At an aire in Champagne a guy Steve met recommended visiting an area in Belgium, just north of where we were.
So the next day, Poppy’s eight month birthday, we drove north to the Ardenne/Wallonia area in southern Belgium. It was full of beautiful forests and pretty, dark-grey stone houses with red geranium planter boxes.
We tried to get lunch as we crossed over the border from France, but all the cafes seemed to be selling were huge tubs of tabacco (maybe it’s cheaper in Belgium so people came there to stock up), so we cooked up a lunch of honey-glazed duck breast in the van in a forest instead. Poppy didn’t mind – she loved the chance to get out and practice her standing.
That night we stayed at camp site in the town of Bohan Sur Semois called Camping Des Bouleaux. It was right next to river with a beautiful stone arch bridge that had been partially destroyed by a World War Two Allied forces bomb to disrupt a Nazi supply route.
The camp site owners were absolutely lovely and were so excited to see Poppy, but I think we were a bit of a novelty as they weren’t used to campervaners like us.
Although the grounds were leafy, the bathrooms looked like they hadn’t seen a decorator or cleaner since around the time the nearby bridge was bombed and you had to have a key for the toilets (everyone got an assigned personal toilet) and showers, which you had to pay for.
Poppy loved our walk along the river because we saw all her favourite things: dogs, cats, ducks, horses and other young kids playing.
In town, Steve had a great local Trappist beer and I had a delicious apple beer at La Taverne Ardennaise. Poppy couldn’t keep her eyes off the stuffed wild boar’s head that was on the wall above our table. The ceiling was also full of hundreds of vintage beer mugs and a stuffed wild cat.
The place where we had lunch (its name in English translates to ‘The Good Old Times’) also had fab retro beer paraphernalia covering the walls. Apparently the locals, Wallolians, love a bit of cheesy nostalgia.