Everytime I cross Dinaut on my way to Germany it reminds me of Dina Aunty and then Dina Pathak’s face comes floating into my mind. Another image that stands out clearly are the cows on green meadows in between fields. Though it reminds me a lot of Swiss landscape, there is a difference and both are extremely beautiful countryside.
Once I had to take a detour due to a traffic jam. I cursed the traffic jam and then the navigation system (god bless these in such situations though at other times I view this with suspicion…) suggested a detour to help me. As I cruised through a rustic village with stone houses and farmyards with signs of fresh butter for sale, I blessed the traffic jam too and dreamt of an idyllic farmland life raising cows sending them to graze and churning butter. As I joined the highway back, I was awakened into my fast life with a jolt. For a minute it had me wonder why I was on a roller coaster fast life not even waiting to stop to take a look.
In recent times though Dinaut region in Ardennes in Belgium has been taking a different kind of meaning. Whenever any outdoor activity comes up, I find it is in the area of Dinaut and the Ardennes. Hike through La Roche, my book said, and find beautiful castles and water. Next time I crossed the area I looked closely as the sign at the exit said “Neufchateaux” (Nine castles) – my hand itched to turn there.
So there was no question when a colleague/friend asked me whether I would like to go Kayaking.
“I do not know swimming”.
“You get life jacket” – she said.
“The water is not too deep” – another colleague chimed in.
Having been denied the opportunity a few years ago, I said yes, ever willing to try a new adventure. This morning as I woke up and saw the SMS that the colleague supposed to come with me could not make it. I panicked – am I crazy? Now my other colleagues will also have to take care of me and I will not have a partner. I considered canceling and then decided to go.
As I approached the water, having agreed with another colleague and good friend that we could be together I shivered on this warm day and settled into the kayak. It was THE most beautiful place I have taken a long trip through – dense leaves hung on either side, rocks jutted out and our kayak’s bottom growled as we passed the rocks too close at times. We got stuck many times and Francis, the gentleman he is, got out and pulled the kayak from the top of the rock or from in between. We got stuck in between 2 trees in between and he gallantly stood on the tree truck to push two kayaks out. We helped and bumped into other kayakers. As the castle loomed up on the cliff of perpendicular rocks we inhaled a quick and deep breath. We laughed through as Francis said turn right and I promptly went left getting us into the stickiest places.
People had picnic on the pebbled beaches, we stopped at “the” Friterie, there were kayaks with dogs in them and 2 golden retrievers who came swimming towards us. A dark blue dragon fly with bright blue wings danced around us… small fish tried to escape our feet as we walked towards the pebbled beaches. Ducks slept on the banks below the tree trucks and long grass on the banks of the river. White butterflies flew around us. An occasional train reminded me that we are a part of a technical world though soon after this, horsemen/women passed behind the trees transporting me centuries back making me think that there were knights on look out for the spy that I was trying to reach the cliff on which the castle sat to climb into the castle’s chamber to assassinate and usurp the ownership and the lordship of the area.
There are no words to describe this trip – I leave you with some links to the place since I did not carry my camera.
A rival company kayaks on the Lesse river:
Kayaking from Houyet to Anseremme – 21kms:
and here is a website with many pictures including the castle (it is highly recommended).