I have claimed in the past that Belgium doesn’t have any mountains. That is true, objectively speaking, but not necessarily if you ask a Belgian.
French-speaking Belgians indiscriminately include ‘mont’ as either prefix or suffix to the name of places that decidedly are flat. The Flemish are equally liberal in their use of ‘daal’ and ‘berg’ about places where not even water would be able to tell which way to flow.
My epiphany came in the realization that a decent valley can exist without a proper mountain. And it has been in this realization that I have found the most rewarding, pleasing, and unexpected vistas of Belgium.
For a man sufficiently starved on mountains, a hill can be a persuasive surrogate. And, it must be admitted Belgium excels in hills.
The most gratifying hills I have come across, thus far, are those at Le Herou in Parc Naturel des Deux Ourthes.
Here, a path takes you along a long, winding, and at times steep ridge that sits between two meandering loops of the Ourthe river. At the several outcrops, deeply pleasing views of the river-valley below can be had.
These views were balm to my soul and instrumental to my mental health this past summer. If nothing else good came of the pandemic, at least it encouraged me to explore natural Belgium. For that, I am grateful.
As today is the 24th of December, I would like to wish everyone who has read this a very Merry Christmas and thank you for sharing in my slow-moving, narrow-gauge train of thought.
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