Last week we had family visiting from the Åland Islands and we decided to spend the weekend in the Ardennes. We started out with the Caves of Han-sur-Lesse, about one hour from Brussels. The cave turned out to be even more magnificent than I had imagined and the guided tour of almost two hours went by way too quickly. My favourite part was the sound and light show in one of the largest chambers of the cave.
Friends of ours had suggested a stay at the hotel La Malle Poste in Rochefort, only 6 km from Han-sur-Lesse. The hotel is a beautifully renovated 16th century building located right in the middle of Rochefort. Our rooms were spacious and nicely decorated with a mixture of the traditional and the modern. I would recommend to choose a room at the back overlooking the beautiful French garden. Our room even had a jacuzzi bath!
After strolling around for a while and an apéro we had dinner at La Càleche, the hotel restaurant. The quality of the food was exceptional and I loved the very tasteful modern cuisine. Apparently so much that I didn’t manage to take a single picture of the food. Our breakfast the next morning was wonderful too. We had a delicious array of baked breads, pastries, cheese, hams, fresh fruit with yogurt and cooked food made to order. Absolutely delicious.
From Rochefort we drove towards Bastogne where we spent a few hours at the new War Museum. We were impressed with the museum and the way the curators combined different elements like personal stories, exhibits, theatres with 3D scenes and re-enacted scenes. There’s something for everyone at the museum, whether you’re interested in learning more about the Second World War, the Battle of the Bulge or how the war impacted Belgium. Don’t miss the impressive war memorial right behind the museum honouring the U.S. soldiers that took part in the battle of Bastogne.
The last stop on our road trip was the small town of Durbuy. At the Topiary Gardens we enjoyed a long lunch and admired the 250 clipped box trees, some of which are over 120 years old. The majority of the topiaries are box hedges and the shapes range from animals to people and abstract shapes. My favourite was the box trees clipped as men riding on foxes. Or was it horses? Before heading back to Brussels we explored a bit of the old town, admired the privately owned castle and soaked up some more sun at the excellent terrace of Vieux Pont. The more I see of Belgium, the more I realise how much there’s left to explore!