Busy week this week. For starters, last Thursday Victor and I visited Zutphen. It was a lovely afternoon and we really enjoyed walking through the old village. It is one of the few cities in The Netherlands that seems like it hasn’t changed in the last 400 years. The only modern building we saw was City Hall, which looked oddly out of place. Sections of the old city wall are still standing. If you like old town, go visit Zutphen and Deventer is not too far away.
Friday we left for the Ardennen – I had a bad sore throat and worried I might get sick. Fortunately the combination of fresh squeezed spinach/apple/cucumber juice, beet juice, a few paracetamol and Ricola from Annet I’m all healthy again! We arrived at our hotel near Durbuy a few minutes to three, and on the clock, Teresa and Michael arrived (we call them M&T now for short). It was so great to see them! I had seen them in San Diego last year, but for Victor it had been much longer ago, back in 2003 when Michael gave us the historic tour of San Diego. They bought a French fiber glass canal boat last year, on which they travel all through France!
We walked around Durbuy which seems to exist purely for the tourists since we’ve never ever seen so many restaurants in one square km (probably even smaller – it is the self-proclaimed smallest city in the world!
We ate in the restaurant of the hotel. They serve good food in huge quantities. Unfortunately for me not much choice on the vegetarian side, so I settled on the pasta provencal (tomatoes and bell peppers). It could have fed a family of 6.
The hotel was very nice, the staff friendly, but there was only one problem for me: I couldn’t sleep in the bed because of pain in my back. I ended up sleeping in the bedbunk and that was fine. But I think I will adapt my bucket list and make shorter trips so I can sleep in my own bed.
The next day we visited the caves of Remouchamps. They were really impressive. We walked quite a long way, saw beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, a large caverns (had to climb quite a bit) and finally took a boat on the underground river. Really beautiful!
In the afternoon I was tired and took a nap while Valentine went kayaking. In the evening we went to the Indian castle Radhadesh, a spiritual center for the Hare Krishna’s in a typically French 18th century castle. Mostly white women and men wearing sari’s and indian dress. We were too late for the tour which Barbara had really looked forward to but not for the food! We had a delicious vegetarian Indian meal (Valentine had pizza) so I was really happy. It was a very spiritual place. When Victor paid with his debit card, the line was busy (they shared it with the store) and the German lady ‘cursed’ “Krishna”. Victor bought me a yoga book for 1 euro from which I learned that yoga is all about becoming one with Krishna which one achieves by saying his name continually. I’ll have to remember that!
The next day we visited the topiary park, which had hundreds of different figures cut by hand from boxwood (buxus). I love gardens but this one left me somewhat indifferent. I enjoyed my conversation with Michael though, he knows so much about so many different things and can really get very enthusiastic. Very inspiring! Victor discovered they have a Belladonna plant there with berries, which are poisonous in small quantities and can kill a child. We walked through the town and then it started to rain. We said our goodbyes to M&T in the rain and headed back to Holland. A nice weekend!