It is Patrick, the owner of a cottage in the area of Rochefort and who is also passionate about sports, who welcomes me. He is used to advising his guests on which walks to take from his beautiful holiday home. From 5 to 20 kilometres, on foot or by bike, there is plenty of choices! Here we go for a walk starting from an Ardennes-Etape cottage!
ON THE ROAD FOR THE WALK!
Patrick explains that starting from his holiday home there are several possible walks. I’m a little bit pressed for time, so I choose to take a 6-kilometre trail… To guide me, he gives me a topographic map and a satellite map from Google Maps. In my short life, I have never used a map to go for a walk. Generally, I go with my feelings and then “we’ll see” (except that, sometimes, my feelings can be wrong, I get totally lost and it’s a hassle…). So I gladly accept his maps thinking that I have a “mission” to accomplish for you, dear readers.
Personally, I find the satellite map more intuitive. There are some street names (which will be useful when I have to find my way in the villages I cross) and, especially, I can see much better the trails that I need to take (roads, forest paths, gravel roads, etc.). So with this satellite map in hand, I begin my little excursion!
Before starting, choose a map that you feel comfortable with!
The walk starts at the foot of the cottage. Belvaux is a village that I love. There are lovely recently renovated houses built in local stones, small streets, a church, a cafe, a river, a bridge. A typical village of the Ardennes! The Lesse, which runs through the village, will be my point of reference. I will follow it for at least 3 kilometres.
THE ENCHANTED FOREST
After 500 meters, I leave the village and I take a forest path. I walk along the Lesse and find an enchanting forest. As usual, my imagination gives a second life to everything around me… Only adults with a child’s soul can understand me. On my way, I see the stump of a tree that has turned green by moisture. I imagine that King Arthur’s magic sword is set right in the middle of it. Do you see it? In some places, tree roots are visible. They are snakes ready to bite anyone who comes too close to Excalibur. Springs flow down the path before flowing into the river… but Merlin, the magician, has created a small secret passage in the embankment, so I do not have to wet my feet. Here I am at 1.80 metres high, I imagine it’s Everest!
Very quickly, I go back to reality. My calves are starting to work now, I’m climbing! Nothing, however, scares me, even if I cross my fingers wishing that this climb is relatively short… and it is! Gradually, the forest path moves away from the river. I still hear it, but I do not see it anymore. To my left and to my right, I am surrounded by leafy trees… and very few coniferous trees. They are so tall that they form a protective canopy. An excellent anti-stress h!
After about 3 kilometres, I leave the forest and, to my surprise, I see a huge cliff. Impressive! At its foot, there is something that looks like a large abandoned car park. I find it intriguing… I will later learn that it is an old quarry.
WELCOME TO RESTEIGNE!
I am halfway now, in the small village of Resteigne. The first building I see is the Castle of Resteigne, a splendid 16th-century building. Take some time to sit on the small bench just in front of it and enjoy this beautiful view. Alas, it is not open to the general public.
A few metres away, you will also find a large sign with the walking routes you can do in the region. It comes in the form of a QR code and gives you other ideas for walks to do. In this small village, you have the opportunity to drink or eat. Turn this walk into a xcursion. There are two breweries that I, unfortunately, did not have the opportunity to sample (remember to check their opening hours if you want to make a stop). In short, you can stroll around this little hamlet.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN…
I start the second part of my expedition and this time I choose to take the road. A choice that I do not regret, I crossed a few cars but nothing unpleasant. The landscape is totally different! I am surrounded by fields and the forest is in the distance. The road is winding and crosses this beautiful expanse of meadows. As I continue, I see that there are benches where I can sit and rest for a few minutes… For 3 kilometres, the landscapes alternate to my greatest pleasure: meadows, woods, and, finally, back in the pretty village of Belvaux.
So I am back home, or rather at the entrance of Patrick’s holiday home. I suddenly regret not having asked him for the keys of his lodging. I would have enjoyed using some of its amenities, such as deckchairs, jacuzzi or the bar… Next time, I will negotiate with my boss to test the facilities in the house… Those who do not try, gain nothing!
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