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After we visiting Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, we decided to search for lunch.  I think Cuba must be a popular destination for the Dutch, since our hostess, Nel, had said she was headed to Cuba for two weeks after we departed yesterday.  I also noticed that tiny Vijlen has a Cuban restaurant called Cuba Libre.  I had wanted to try it, but as we were leaving the three countries park, Bill took a wrong turn and we ended up in Belgium.

Oops!

I started thinking about excellent beers and frites, so we looked for a place to eat on our detour.  We didn’t find a place that was especially inviting, but I did manage to take some pictures.

I’m not sure what this is.  There were no signs near it.  I thought it was very pretty, though.  ETA: My German friend tells me this is Beusdael Castle, which is no longer open to the public.  It was purchased by a Dutch family in 2002, although it is located in the Belgian village of Sippenaeken.  It dates back to the 13th century and is surrounded by a moat.  Prior to World War II, people used to visit the castle to see a glass coffin that contained the remains of a young wife of one of the owners, who died still beautiful at the age of 25.

 

Ditto for this…  Bunker with a Belgian flag next to it.  Lots of people were out walking.  The roads were a bit narrow and very country.  I loved it, since I prefer the rural life.  

For some reason, someone was flying the Belgian and U.S. flags.  You don’t see this too often in these parts…

Our scenic joyride took us on a loop that brought us back to the road where our apartment was located.  We decided to head back into Vijlen and have lunch.  The big parking lot in front of Cuba Libre was for a nearby hotel.  We didn’t feel like searching for another place to park, so we decided to eat at the hotel instead.  That wasn’t a bad idea.  The food was good and the interior of the restaurant was charming.

The big hotel in town.  There are a other places to stay, even though Vijlen is a small town.  In the warm months, people come from all around to hike.  This is the most “mountainous” part of the Netherlands, after all.

I loved the little bar, especially the beer taps.

 

And the pies looked delicious, although we didn’t partake!  I think the Dutch must have perfected pies.  I saw them everywhere and they looked so good!

Bill had a burger, which he said tasted alright.  I think it might have been “gemischtes” (mixed) pork and beef.  

 

For once, I was braver and had a chicken sandwich with cashews.  The Google Translate app really came in handy, since only a few Dutch words resemble German.  I never would have known what this was if I hadn’t had the ability to aim my phone at the text and get an instant translation.  Fortunately, the waitress also spoke excellent English.  This sandwich, served open faced, had a spicy sweet Asian dressing as well as a colorful salad.  It was very substantial.

I got a kick out of this.  French wine for a Dutch charity with an English name.  Each bottle sold benefits the less fortunate.  We decided to have beer, though.

 

Bill’s was a little “flute”.

The Dutch are very civilized.  They had this sanitizer available in the toilet stalls in case you wanted to clean the seat.  “Clean attack” indeed!  I’m sure there are other places that have this, but I’ve only seen it in the Netherlands.

Below are a few more photos from our excursion.  It really is absolutely beautiful in this part of the country.  When we lived near Stuttgart, we often went to Ribeauville when we needed a short break from Germany.  Now that we’ve found Vijlen, and it takes about the same amount of time to get to and from there as it did for us to go to France, we may declare this our go to spot for breaks from Wiesbaden.  It’s just three hours away and offers proximity to Aachen, Germany and Belgium!

Next time we visit, we will have to visit the Cuban restaurant and the nearby “gelato farm” in Belgium.

Zane took a minor spill on the steep steps.  Poor guy struggled a little, but eventually got the hang of it.

He enjoyed the bed, though.

Since we were full from lunch, this cherry pie was dinner.  Bill found it at a bakery.  It was delicious!  He had an apple pie, minus the fancy lattice work.

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