Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back to Liege in October

Lena standing on the promenade above Liege
I first visited Lena in Liege, Belgium, back in February, and have since dropped by in June and again in July. Here in Luxembourg (and other catholic countries), Tuesday the first of November was a public holiday called All Saints Day (the day after Halloween, it's a day commemorating deceased who have reached heaven, so you go put flowers on graves), and as Jacquie was in the Netherlands for work the weeks before and after, Rogier decided to take Monday off and go up with the kids for a long weekend. So, I decided to hitch a ride with them as far as Liege in Belgium, and then train back to Luxembourg by myself on Monday night.
Liege in Autumn
The trip up was probably the best car ride I've had with the kids, we got organised really quickly in the morning and they were really well behaved. I got there at lunchtime, so we went to a new Pakistani place and had tandoori chicken chapati kebab things, and then whiled away the afternoon drinking tea and hanging out in the park.

View of the Foire from the Ferris wheel
Lena's mum is an awesome cook, so after we had a delicious dinner at home we went to the Foire d'Octobre, or the October Fair. It's a huge carnival that runs from the first weekend in October until 11 November, all spread out along the city's main boulevard, with rides, games, food boothes and stalls selling stuff like crafts and clothing. The one thing I noticed was the lack of ittle wooden sheds selling beer or wine like you get at fairs in Germany or Luxembourg.

We went on what felt like the ferris wheel of death, I'm sure its the tallest one I've ever been on, and the seats were like buckets hanging from one pole, so they could rock and spin around in circles, and there wasn't a cage or anything to hold you in. It scared me more than the bungy ball back at the Schueberfouer in Luxembourg, much to Lena's amusement. I had a huge waffle, dipped in white chocolate and covered in strawberries, cream and more chocolate, and also tried the Liege speciality 'Lacquemant', a wafer dipped in syrup, allegedly invented in 1903. I'm not really a fan, tastes like a war, dry biscuit dipped in maple syrup, the texture really doesn't do it for me.

We'd planned on going out, but as most students in Belgium return from their university city to their home towns and villages on the weekends, and even more so this week with the holiday, the place was pretty dead and we were both really tired, and after a few beers we decided to go home.

On Sunday morning we went with Lena's mum to the weekly riverside market that I'd gone to in February. She brought a few odds and ends, flowers and bread, and I brought a childrens 'my first words' picture book in French! We brought some roasted chestnuts as I'd never tried them before. Apparently these ones weren't very good, but I don't think I'd like them anyway, they are pretty flavourless and have a weird texture too, kind of like a moist scone. We sat at a cafe for coffee, and then headed back for lunch.

That afternoon, Lena and I walked along the promenade of the les Coteaux de la Citadelle, a walk along a ridge in the north of the city, behind the Palace of the Princes in Place St-Lambert and close to Lena's place. We started by walking through some crazy alleyways, with heaps of stairs to go up. It's kind of like Wellington, people live off these tiny alleys with no road access to their houses. At the top of the ridge, we walked through trees until we came out at a spot with a couple of buildings, I think the Citadelle was one of them, and a promenade with a great view over Liege. It was quite an amazing walk.

Lena 'cooked' dinner for us (she's got quite a reputation for not being able to cook anything!), reheating her mum's boulettes a la liegeoise, and frying chips with my help, and then we sat around watching a movie.

me with the speculoos waffle and fries
On Monday we had a couple of beers at one of our favourite bars, and then went back to the Foire so that I could get Belgian fries and another waffle, this time dipped in white chocolate and covered with speculoos cookies, cream and melted speculoos spread. It was heaven, and I expect it's to blame for my pants not fitting so well after the weekend! And then I was off, the train ride home was kind of intense, I ended up on a non-direct train and had to wait around another city quite a bit, and they are doing roadworks near the Belgian-Luxembourgish border, so it took over three hours to get home to the empty dark house. A pretty relaxed weekend, but good to get away for a bit and to see part of Liege that I hadn't been to before.

More photos from this trip to Liege are here.

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