Local Heart, Global Soul

May 31, 2014

On The Road Early To Beat The Rush, That Wasn’t…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our time at La Roche-en-Ardenne has sadly come to an end, we had the car packed up with clothes and kids and headed out early so that we wouldn’t get caught  in the traffic jams that were predicated for parts of the Netherlands later that day.

Our children, and the daughter of our friend still had at least a week of summer school holidays but in the Netherlands, various regions and even different schools within the big  Dutch cities traditionally stagger their school holiday dates so that not all schools are out  on holiday at the same time.

This day back in 2012 was the last day of the school holidays for a whole selection of schools and the Sunday evening summer  traffic was predicted to be heavier than usual as a result.

This is why we set out early:  the kids doze in the back, tired from the long long days of sunshine and myriad of outdoor activities, Himself and I enjoy the relative  (and for our offspring, unusual) peace in the back seat, yet another gloriously sunny day and the scenery as it zips by. The traffic was only marginally heavier than what we would have usually expected but since we came back via Zuid Limburg (the province of South Limburg)  and not though some of the busier motorway routes so maybe we just got lucky. Back in the Netherlands we see an unusual sight:  sheep grazing behind a fence on a motorway embankment.

We’ve had an excellent long weekend, living close to other countries and having the simplicity of the Euro single currency makes short holidays like this one of the most ideal things about living in Europe. It was lovely to have a few days away, but also nice to be arriving back home.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 30, 2014

Foodies Delight …(Close Your Eyes If You Are Vegetarian)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our time in La Roche-en-Ardenne is fast coming to a close.

There is one blog post that I need to make before we leave: it’s one of the rest stops I made as I came back though the town after visiting the castle, and at least if you are not a vegetarian, a foodies delight.

A quick glance at the shop window had me hooked, I know exactly what we were going to be talking back home as our souvenir: sausage!

There were different sorts of course, spicy salami’s aged salamis, cured and smoked meats, this place is a treasure trove.  

Himself is the real salami connoisseur in our family so I picked several of the more coarse varieties that I know he likes and a smoother less coarse one for me, plus a finer textured spicy one that we would both like.

There were so many to choose from that in the end it was a bit of a guessing game but once we had tried them back at home we saw that this was quality merchandise, hand-made old-style and delicious.  Himself was pleased and surprised at my discovery and purchases, being out at the camping and busy canoeing with kids on the river  he had of course had no chance to check out the local shops for something nice to take home.

The next day we would have to leave early for home and on Sundays in Belgium you are lucky if you can find a bakery open and certainly no other shops usually. I also find the contents of the shop very photogenic so having asked permission, got busy clicking  whilst I waited to be served. Mouth watering on so many levels!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

.. This was the front window of the bakery close by (sadly I was so tired I didn’t even step inside, and with crutches and a pack-pack I could carry salami but had no hope to carry one of these : they are called “Vlaamse Vlaai” by the way, we also have bakers who make them in the Netherlands and they are delicious)… There was no out-of-town supermarket here in La Roche as far as we saw, and who on earth would need one with local shops like these?

la Roche sasuage 1y (Small)

May 29, 2014

Reviews Are Divided, But For A Lazy Evening It’s All Good…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After a day of hard work walking around the castle in La Roche, Belgium, I finally get back to our accommodation.

Luckily  since the summer days are long and the weather has been  sunny with fabulous  blue skies, Himself and I had already decided on a late dinner tonight so that the kids could play and swim  as much as possible during the daylight hours.

We also decided not to cook tonight because our friend said that there’s a café / restaurant at the camping site and having eaten there earlier in the week he recommend it.

I managed a three hour sleep and some time with an icepack on my foot  after raiding the little kitchen of our rooms of the ice-blocks left in the freezer and was a little more refreshed once Himself picked me up to join the others for dinner.

Everyone meets us at restaurant  “Auberge de Lohan” , it has a balcony with outdoor seating  that overlooks part of the camp site, so we start there but are eventually driven inside as it gets a bit too cool as the sun disappears.The dishes are simple enough and our friend raved, but Himself and I agreed afterwards that whilst the food wasn’t terrible it wasn’t particularly outstanding either, this was more in the style of a  “basic”  takeaway meal instead of  what I’d call restaurant quality fare.

It was edible and it filled a gap, and we didn’t have any dishes to wash. Sometimes that’s enough.  The kids polished off ice cream for dessert and played until they dropped  wearily into bed whilst the adults sat, talked and watched them.  An excellent summer’s evening all in all.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

May 28, 2014

From One La Roche Fortification To Another…Yum!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post I’m now back in the centre of the Belgium town of La Roche-en-Ardenne, having spent the entire morning  and the first part of the afternoon walking around the castle.

Now I’m walking through the town  and realising that I haven’t even had lunch yet.

My foot is hurting rather badly now too and I’m realising that I won’t be able to walk back to our accommodation in one go, so a stop for lunch at Restaurant “Le Bronze” is a chance to sit down for a decent amount of time before I try and carry on.

It’s always worth looking at the local specialities on the menu when you are travelling: sometimes there are items there that turn out to be gems.

Such is the case on this occasion, I order “Salade Ardenniase” and receive a refreshing plate of salade with Ardenne bacon, ham, endive, salad, cucumber, tomato, apple and pear.   It’s washed down with a soft drink and afterwards I tell myself that I’ve deserved dessert with all the walking today, so order a wafel with chocolate sauce.  Yum… Just the ticket for steeling myself for the rest of the walk back.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

May 27, 2014

An Excellent Idea, But Also Maybe A Bit Of A Bad One…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are moments when you are recovering from a cold, accident or fever when suddenly you think you feel a bit better, you feel like the old familiar energy is back and you are desperate  to make the most of it.

