FRANCE/ BELGIUM 2014 Pt 2
DAY 5 – A DAY IN FRANCE
The Wednesday saw us remaining in France and we headed into the local town, Rocroi, for a walk around the ramparts that surrounded the town. These ramparts were different to the other ramparts we've been to as they are in a strange star-shape! Which you can only really see clearly from the air, but they were lots of fun to walk around!
There is a not a lot else to report from Day 4, we had a nice walk where Katherine spotted a few black kites...
...and that’s about it really. So let’s just move straight onto day 6...
DAY 6 – BRUM BRUM!
This day saw us heading back into Belgium, where we went for the remainder of the week, following our useful 365.be guide to Aubechies Archéosite where there are replicas of buildings from various ages in history. There was a school group there when we were there, and we got a bit of a fuss off some of the school kids in one of the mud and thatched stone-age dwelling type buildings. There was a replica of a Roman temple and other Roman buildings, and some ancient artefacts in the museum.
But the real reason for heading in that direction was to see things that were a bit more modern...cars! Okay, not really our thing us not being fond of the noise some cars and motorbikes make but it was something Iain was interested in. The Mahymobiles museum had a lot of cars and other vehicles, around 300 on display and more than that not on display! Katherine particularly liked the old fire engine. We just sat on the bench over the whole thing though...
DAY 7 – Abbey Dogs!
It was our final day of our holiday, but there was still fun to be had! Back into Belgium we headed for a final day out! This day we went up to the remains of a truly stunning abbey – Villers-la-Villie Abbey.
This was a very impressive ruin; it had been used until relatively recently so there were newer parts and older parts. We wandered around the Abbey posing for some photos along the way.
We can’t help it, we love posing for photos!
And there was so much opportunity for photos at Villers Abbey, just look at the background!
Though this is our favourite photo from the whole holiday...
As you can see, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the abbey! We spent a lot of time going through various doorways into various rooms, and watching a little wren foraging for insects hiding among the old bricks of the abbey walls. We had a nice wander around the abbey gardens too, where there were a couple of ducks keeping a close eye on us ready to fly off if we got too close.
QUACK! We’re not interested in chasing ducks though so we just ignored them.
Our final day didn’t end there, our next stop landed us in PRISON! Seriously! Okay, so it wasn’t a prison now it was a historic prison (though originally a fortress) – Huy Fortress. It started with a steep climb up to the fortress which loomed above us...
...until we reached the door...where we had to ring the bell to be let in (yeah, ring the bell to be let into prison...sounds crazy!). It was the original door and here is the creepy bit – when we went in the door was bolted shut behind us! It was a horrible sound listening to the old bolts being slipped back into place, the sound echoing around us. We were shut in the prison!
Inside it was pretty spooky, the windows were tiny that they let very little natural light into the interior of the building, and the windows had bars on!
And as for the corridors, they were like something out of a horror movie...
A lot of horrible things happened in here. Like Dinant Citadel, Huy fortress had a place in the more recent wars people had fought, in Huy’s case the Second World War. It was used as a prison by the Nazi’s and many people were imprisoned there for resisting the German Forces invasion. The rooms numbered above contained some details of the war, but mostly a lot of pictures. Let’s just say the pictures aren't showing the nicest side of humanity and leave it at that.
Leaving the gloomy corridors, prison cells and barred windows behind us, we headed up onto the roof of the fortress into the sunshine. Here there were some very nice views of Huy and the river below us.
To get out of the fortress we had to go back down into the prison (though there is a cable car that runs up to the roof on the busy days) and asked for the door to be unbolted to be let back out. It was a bit of a relief to get back out of the prison and head back down the hill ready to move on to our next, and final, trip of the holiday.
The next place we visited also had a war theme – the Battle of the Bulge museum in La Roche. There were various models and artefacts inside and most of the information panels were in English. There were items that had been sent across on loan from the Black Watch Museum in Perth not far from where we live too!
But that wasn't the best thing about this museum...the best part was the mirrored walls! Millie is going to sulk now that I'm writing this bit in, but it is TOO funny not to share! Millie got so confused by the mirrored walls! She could see Katherine in the mirror but obviously couldn't get to her and was jumping up at the glass trying to figure out how Katherine could be both in front of her and behind her! She actually started to get quite upset by it in the end so we had to take her away from the mirrors...but we went back down in the lift and there were mirrors in the lift too! More confusion for Millie! I didn't care, I wasn't interested at all in the mirrors and they didn't catch me out! We were laughing about that for AGES!
The day was over though and it was time to head back to the cottage for the final time and get our things packed. Well, we left Iain to do the packing and took Katherine out to throw toys for us in the pond!
DAY 8 – The Journey Home
It was time for us to go, all our stuff was packed into the car and (after Millie was retrieved from the house as she didn't want to leave and went into hiding) we were on our way heading back to Calais. Our homeward journey went smoothly, we arrived at the Euro Tunnel with plenty of time to spare getting our passports checked and approved in the building to the right as you drive up before going through check-in. At check-in we were bumped up to an earlier train: tip – if you have pre-booked use the automated machines as these will give you the option to get an earlier train if it is available!
So instead of us getting the 11:20 train we were on the 10:50 train...but after getting the humans passports checked the sign directed us straight onto the train! Katherine was very disappointed as she wanted to stop off in the shop to get some L’abbaye biscuits! But no stopping as we followed the arrows along the roads (bit strange as we were the only ones driving along there) and we were straight onto a train!
By the time our booked time should have been leaving, we were back in the UK and heading north towards Scotland (at around 9:50 am, travelling back in time)! The earlier train meant we were back home at a much more reasonable time than we expected, and we got to enjoy the last of our K9 Natural Freeze Dried Lamb Feast in our bowls at home!
We had a fantastic holiday, there were so many things to do that there is still loads that we missed out on this time but hey, we figure it leaves plenty for us to do next year! Maybe next year we can make it to Brussels and the Spitfire Museum and some of the many castles we didn't get to visit this time! We already have a long list of things to do next year – so watch out Belgium we’ll be back!