Hiking and Camping in the snow :-)

La Roche Travel Blog

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Taking the train in Nijmegen

The second weekend of March 2006 my friends and I went winter camping in the Belgium Ardennes, the French part of the country. Thursday night we came together in Nijmegen, where one of my friends lived. After leaving all our stuff at her place we went to the city centre for shoppings and and the bars.

We bought all  kinds of food to survive a weekend camping in the snow: energy bars, pasta, sausages, jelly, cheese, eggs and more stuff... If you see the pics, you'll see we made good combinations for dinner :p pasta with sausages, some vegetables, soup and baked bananas, because they didn't survived the trip... and rice with hot dogs, vegetables and soup...

Early Friday morning we took the train from Nijmegen to Maastricht to Liege to Namur to Hotton-Melreux, this took us a couple of hours.

But we had all the connections at the right time. From Hotton-Melreux we took the bus to La Roche. On our way we saw that the river The Ourthe flooded big parts of the land. In summer time the river is just a stream, now it was at least a 100m wide...
Our hiking and camping trip started in the nice village of La Roche. First things first: lunch in a bar. We only had to walk three hours on Friday. Not much snow yet. But the weather was stormy...
We started walking and around 5pm we found a good spot to set up the two small tents we took with us. In a small and dark forest. With our headlights we finished the camp and started to prepare dinner. When you hungry, everything taste well!
Nowhere in Belgium you're far away from villages. In the Ardennes there are villages every where.
Energy bars...
So we decided to find a bar. There are two things you can find in every village: a church and a bar...
We found a bar in a nearby village (I forgot the name), played some games, had some beers, and planned the directions for the next day. When we left the bar it was snowing! Whoohoo! That's what we came for! Arriving back at the camp, the area was pretty white already.

Unfortunately in the morning (Saturday) it was all gone and the weather was bad! It started raining, but after an hour or two, it started snowing again! On our way we saw a "shop" with a sign: French fries. That would make a nice lunch... I went inside and in my best French I ordered five plates of French Fries. The lady took us into the garage, were we could eat. After fifteen minutes, still no fries.

.. I went back inside. There were no fries. Miscommunication... Luckily we had some bread left. By far not enough for all of us. We shared it and eat some energy bars... We continued. Hungry, cold and happy. This is what we wanted: snow!!! After some more hours we walked through another small village and we saw the bar Spooky. Let's check if we can have lunch here...
The owner opened the bar. The people who where inside just came back from a funeral. But looking at us, he decided to let us in. But only if we were quiet. Oke, that's a deal. We got some sandwiches and tomato soup for free! We were not allowed to pay at all. After half an hour we left again after thanking the owner.
We only had two more hours before it was dark. We'd speed up a little more and made it to the spot where we wanted to camp for the second night.
It was still snowing, really windy and cold. We found an open shet on a acre. In summer time the cows can stay in here when there's bad weather. In the morning we had to pack the tents wet, so it was great that we could sleep indoors outside...
After dinner, singing stupid songs and doing the dishes with some snow we went to a nearby village, and yes went to a bar again for games, beers and planning the last day.

Waking up early Sunday morning was great! It had been really cold that night, -15 degrees Celcius and the tents were covered with a layer of ice. But the sun was shining and the acre was completely white! It was beautiful!
We made scambled eggs for breakfast with hot chocolate milk, packed the tents and headed back to La Roche. It was a four hour walk.

We were more than an hour early for the bus. What else can you do then visit a bar for lunch??? We all had a backpack of 20 kilos, so you're not in for a city walk... In this bar they did have french fries :-)

We went back the same way as we came. Bus to Hotton-Melreux and from there the train to Namur, Liege, Maastricht and Nijmegen... It was a great trip! We walked about 55 km this weekend. Not so much, but it was more about the fun and winter camping, then about crossing the Belgium Ardennes. Next year again!

 

 

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Taking the train in Nijmegen
Taking the train in Nijmegen
Energy bars...
Energy bars...
Setting up the tents
Setting up the tents
First night camping spot
First night camping spot
Preparing dinner
Preparing dinner
Rice with sausages... Great combin…
Rice with sausages... Great combi…
Any one bananas??
Any one bananas??
Bar in the nearby village at night
Bar in the nearby village at night
Snowfall at night
Snowfall at night
Crashing in a farmers shed to fig…
Crashing in a farmer's shed to fi…
Le Spooky bar
Le Spooky bar
Oops...
Oops...
Left or right?
Left or right?
Good morning
Good morning
La Roche
La Roche
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photo by: Chokk