Unfortunately this burst of enthusiasm is  often misguided and at a certain point your realise you just might have bitten of more than you can chew.

Your mind might be telling you that “of course you can” but after an initial effort the body says ” yeah brain, that was a nice idea in theory but you aren’t the one making 99.9% of the effort here,  the rest of us body parts need to go back to bed and recover from you bright idea“.

Pain relief is like that too. Once the pills  kick in I get all energetic and want to do, do, do. Then it wears off and my foot says “are you crazy?  please don’t, don’t, don’t.” La Roche-en-Ardenne was a bit like that too… I’ve done some serious walking around the castle this morning and now I find myself on a hill in a castle thinking “What have I done?“.

I have more pain relief pills on me but it’s clear that I need to start making my way down from here and get back to our accommodation for a proper rest.The way down was slow,  as I picked my way down very so carefully down those steep cobbles. At the end I was beyond tired but at least pleased that I managed to do this today.  Castles still fascinate me, so here’s one last look before I go…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

May 25, 2014

I’m The King Of The Castle (Queen In My Case) And I Spy With My Little Eye…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The ruins of the castle on the hill in the centre of the Belgium town of La Roche-en-Ardenne may not be a castle suitable for living in, but it does form an excellent vantage point from which to get a view of all of the surrounding area.

It was well worth the slog to get here that at least the views are good.

There’s is a lot of forest on the surrounding hills, the buildings and rooftops of the town make for interesting viewing too and the river that snakes in a tight “U” shape around the town  is well used for recreation as there are many picnic spots and a large park to be seen too.

As I walk around it’s nice to rest a while and take photographs and watch the people  in the streets, the canoes on the river and traffic crawl around like ants on the landscape below.

The sense of scale you get makes the building of this castle even more amazing, especially considering that tools (or more pointedly, the lack of them) that were to hand at the time. Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 21, 2014

Zooming In … To Church…

Following yesterday’s post about St. Nicolas Church in La Roche-en-Ardenne, Belgium, I am again obsessed by detail. Here’s a photographic post that’s all about the close-ups…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

May 20, 2014

This One Has Aged Well, Or Has It?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

La Roche-en-Ardenne in Belgium has a castle on a hill in the centre of the town, it’s an imposing landmark and as soon as you negotiate the steep path upwards you quickly get an amazing view out above the town.

I was here on my own during the summer of 2012, whilst Himself and the kids were out on the river canoeing with a friend and his daughter.

Below me, on one side of the castle is a large church and my elevated position gives me an excellent view of this amazing building.

Some research on the web (link below)  tells me that this is:

St Nicholas’ Church,  Located close to the mediaeval castle, the church was built in the early years of the twentieth century in the Neo-Gothic style, to reflect the Church Triumphant during the Catholic Revival.Today, the church hosts concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events and holds a collection of artefacts linked to local history.” Ok, so the church isn’t as old as it looks, but it’s still imposing… Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.belgiumtheplaceto.be/roche_religious_heritage.php

May 17, 2014

Camping In The Ardennes… For The Active And The Lazy By The River…

Filed under: BELGIUM,La Roche-en-Ardenne,The vaguarities of Parenting — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The reason that we’ve come to La Roche-en-Ardenne in the first place stems from a friend’s invitation to join him and his daughter who are camping there.

They’ve got a large tent and the idea is that the kids will all sleep together in one part and our friend in the other, leaving Himself and I to the rented accommodation in the town close by.

In practice Kiwi Daughter had tummy troubles and ended up in the single bed in our room both nights and Little Mr. slept well in his sleeping bag in the tent.

The tent is literally metres away from the water: fortunately the Dutch have an amazing 96%   participation of the populations children  in national swimming certificate programmes and all of the kids  in the group are confident swimmers.

They are still not left unsupervised of course, but it severely lowers the risks if you already know they have an excellent grounding in water safety.  The water is particularly shallow at this point in the river, the kids can wade with ease and the inflatable dinghy is a huge hit as they paddle, splash and generally mess about on the water with the boat.

The adults get to sit just outside splashing distance on the bank and offer advice and encouragement to whoever is loosing the water battle at the time, the weather is excellently warm and even after a BBQ dinner the kids play until fading light (and parental persuasion) forces them to get ready for bed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At least all this non-stop physical activity  ensures they sleep well.  Himself and I  give Little Mr. our kisses Goodnight and take Kiwi  Daughter back to our rooms. Her tummy problems are frequent, partly because she doesn’t drink enough water and gets blocked up and partly because despite being the oldest she often the kid who chickens out of  new situations that she’s unsure of.

In this case I think the night noises, the idea of there only being a thin tent wall between her and “the nature” and Himself and I not being there the whole night to reassure her are enough to make her prefer to be with us.

It’s also happened before (and since) when we had either a camper or a cabin plus a tent as a family: Kiwi Daughter’s bravado at  the idea of tenting lasts until nightfall and then suddenly  she’s inside with Mama, usually because “her tummy hurts”.

She’s getting braver and more mature on many levels but the “great outdoors” is still somewhere she finds a little daunting. Back on this weekend in 2012   we figure that forcing the issue isn’t going to make her feel any braver so,  just as well there is a back-up option. (Kid photos edited for internet privacy). In the end everyone sleeps brilliantly and the next day were were all up bright and early to enjoy yet another day of beautiful weather.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 16, 2014

A Beautiful Way To Remember…

Filed under: ART,BELGIUM,La Roche-en-Ardenne,Statues / Sculpture — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

Close to the river in the small Belgium town of  La Roche-en-Ardenne there is something that you will see in every European town large and small:  a war memorial. Many of these are beautiful statues and this one is no different. Commemorating the towns fallen from the second World War, these names represent the devastating  toll that the loss of members of these little communities sustained. In this photographic post I will let the photographs speak for themselves…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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