Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lazy Saturday in Dinant

Last Saturday we drove down the road (~45 minutes) to Dinant - a little, picturesque town in Belgium. Dinant is situated right on the River Meuse and boasts an onion-topped cathedral nestled beside cliffs which are topped with a citadel. The scene is charming - even in the misty, foggy weather - the type of weather we had on Saturday.
The Proctors met us there and we immediately set our sights on getting to the top of the cliffs to see the citadel up close. (By the way, do you know what the difference is between a fortress and a citadel? I am curious). Kirk and Karen took the kids up the cable car funicular, but I wanted to try out the old stairs to scale the cliff. Good exercise! Tony was kind enough to join me! We "felt the burn!"
We reunited at the top and joined the French tour guide to explore the inside of the citadel. I can't tell you too much about the official history of the place since the tour was entirely French and the guide didn't speak a lick of English, but it was a fun place to navigate. There were tunnels and old prison cells. And I gathered this was an important base during WWI and in previous battles. The view from the top was breathtaking and it was interesting to think of the defense and preparation that took place here long ago.
By far the strangest part of the tour was the small room that is still in tact despite suffering a direct bomb hit. It has completely shifted and is crooked. When you walk through it your center of gravity and sense of vertical is shifted. So everyone walks sideways and gets dizzy. (We took turns without the kids). I really think there must be something magnetic about the site too because it was absolutely the strangest sensation.
We trucked it back down the mountain and had lunch along the river. And before we left Dinant we found the golden saxophone sculpture to snap a few photos. Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone, was born in Dinant.
On the way home Kirk and I drove to Rochefort, Belgium - 30 minutes from Dinant. We wanted to check out the Rocheford Trappist Abbey and Brewery. But it was closed so we only saw the outside. Oh well.
Dinant was a wonderful day trip from Brussels. Easy-peasy to reach, gorgeous scenery, and enough fun, interactive things of note for the kids. Even a stone car passage cut directly into the mountain! Click here for more photos of Dinant (full album)

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