Friday afternoon, straight after work, not thinking about laying on the couch with a wine, nice movie of whatever cosy snoozy activity, but hup hup hup, to the Ardennes.
The weather forecast said “Sunny fresh weekend”. We chose a campsite where you can make fire ánd where is a “café” …you never know…It has been a while since we have been out in this temperature. After putting up our tent and making the beds in the total dark, we walked to the “kantine” of the campsite Pont de Bergueme to get our Friday-evening beer&wine. We could not be bothered to make a fire, maybe you first need to do a proper hike in nature. The people on this campsite are a bit weird… in the summertime, you do not notice that so well, but now only the Regulars are sitting there…real Belgians, with their caravans, their dogs, their way of looking at us, not really communicative. So Paul and I play a game Heads Up together. Now they have a reason to look at us. Bedtime at 10pm. Brrr, freshy peshy. We crawl in our glamptent with all our winterproof materials and feel warm and cosy together. The tent is fully packed now. I can sleep so well in the cold. My mummy is closed, only my nose and mouth are free. It is needed, because it turns out to be a ffn (fucking freezing night). -4º somebody said. This is the first time I had to break through the ice to open my tent haha, nice cracking sound. We love it!
We are out. It feels good, it feels free, it feels relaxing. Time for coffee and porridge. Bút… the car won’t open, the key is not working anymore. We parked it close to the tent in the dark last night, not allowed probably, but I don’t think they expected much other campers. It takes not so long before an old caravanguy comes to us to tell us to move the car to the parking and that we also can put the key in the lock. Ohww, yess, stupid…never did that before. We have our lenses, food and stove again, lucky us. But the stove does not want to perform, or the gazz is frozen (we forgot to put it in our sleeping bag). So no warm hands around the coffee. That’s a bummer. Going out for a coffee was not part of the adventure. We want it self-made, no fancy cappuccino, an instant bit tasteless one it must be. A porridge at the campsite feels so much better than an omelette in a café. It is all part of the adventure. Paul tries to warm up the stove, but …. no… the mountaineer is loosing it haha, we have to do this more often, we feel a bit beginners now.
We decide to pack the tent, move to another campsite because we also forgot our maps. In Houffalize we know more routes and the café at Camping Buitensport is much nicer. Within an hour we found a new spot, put up the tent again, ate some breakfast and started our first hike. Beautiful sunny day, the frost is gone, very nice route, lots of high meters, mushrooms, trees and happiness. No people on the trails today, great! What a lucky couple we are, that we both can enjoy this so much. We do not talk much during the day. I lay on the ground once in a while to capture a mushroom, also very relaxing. Lucky Paul it is too cold to stay there too long.
Back at the campsite at dusk, we meet some interesting campers 50 meters away from our tent. You see, pretty normal to camp this weekend. In the evening we sit at a fire, chatting, drinking hot wine, self-made food and feeling real camperhikers again. Our faces are burning and buts are freezing, but its great to spend our weekend away from all there is at home. Our neighbours are sitting in the same position around their fire and we feel a huge bond without even speaking to each other.
In the morning that bond is a bit less when one of them is floating in the freezing river. Uhhh, really? We had a perfect warm night, my mummy totally closed again, but to say,
I dive in the river to fresh up… hell no. We decided to leave for a proper hike as soon as possible, but first instant coffee and porridge (Yammie!!) and of course a little chat with the neighboors. Always nice to share the experience a bit. Another beautiful sunny frosty day ahead of us. It gives me an excited feeling.
Hiking on a Sunday in the Ardennes around Houffalize, is meeting family’s on the way. We do not care, enough stretches left in silence. Dreaming away about trips to come, how I shall start to get back in hiking shape again, how important it is to do these kinda things together or alone. It relieves your mind, even if there is nothing to relieve. When is the next empty weekend in our agenda?