We woke up Friday morning fairly refreshed. Actually, I woke up at the crack of dawn because that’s my habit after being married to an Army man for almost fourteen years. It was a bit chilly in the house, but the WiFi was working so I caught up on Facebook and email while Bill and the dogs slept. Finally, at about 7:30 or 8:00, Bill got up and picked up some fresh croissants, cold cuts, and cheese. He also bought some Senseo pods.
Now… I mentioned in my first post that Bill and I are coffee snobs. Neither of us had high hopes for the Senseo pods. Nevertheless, Bill tried them… and pronounced the resulting “coffee” horrible. After fiddling around with the Senseo machine, he succeeded in making a cup of coffee that was somewhat less dreadful. He offered to make me some coffee, but I told him not to bother. I am very picky about coffee and don’t really have to have it to function. When I drink it, I want it to be very good. So Bill decided to go back to the store and find some whole coffee beans. Once he did that, he was able to make some decent coffee that we both could enjoy. The Senseo pods Bill bought ended up being donated to the house.
After we had breakfast and coffee sorted– that actually took a long while– we decided to check out Durbuy. It was Friday, so everything was mostly open and it didn’t look like there were tons of tourists about. We found plenty of parking, which we had to pay for. You can either use cash or credit; I recommend using cash because the credit option confounded a large group of Europeans. Besides, it was only about four euros for four hours. Big deal.
Durbuy is noted for being the “smallest city in the world” and it’s right next to the Ourthe River. There’s also a topiary park, a jam factory, a castle, and The Belvedere, which is a vantage point over the city offering good views. The town itself has charming cobbled streets, cute little shops, and plenty of little inviting bars. Had Bill and I not had the dogs with us, we probably would have spent a good long time exploring the bars. There was one called The Pirate Bar that was particularly intriguing; the bartender was actually dressed like a pirate. One other thing I loved about Durbuy is that I didn’t see or hear any other Americans. In fact, we didn’t run into any of our countrymen on this trip and not everyone could speak English! I love Americans, but when I’m in Europe, it’s nice to find authentic, undiscovered places.
There was just one table of Brits at the restaurant where we had lunch. They were enjoying lots of beer after a round on the golf course.
This was probably my favorite picture of the entire trip! Apparently, public defecation is an issue in Belgium. I didn’t see evidence of it in Durbuy, perhaps because of this sign. I have seen it in other places, which I will explain in a later post…
As it was, we walked around the little city and stopped at a very pet friendly hotel/brasserie for lunch, Hotel La Caleche. We chose this place because there were several bowls of water set out for dogs. Durbuy is actually very dog friendly anyway. We saw dogs everywhere and they seemed to be perfectly welcome, though most were probably better behaved than ours are. Since Zane and Arran are fairly new to dining out, we wanted to choose a place that put out the “welcome mat”, so to speak. Hotel La Caleche definitely did. They also had an impressive beer list and a good menu.
Bill enjoyed a locally brewed beer from Durbuy which came with cheese.
He said this cheese was like butter! I wish I liked cheese enough to try it for myself!
I had a ham and butter sandwich and a side of marvelous frites. No one does fries quite like the Belgians do…
Bill had what was basically a grilled cheese with ham and pineapple…
Heavenly fried potatoes! They also brought us olives, crackers, and a mild onion dip.
Obligatory shot of Bill.
Obligatory shot of Bill after I made a disgusting joke. Not long after Bill made this face, a wandering accordion player came around. I got some video, which I’ll probably put on YouTube.
After the Westmalle Dubbel… I was starting to relax and some folks at a nearby table smiled appreciatively at Zane and Arran, who were both behaving surprisingly well.
Another local beer… though not local to Durbuy. We passed this hamlet on Saturday.
A few parting shots of Durbuy as we were leaving…
And a couple of shots of Barvaux.
Bill had picked up some more beer at the store, so we moved the party back to the chalet. While I tasted some excellent Belgian brews, Bill filled the hot tub and started heating it with a fire. The fire was a bit high maintenance, but happily Bill took care of it. The chalet provided us with wood. We enjoyed a very leisurely soak under Belgian stars. It’s just now getting to the point at which it’s a bit chilly at night and coming inside was a bit of a shock to the system. But, I must admit, it was well worth it.