Basically, yesterday we rode 30 minutes to get to this random far away city called Durbuy (Belgium) – because my dad said it was known as the smallest city ‘in the world’. But then, we were driving into the town and noticed that, ‘oh, it was actually tourist packed and absolutely huge. But we still walked around because my dad was meeting up with an old friend who was the head of the touristy things, and there was also a Christmas market with a lot of food so uhh yes.
These are some of the pictures I took, and I’ll also be incorporating some facts and just random bits of writing about what was going on (:
First of all, this is the face that we all made when my parents suddenly announced that they knew the town wasn’t that special, and that it was doing some fake advertising, claiming to be the ‘smallest town in the world’.
It really wasn’t. It must have definitely been at one point, but because of all the tourism and new needs of being a city – it expanded a loooottt. After getting out of the car and going up some small hills, we had to cross this bridge to get to the actual place. From there, it did kind of look as if it was some old town that had all the original buildings and things – ahhhh we were wrong. There were some, but behind them it was just *modern* *modern* *modern*.
We met up with the person who was sort of going to lead us around, (my dad’s old friend) and after talking for a bit we went to sit down in this cafe place that had to nicest decor ever. All the chairs and tables were made out of just wood, and each chair had a different type of soft fare fur on them (:
Me and my sister drank coke, (which I hadn’t had in a pretty long time) whilst my mum got hot chocolate and my brother water, etc. Eating was for later on.
The sad thing was, because we were outside, the cafe had put those blazing red heaters on that was facing my back directly. And it’s not like I needed them on, because I was wearing all winter attire. So I just ended up completely roasting my neck and having to get up and go on a short walk with Clara before the flames reached my muscles or something.
On our little walk, where there was not really anything exciting to photograph, we saw this statue on a restaurant’s terrace of this baby-devil type thing, riding this huge boar… So obviously I had to take a picture with it. Quite a few pictures actually.
We did return to our table afterwards because of the lack of stuff to see. I have to mention, we did go into the direction of the car park so that would make sense. Anyways, when we had established we had had enough time to finish our drinks, (I did not) we continued walking and went through the Christmas market/stands until we reached this eating cavern situation. If you didn’t know, (which will be the case) Durbuy as a town is apparently notorious for its potatoes with Foie-Gras. (goose liver – yeah I know..why?) And so my parents were led to try some at that special eating place.
Now, the dish is basically half a potato with some Foie Gras on top. How much was it ? €3.00 !!! (the equivalent of £2.66) For half a potato ! That’s just a general comment that we all made afterwards.
Whilst the adults were enjoying their potato halves, my dad’s friend (the tour guy) showed us that, next to us, their was an entire frekkin wooden crate filled with potatoes. If you know me and my siblings personally – you would know we have this strange unexplained craze about potatoes as a species – and so we did take some potatoes out of that crate and to my grandmother’s apartment. Everyone around was staring at us taking potatoes out of the crate, but hey we didn’t get told off about it or anything. How generous.
We came to this small open space in the market, and we were showed the first anticline of Durbuy, which was the smaller one, and its basically “a ridge-shaped fold of stratified rock in which the strata slope downward from the crest“. And apparently it was formed around 300 million years ago. Which is pretty cool to have in a semi-modern city.
There was also this random wall that didn’t really fit in with any of the surrounding buildings, and that is because it was one of the last remains of the original castle that had stood there centuries ago. Bricks from other parts of the castle were then used to build other things such as houses in the city.
Here comes the part of this day that I found the best, which was looking around in this completely pirate themed pub/bar. It looked soooooo amazing. In front of it, there was this cage that kind of weirded me out before I knew it was attached to this cafe, and in the cage there were obviously skeletons – because pirates. There was a sign that said there was a whole pirate day on Halloween this past year, which I can imagine must have been amazing.
The bar itself was called the ‘Tortuga Bar’, which immediately caught my attention because Tortuga is a real life island, but it’s also mentioned in the Pirates of The Caribbean movies. I don’t know if they got the name from that though.
Inside of the bar, they really went for the hoarders look. You can see it on the pictures, but they had everything from guns, to old feathers, to more skulls, to weird dreadlocks, birdcages, fake fish, many bottles of fake pirate’s rum, ships, parrots, dolls, picture frames, ‘wanted’ posters, and the list goes on. I mean, even the staff realistically dressed up as pirates. Thats some good effort right there !
We sadly didn’t get anything there, because we had just done so somewhere else. (and because there wasn’t any space due to how many people wanted to be there) We did go and eat somewhere else though – as we wanted to get some ‘Smoutebollen’ (dutch) – because we always used to get them when living in Belgium and going to fairs :
They’re really good. I think we got 16 of them, which might not seem that much for five people – but really, they are absolutely huge (and very difficult to eat actually)
Right before we ate those and we separated from our tour guide human though, we quickly got given another quite interesting fact about Durbuy. In the past, it used to be an actual island, and so the river that you saw on the pictures at the start actually ran through the whole of the part we were walking. (The fair + the open space and streets etc.) In the 17th century, the river started to dry up and so ground was obviously exposed which led to Durbuy not being an island anymore.
I’m pretty sure that now, that’s why the hotel next to that open space is called ‘Hotel The River’ – because a river used to run right next to where it’s located. Otherwise that name would make absolutely no sense, other than being ‘artistic’.
Across this Hotel there was this attraction for children called ‘The Love Wheel’. For children. Yeah it seemed creepy to us too. The terrifying part, however, was that each of the seats either had Elsa from frozen, or Dora, or a humongous Barbie face as the background. That’s the stuff you get nightmares from. Also, the way I took the picture, the dark trees in the background make it seem even more sinister (:
There was this type of small park as well, where the other anticline (the larger one) was. It’s a fact that a lot of geologists in the area find this a very interesting collection of rock to study. I don’t know the specific reason though. Geography isn’t a subject I particularly enjoy, and I’ve seen more impressive things in places like Cassis (France) – so I wasn’t tooooo impressed by this sight. It did obviously look nice.
The next 20 minutes or so were spent walking around and literally just looking. We walked in circles a couple times, because every old building looks the same, but hey I got some interesting pictures so why not right.
You could definitely tell that all the buildings in this street were old ones that were considered ‘originals’, especially the one in the picture below, because the door is so low. I’ve literally told each person this story when visiting historic places like Hampton Court, and I always say that “the doors are so low because throughout history, the average human got taller because of improved health methods and simply life expectancies, therefore doors on older buildings are so small – as humans were wayyyy shorter back then“.
The last thing we did was go to a small shop to buy some things for my grandmother, as a small 2 day early Christmas present. Everything was really nicely stacked and displayed – and there was loads of candy but we didn’t take any. Depressing. Cruel. We got her :
- mirabelle confituur
- terrine de canard – foie gras
Yes its all dutch and french deal with it.
AAAAANNNDD then we went back to my grandmother’s apartment. Overall it was quite a fun day, but mostly because of the pictures and that I get to write about it. That’s always the thing I have with visiting places I’m not that interested in : ‘This will make a great blogpost!’ (:
some random pictures that didn’t really fit in anywhere :