobby whilst here in Belgium is to sample and collect as many Belgium beer tops and beer glasses as he can. Not sure how we will get the beer glasses home!!! Look out Australia Post!
Rob is in heaven here in Belgium as Belgium is the land of all Rob’s favourite foods. Beer, chips, sausages and dark chocolate!!! Luckily I am here to keep track of his quotas as he would surely over indulge in the side of the road double deep fried frites (hot chips). One serve of these delectable chips would be more than enough to top you over the scales on the 5:2 diet. Everything in moderation!! I don’t think they know about the 5:2 diet here. I must admit the double deep fried chips are really good. Though my favourite here in Belgium is cherry and berry beers, rosemary infused prosciutto, peppercorn cheese, herb butters and fresh bio baby carrots, cauliflowers and broccoli. We may regret having our pants taken in before we left. No check out our fridge 90 percent fruit and veg 10 percent beer!!!
Luckily we had such an amazing place to relax in as the weather was a little overcast, cold and bleak with intermittent showers. We also found the rural road system a little hard at times to navigate as each day we found ourselves on thin dirt secondary rural roads. Mmmmm …. so we had many unexpected adventures through pine forests and rural farm areas. In other words we saw some amazingly huge draught horses, miniature ponies, woolly and horned cattle.
On our adventures we visited:
Coo Falls, which is the highest waterfalls in Belgium. The more impressive thing was that it was a double waterfall with a huge amount of water charging over the falls with immense power. This made the two falls overwhelmingly loud.
Stavelot Abbey Ruins was a little underwhelming compared to the festival street masks that hung from the town buildings.
We visited La Charmille Du Haut Maret an arch consisting of 4500 trees which is 475 meters long which would have looked amazing if Spring had sprung, but it hadn’t!!!! It still was wonderful being alone in such a beautiful forest with the rain pitter-pattering down all around us.
Durbuy was very cute. It definitely lived up to its name, as it is claimed to be the smallest town in the world!
Here we sampled another delicious delight made in Belgium. A cinnamon waffle. I think I read Belgium is ranked 3rd highest in the world for its unhealthy food choices!!! Tasted great but probably wouldn’t want to make it a regular food choice.
We really enjoyed the Topiary . Topiary meaning the shaping of plants. The largest park in the world open to the public dedication to the box tree manicured masterpieces. The living statues were fantastic. There were animals of all shapes and sizes, so realistic with lots of character.
In many small villages the signs of Easter were in the air. Children’s artwork is just so precious!
On our way to our next accommodation in Ghent we were in no means underwhelmed by the 12th century ruins of Villers Abbey. We really enjoyed roaming over these peaceful abbey grounds for a good hour and a half. It was so serene looking up at what once was. The monks assembled at the church 7 times a day and once at night for service. They had to vow to a code of silence throughout the monastery. There was only one room they could speak in, throughout the rest of the monastery they had to use sign language.
Another famous sight on our journey to Ghent for the Easter weekend was the monument at Waterloo where Napoleon was defeated.