One of my friends from high school invited me to spend the weekend in Oudenaarde with her since she was there with her family who has a holiday home in that area. I had never been there and as a girl with a great desire to explore the world, I didn’t hesitate for one more second and immediately said I would be honoured visit Oudenaarde with her, which is in Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium by the way.
My lovely mom proposed to bring me, so I didn’t have to take the train, which would take more time and wouldn’t be cheap either. Odin, my Border Collie pup, was allowed to come with me as my loyal companion. Apparently my friend’s grandparents also had a dog that had a need for a buddy to play with.
The only thing I didn’t know beforehand is that the dog my friend was talking about was a huge Danish Dog named Yana (Odin could walk under her legs), which was quite surprising for the moment. When we arrived Yana was very interested in this young dog she had never seen (or smelled in dog language) before. They went playing in the huge garden and didn’t stop until the moment we went home again. They were probably head over heels in love with each other.
Anyway, not only the garden was a great surprise, but also the house itself was quite noteworthy. When I entered the house, I immediately noticed the smell of an old wooden house, which was absolutely lovely and remembered me of Bokrijk, a Belgian open air museum where historic aspects like old houses and culture are exhibited. Certainly when I saw the old walls and furniture of the holiday house, or should I say mansion, I couldn’t say a word because I was too impressed. I had never entered a house as old as this one (except for the village in Bokrijk).
I dropped my suitcase, we ate some pastries and then my friend, the dogs and I went outside to explore the surroundings. I can assure you, the view was absolutely stunning, especially during the sunset hours. I always thought Belgium was entirely urbanised and ugly (for a nature maniac as me), but the Flamish Ardennes have proved me wrong. There is so much more to discover, even in a small country like Belgium, which I see as a challenge that I will definitely take up.
The dogs could walk and play without a leash on since the pathways were calm and except of some bicyclists, we came across no one. Furthermore, we took nice photographs, tanned in the sun and found a geocache. Geocaching is one of my hobbies. I will explain the concept in one of the following blog posts, but I can already tell you that it is sort of a real life treasure hunt.
Then I came with the idea to sleep in a tent and my friend agreed, so we went looking for a tent, a flashlight and an inflatable bed. Once we found all these things, we went to ‘bed’ and watched the warm sun going down. Of course we knew that we wouldn’t sleep well, but I couldn’t care less because my first night camping and sleeping under the stars is a fact now! At 6 A.M. we were both wide awake again.
The day after we walked to the other side of the village, but both dogs were exhausted, so after three hours we went back to the holiday house and took a nap in the giant hammock in the garden. However, we didn’t want to waste time, so we ate lunch and decided to drive to a lake named Donkvijver where we rented a kayak, but that, my dear readers, is an adventure for next week. I can already tell you that it was absolutely an amazing experience, even so great that I’ve rented a kayak again the next Sunday. You will hear of that too in one of the coming blog posts.