FRIDAY, 23rd May
Did our shopping in Dinant again, including a delicious looking tarte aux poires, sardines for the children’s dinner, pate for us and fresh bread. Went around the supermarket which was interesting, most things are more expensive than at home. Bought a frozen blanquette de veau for our supper .
Then drove out, up the hill again to Lavaux Ste Anne, the hunting museum. Castle is generous,with great round towers, cobbled yard and approach, you could just imagine the horses clattering in, no-one of quality would be expected to walk on those stones. Enclosures for the various animals who were hunted. 2 wild bear 3 striped babies in an almost bald enclosure for 2 deer families and swans and ducks in the moat .Went around the castle, full of hunting trophies – antlers, horns, heads,fur rugs, stuffed bird etc. In one room all the furniture made of antlers! However they do seem to have had a change of heart on this subject , and are now trying to conserve the birds and game – one room had a collection of all birds found in Belgium and maps of where ornithological reserves are located.
Had our dinner overlooking the moat, very sunny and nice, Gareth anxious to partake of our verres de vin…
This day seems to be School Outing Day in Belgium – coaches of school children everywhere, including Lavaux Ste Anne and teachers looking somewhat harassed, as well they might.
Continued on to Spontin, which is a feudal castle still occupied and is down in the valley commanding the road in stead of upon the hill as is more common. This castle has a drawbridge still in working order, slits for boiling oil and arrows, and all things necessary for a delicious battle – just what Andrew likes. The interior of the military part fascinating, very thick walls, old weapons – including 600 year old chain-mail – tremendous fire-places , a well, secret passage and lookout towers. The newer residential part, built to replace the earlier residence which had been destroyed, much less attractive, in sham Gothic. Best thing a 400 piece Brussels china dinner service in white and gold.
After the castle had a session in a nearby playground – 2 slides, into the sandpit to their delight, and a kind of wooden roller you stand on and revolve , kept Sarah very busy trying to master it. Andrew needless to say, found it much more difficult. They enjoyed this playground, so that was all right.
When we got home, had our blanquette de veau which was very tasty then sat, with the tent front up, watching everyone arrive. Car after car, loaded to the tops poured into the site till dark and after. Had a very entertaining time watching the tents go up, especially one very inexperienced man with a brand new green and orange one. Walked around the site inspecting other people’s tents etc. – a very interesting walk. Some even bring motor mowers and lots have very neat ‘gardens’ some with flower beds.