settling in

I wake up a few minutes before the alarm goes off at seven. This is a trick I only manage to pull off on holidays, so I suspect it has to do with active days and better sleep. It’s pretty chilly in the house: there’s no central heating and it takes a while for the electrical heaters to warm up a room. We have the usual breakfast while planning the day, accompanied by rousing waltz music from the boom box. We’ll do a walk in the morning – to avoid the crowds – and do some grocery shopping in the afternoon. From home we brought some exotic stuff that you cannot easily find, like berberé spice mix (delicious), my home-made sugar free fruit jam (also delicious), but we’ll need some more ingredients. Since all restaurants are closed, we’ll have to prepare our own breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

When we leave the car in the parking lot of the La Gileppe reservoir around nine thirty, there are a few other cars but it looks like we’re early enough to avoid the crowds that this lot was obviously built to expect. It’s not too cold and it’s supposed to stay dry, so I start the hike with three merino wool layers and a windstopper. I’m carrying my camera with the 24mm lens on the self-made harness and the rest of the camera gear in my backpack. Arne’s carrying a small pack with a thermos filled with hot tea, a few snacks and sundries. We follow the Wikiloc hike into the hills around the lake, wading through a deep carpet of crispy leaves. We encounter a few other walkers, also some mountain bikers, but in general it’s pretty quiet. We reminisce about previous travels, look out for wildlife – but fail to find it – and enjoy the color of the leaves in the sunshine. We sit down on one of the benches to share two Chimpanzee bars, I advise the one with dark chocolate and seasalt!

It’s much busier when we get back down to the reservoir and the parking lot is actually full: not very surprising, it is a weekend day and hiking/cycling is about the only activity left to do at this moment of the lock down. No need to wear a mouth mask though, the paths are wide enough to allow social distancing.

On the way home we stop at a grocery store and Arne goes in to search for the ingredients we listed this morning. We’re back in the house around two and have a quick lunch before setting out once more, this time on foot to explore the medieval burg of Limbourg. It’s tiny but pretty, with a big church, an old castle and great views from the ramparts. It takes us a small hour, so when we get back we take our time, first a shower and then more Mandalorian episodes, I like it! We have bubbles and appetizers and then later a burger for dinner, this time with eighties disco hits.

Now the important question of the evening: which movie to watch..

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