... Poupehan 'River Runs Through It'
Not much happening here of a morning so after taking a photo of Van Gogh old residents, no point going in as a) have to pay but more importantly b) they are just prints of his masterpieces, we are off to the city of Mons which is rich in history and tradition it seems as the town hall building on the Grand Place, constructed between 1458 and 1477 is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a Belfry. Here each year they hold an important event called the 'Ducasse de Mons' dating back to 1349 and the Fraternity of Saint George. Each June, the city is filled with visitors who come to witness the reenactment of Saint George slaying the Dragon...why don't we do this if he's our patron saint??!! As the dragon swings its tail at the crowd, spectators try to grab the tail and pull out its hair and ribbons, both of which bring good luck. This popular festival is recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity...erm a what?! Yep no clue myself what that is and therefore its existence! This year Mons will also be the European Capital Of Culture...again, a what?!?
What i do know of Mons is that the Town Hall's public toilets needs a good old clean as when you went in the smell of it was enough to send the rats packing...but needs must and all that! After walking through the buildings of time here it was time to head back to the van where we saw students now all dotted around with their sketchbooks open and a pencil to draw the architecture, monuments and landscapes for class. Me, i just walk past them, stop, bring out the camera, turn on camera, aim, shoot, turn camera off and walk on by...got my picture or art in a matter of seconds and i do believe that yours will take a whole load longer!
Next on the agenda for today is Namur, the capital of Belgium's French-speaking region, which sits along the River Meuse and surrounded by one of Europe's largest ancient citadels, first built during the 3rd and 4th centuries, and later reconstructed during the 13th and 14th centuries. This is the capital of castles with one called the Castle of Veves having a fairytale look and dating back to 1410, which overlooks the village of Celles and is still lived in by the original family. We headed to the top of the mountain to look upon the town below where there is a fort but this is closed...and a couple who looked to come to see it was disappointed as i showed them the locked doors. Ellie though was playing daredevil and loving it as she was walking on the mountain walls so that she could get a better view of the sheep down below that we could hear...certainly not afraid of heights this one, or has the most confidence in me to make sure she doesn't get into any accidents!
Back to the van and we stay by the side of the River as this is where Dinant is situation also. Here they have Caves of Han and the Grotto of Dinant that are some of the natural attractions that bring the visitors here. We park by the River and walk the km to the bridge and cross on over to the centre to see more closely the city's main landmark of the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame which was partially rebuilt after a massive landslide. What i also see is that there are flags of the world on the bridge in which we cross and large saxophones, loads of them on here and on the streets. They are all different and colourful and i couldn't quite get the design of what they were meant to be, so it was handy they each had a plaque on the bottom and it was one for each country of the world...well maybe not quite every country as there are 196 which is a fact left in my brain after a pub quiz one time!
The UK one, well leaves a lot to be desired but they had one all the same, with the Union Jack flying on the bridge also which makes me think just how close i am to coming on home, without too much incidents apart from the major city adventures to think back on! Another thing i saw was that there was an Andy Warhol exhibition here as Marilyn's famous portrait was everywhere to be advertised, they both certainly get around in this world.
So our next stop for today was to head to a campsite and i thought we'd go right into the national park and with only being 2 motorhomes in the whole of this campsite it felt like i'd parked up by the fast flowing river with it being just the two of us. The rain has held off all day until we arrived here so not much of a walk could be done so to be inside, and dry, but it was still a sight to enjoy from the windows of the van...i also feel that its gonna be a cold night and so one pair of socks is sacrificed (as they are diminishing at each and every wash!) as bed socks!