Deciding what to discover next in Belgium is often a hit-and-miss affair. There are so many places to explore. How does one make a choice?
Pulling out my maps of Wallonia, I settled on the one entitled Marchin/Modave, and upon opening it my eyes were caught by the name Outrelouxhe. Now wouldn’t that be an interesting place to write about! Unheard of. Unpronounceable. Unexplored. At least by me.
And slightly exotic. The kind of mysterious place Daenerys Targaryen would drop into on her journey from Vaes Dothrak to Lhazerene. (Apologies to non-fans of Game of Thrones).
Of course, that wasn’t my sole prerequisite for a good hike. I also wanted a walk in the forests, to take advantage of the autumnal colours, alongside a river, and through some pretty Ardennes villages. Looking at the map, Outrelouxhe seemed to offer everything.
I started from … yes, you’ve guessed, a church. This one was in the tiny hamlet of Rausa, just outside Outrelouxhe.From there I set off along the footpath to the right of the church, heading north-west, and the first sight I came across was this:
I’m not sure what he was looking for, and I didn’t have the heart to disturb him, but I quietly wished him well in his quest and went on my way. I then came across something much more recognizable. Any guesses?
Some trees can be so heavily infected that they eventually die, which isn’t good for the tree or the mistletoe. They spread from tree to tree when birds eat the berries and wipe their beaks clean on a branch. The seeds get pushed into the bark and start growing.
Speaking of trees, I was now into the depths of Bois de St. Lambert, and amidst some of the most glorious autumn colours I have ever had the joy to experience.
I also ran into a strange sight in the middle of the forest. Miles from anywhere, on a footpath on which I had not seen a soul, in a small clearing was this:
And what about the village of Outrelouxhe itself? Well, despite the glamour that I had given it, it was really quite nondescript and soul-less. Certainly not a suitable stopping-off place for Queen Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons. Yes, there were some lovely traditional Ardennes cottages:
But nothing that I could find that suggested life and vitality: no café, corner shop, social centre, although I did find a baker’s. And a friendly inhabitant!
The route I took was 11 km in length. It’s vaguely signposted, but I made a combination of two paths, so if you want to follow my route you are best following the map here on RouteYou.