Monday, October 22, 2018


The weather was glorious last weekend, so I figured I'd head out to the Ardennes for what was possibly the last time this year. The rest of the family wasn't in the mood - they don't know what's good for them. So me was accompanied only by myself and I.

Cruising on the good ole E411 somewhere between Custinne and Wanlin:

View on the Chateau de Bouillon, once the home of Godfrey of Bouillon, the 'Belgian' crusader. Pic taken from somewhere below the Point de Vue de la Ramonette.

After getting off the La Ramonette crest and through Bouillon's Arboretum - which sadly, isn't such a big deal anymore since it's in the process of being overgrown by, guess what, trees, I came across the Monument des Fusillés. Seems you can't get nowhere in the Ardennes or sometime, somewhere, you are reminded of WWII. It was on this spot that on the 21st of July 1944 three men from Bouillon were cowardly shot by the Gestapo on orders of Léon Degrelle, the prewar Rex strongman and Belgium's most notorious nazi. The names of the hapless souls are René Pierlot, Henri Bodard, and Louis Bodard. As I said a prayer, I wondered about the circumstances of their tragic deaths. Degrelle was from Bouillon, and obviously, felt quite attached to the region of his birth (indeed, while in Spain after the war he ventured the desire to be buried on the nearby Tombeau du Géant, a famous landmark). The liberation of this part of Belgium was only a little more than two months away. Was Degrelle, foreseeing the imminent forced departure of his overlords, exacting revenge on compatriots who had stubbornly refused to accept his vision of a Belgium as part of the Third Reich? Was he pissed off because just the day before, his beloved Fuehrer had narrowly escaped death at the hands of Von Stauffenberg? Who will tell?

Then it was off to the Rocher du Pendu, a rocky promontory overlooking the Semois river. Rocher du Pendu means Rock of the Hanged, and an anecdote I came across years ago was this: once upon a time a farmer from Corbion who had earned a good deal of money with the sale of his cows on Bouillon's cattle market, foolishly wasted his earnings on drinking and gambling in that town's cafés. Getting sober again on the rocky path towards Corbion, which passes this very spot, he became overcome with fear at the reaction of his wife, who reportedly was an ancestor of Victoria Bissell Brown. So he hung himself, end of story.

Majestic firs, straight as an arrow, on the path towards Corbion:

Point de vue de l'Ecaillère. Below is La Grande Prairie.

A view on the Moulin de l'Epine from the Pic du Diable. Although I failed to see what was so devilish about this spot.

Descending towards the Semois, like a mirage, after some time the Abbaye de Cordemois. Which has architectural elements reminding me of the Abbaye d'Orval.

It was time to wrap up the walk. Besides, the sun was slowly setting.

The calm waters of the Semois. Perhaps some 30 kloms further - I would have to check it out - it flows into France where the name is spelled Semoy.

Almost back in Bouillon. The traffic arrangement is peculiar. What is in effect a mini "beltway" around town passes through a tunnel under the castle's keep.

A view on the Chateau. Must have been quite impenetrable defenses in its time. I read somewhere that in the 17th century, Vauban also left his mark.

Driving back, I couldn't resist making a small detour to watch Frahan sitting quietly on its peninsula in a Semois bend. Pic taken from the heights of Rochehaut:

And then it was back to Chateau Outlaw!


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