As mentioned in my previous post the reason was our wedding anniversary. But t was not a case of just going to Beluga. We wanted to make it a mini holiday and it worked.
We left on Wednesday and drove down. It is a 2.5 hour drive and we happily followed the motorway down and watched the landscape change. The south of Limburg is has some hills and is as it has been part of other countries over the years a different feel to it. The Belgian, French and German influences are clear and the landscape feels almost foreign.
We’d selected a hotel in the old town in an old house. Bit more luxury and personal attention than what we usually have, but then again it was a special occasion.The beds turned out to be soft. You know the type where you lay down and the mattress sort of envelopes you completely. So soft that no princess would have detected any pea in there. It was nice for a few nights but we prefer a more firm mattress.
We arrived just before 18.00 and parked our car and went to our massive ballroom size room. Seriously it was huge, luxurious and a bit cold. We got the heater going and went for dinner in Cafe Sjiek, Sjiek is the almost phonetic spelling of chique and traditionally used to describe class amongst the working class. It was a little cafe and we shared a table as that is where the free chairs were. The food can only be described as down to earth, basic and hugely flavoursome. SO had the pork belly and I had the black pudding with apple. It was a very nice meal in a nice environment.
The next day we went to the Bonnefanten museum. This museum is located in an amazing building designed by Rossi architects. It takes a little time to figure out how it works with the very central staircase. Unfortunately they were in the midst of major upgrades so not all exhibition areas were in use, just two levels. The lower levels had exhibitions of somewhat older art. A lot of religious stuff in there. But also nice stuff from a painter that captured in the past buildings being torn down and silverware that has been made locally. The best part was a film they were showing on how these religious paintings on wood were made. It just had a very odd ending, but showed the craftsmanship and the patience needed. Still don’t like the art itself but respect for the artists.
On the second floor more modern art, generally speaking more our interest. Navid Nuur was one of the exhibitions and to be honest I did not like it. Not boring, more “meh” type thing. An artist that has a massive art piece saying “Whatever” looses my interest immediately. But others will like it and that is fine too.
Other exhibitions though really did appeal; Alex Elshocht exhibition was intriguing, dark and at the same time had a lot of feverish need to it. I liked it. There there were the Kammer spiele. Not all of it I liked a lot but it pulled me in and entertained me. Some of it was simply beautiful some of it was funny and some of it invoked more thinking. That is what I like in art.
After this museum we had lunch and just a bid of zen reading in our hotel room before going to Beluga. The next day we wandered through the city for a while I found some shoes on sale and we had a coffee with vlaai in a nice cafe. Opposite that cafe I saw a Lana Grossa store. Oh dear not going there, not going there. After our coffee we went to the local market and were amazed. Lots of fabric stalls which made me very happy and then the Fish area opened up. Man they had more fish stalls there than we have and we are close to the sea! Seriously so many fresh fish and so many different varieties We were so impressed. One large one we asked and he told us “Nah the western part of the country is where we get our stuff Not on any markets there”. Right We need to go and get to a different fish monger as this was amazing. From there we went back to the hotel and SO went for a run.
I was knitting while he was away. It is a sweater for SO and I feared running out of wool before it was finished and then I remembered the Lana Grossa in the city!. After SO returned we went there and they still had that wool (last season) in the correct colour. Not the same bath, but as I already have had to use 3 different ones a fourth one won’t hurt further. Now I can relax. I am going to finish it.
After that we sat in a little cafe and read, relaxed, talked and really loved the just being. We stayed for hours and even had dinner there. A salad for me and SO went for zoervleisj a local speciality We went to bed at a reasonable time, The students across the street did not and we were woken around 2 am by their party. Nothing major (just stupidity) but they’d opened the windows and had woken us. After about 15 minutes SO opened our window and managed to locate the source of the noise. And though he did not see anybody he shouted asking it to be turned down. Incredibly that was done immediately and we went back to sleep. The next morning we drove home. Well rested and ready to take on the world again.