Week 15 – Exploring the Semois
Last week we really had a holiday. No emails, no online meetings, no PhD matters to arrange or other things to sort out. That was necessary and very pleasant. At the beginning of the week we were still at the camping site at the Semois on our rough field. We made some excursions, among others to la Roche à l’Appel: a special rock formation. The weather was beautiful, but our tent was fully exposed to the sun so it was difficult to keep our food fresh. So we invented a ‘cooling bag’ by lowering our drybag with strings into the stream behind the tent. Worked fine! We also took it very easy, walked a bit and met acquaintances at the campsite with whom we chatted all evening. Unfortunately, our repaired panniers developed new holes and the seams came loose in other, even more inconvenient spots. This really bothered us. We tried to repair them, but did not have much hope.
On Wednesday we cycled on to Rochehaut, another campsite along the Semois river. Pim had done his best to find a route with as few steep hills as possible, but it was still a very hard day. It was therefore very welcome that we could swim in the Semois river at the end of the day and let ourselves be carried along by the current for a while. Our tent stood separately in a corner of the camping site behind a bush to be protected from the strongest sun.
On thursday we left the tent and the bicycles behind for one night for Els’ birthday present: a hike for two days and spending the night somewhere in between. So on Thursday we walked to the little town of Bouillon, to spend the night in a beautiful old and luxurious hotel ‘Hotel de la Poste’ in a tower room. We hiked the long-distance path along the Semois river and enjoyed the beautiful views and nature along the way. The hotel was also very nice, with a huge bed and a bath, which we made good use of. We had a picnic with all kinds of tasty snacks by the river, overlooking the impressive castle of Bouillon.
We also arranged that the next day we wouldn’t have to walk all the way back to the campsite, but that we could canoe a bit on the Semois river first. So, after the extensive hotel breakfast on Friday, we got into a canoe to paddle along the Semois river for 16 km. Paddling was hardly necessary as there was still a lot of current, so we paddled quietly and saw the beautiful nature from a different perspective. From the end point of the canoe trip, we walked back to the campsite in 2.5 hours. It really was a great outing.
And our day was complete when, at the end of the afternoon, we received an email that Vaude will send us new bags. Of course, it feels like a waste, new stuff, but our bags are no longer waterproof and more rain is coming. We don’t know yet when we will get them, but we are very happy that it will be solved.
We’ve now been moving along, over, in, and on the Semois river, which we’ve been following since its source in Arlon. However, we don’t follow it to the end, where it flows into the Meuse. Instead, we cut off a piece and take the Meuse route further upstream, in France.