Waking up hearing the birds sing and looking directly down across a spring-flowered meadow towards a heavily wooded valley we couldn’t help wonder if the cows – also just waking – know how lucky they are.
Yes the clouds were grey (we were in Belgium after all!) but we were warm in our bivvy bags after a dry and comfortable night’s sleep out in the open. We had taken along a tarpaulin and decided to fashion a “basha” out of it to protect us from the promised nocturnal rain. A heavy, but short-lived, drizzle came just as we were settling down and it felt justified. In fact this was all the rain we had on the whole trip which seems extremely fortunate, given all the recent weather.
A massive all-night thunderstorm had presumably (and understandably) put many people off, and when we finally met on the northbound train at 6pm on Friday evening we were but two. All the way up the sky was dark and grey and the rain lashed the train windows. Upon alighting at Kautenbach, however, the rain had stopped and there were even some blue skies.
There is something almost magical about rushing off after work, fighting the crowds at the city centre station, jostling on a busy commuter train only to suddenly find yourself cycling in a deserted tree-lined valley, a river gurgling below and an evening’s ride ahead. An hour ago we were at our desks! Now we are alone, breathing clean air and relishing the rain-fresh smells of forests and fields. It’s a stunning way to leave work behind.
We followed the charming Wiltz into Belgium before heading north, skirting Bastogne to find the hidden ‘bivouac zone’ where camping for one night is permitted. The light was just beginning to fade by the time the tarp was up, and we cooked up a pot-luck vegetable stew, anything anyone has brought along goes into this and the half bottle of wine was an addition to the pot well worth the weight of carrying it! Not sure anyone has ever enjoyed a stew more than we did that night.
Another advantage of bivvying is how quick and easy it is to pack up in the morning. Savouring the views as we enjoyed a heartening breakfast and then we were soon we were off, once more into the wild delights of the Ardennes and northern Luxembourg.
An adventure well worth having, and one that is so easily accessible for anyone in the Grand Duchy. We will try to repeat this event; look out for future announcements and join us!