Today is predicted to be the rainiest day, so we decide during breakfast to do a woodsy walk in the hope that the trees will protect us a bit. We pick a walk from the flyer of the OstBelgien tourisme office, it’s a bit further away – about half an hour by car – but we have loads of time anyway. The highway to the south passes by places I remember from my childhood excursions: Xhoffrai, Hockai, Solwaster, Malmédy, Spa, .. We used to come here to hike on Sundays, with hot chocolate milk and buns with tuna salad. Once we came on New Years Day and brought champagne and cake!

We park at the beer museum in Rodt and follow the educational trail through the arboretum. It’s drizzling, but we’re well prepared and should be mostly waterproof. Even the camera has its own little watertight sleeve, looks a bit odd maybe but I can whip it out for a picture in two seconds!

We’re going north towards Recht, following wide gravel or asphalt roads, which frankly becomes a bit tedious after a while. Looking at the map, we can see that there are smaller trails nearby, but the official tour determinedly sticks to boring roads. Not much protection from the persistent drizzle, either.. We stride on, past the Schieferstollen mine (no info panels here, though Google knows they mined for slate here) and through the edges of Recht until we hit the L47A RAVeL (a RAVeL is a road reserved for slow traffic on tow paths or ancient railroads). We’ve been getting hungry, but no sheltered benches to be found, so we pick a more or less flat rock under the trees and have our cheese-ham-lettuce-tomato-mayo sandwich, artisanally prepared on the kitchen table this morning.

covered from head to toe in waterproof/water-repellent gear

A bit further on we notice a concrete structure looking out over the valley. Could be a bunker from the second world war or something related to the old railroad, the map doesn’t know (when I look online later, Google doesn’t know either).

Onwards! No matter how boring the road and rain, we will find out what this tour is about. These roads must go somewhere, otherwise why follow them? What are these asphalt roads doing here, in the middle of the forest? They’re not used by heavy machinery, I think, the surface is too undamaged. Once we get to the busy N675 road, where trucks thunder past at high speed, we give up our search for the meaning of the route, look at the map (I mean the smart phone application) and pick a nice looking trail back to the car. We’re pretty tired, with this kind of weather (and the lack of benches) we didn’t stop for breaks except briefly at lunchtime.

To compensate for the boring roads on the walk, we take the scenic route back to Limbourg, almost passing over the highest point of the country (694 m) and admiring the highland fens. We’ll come back here later this week to explore on foot and avoid asphalt roads!

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