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A summer memory – column

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With some side valves to the Ardennes. That's quite a while. But we did it once every two years. In the meantime, experience has shown that the 376 kilometers between the departure point and our goal can easily be achieved in 10 hours of travel time.

There, near Mariembourg, - definitely visit the steam train museum there - We spend the night in a kind of hikers' cabin on a small campsite. In the meantime we know the manager quite well. He is always happy to see us, drives locally on a strange-looking Suzuki RV90 and he cherishes the Sarolea from the legacy of his father.


In addition, he illegally distills apple brandy, the wonderful product that they call 'calvados' a bit further down the line. On arrival, as always, we received a top-full, non-returnable bottle with a screw cap. This time it was one that had lived in a liter of whiskey. 'Calva' is also called 'le trou Normand'.

The 'Norman Hole'. Because no matter how fat and voluminous the meal may have been, after a glass of calva downed in one go, there is enough room burned for another half wild boar. The homebrew is 65 brave percent of the kind of often misunderstood vitamin called "alcohol."

After a generous meal, we sat outside thinking about the day. A modern motorcycle arrived at the campsite. We gave our modern colleague a friendly nod. A Ducati Monster with a female rider on it. Under her helmet she had an unlikely amount of curls and was not packaged unkindly. She shook her curls loose, shouted "Hi!" In a way that you knew it was meant with an h and an i and rocked her dredging roll into the other hiker's cabin without mercy.

When she came out dressed, she came to greet us. It was a bit of a busy Goois or Amstelveen style with the drive of someone who still firmly believed in all kinds of things, including the fact that the world was or should be at her feet.

Dolf Sidecar

We were somewhat endeared by so much youthful dynamism, hubris and conceit. The work had become 'too much' for her. So she had taken a break. She vaguely reminded us of someone. Someone from the TV? something like that. But we are not such TV viewers.

While our dynamic wonder animal chattered, we cut a few more slices of hard sausage and poured her a strong drink. "Calva". Ah, she knew that, she sniffed the distinctive apple scent and knocked the glass back – as it should – in one go. Now we drink from somewhat larger glasses than the catering industry uses and the 25% extra alcohol compared to the legal product also surprised her. She was considerably calmer for about five minutes.

But in all her Randstad world wisdom, she did not directly link to the size of our shot glasses and the 65% alcohol.

After the second drink she was out. We dragged her under her carefully shaved armpits to her cabin and lovingly covered her.

Because after a hearty meal it is time for reflection, not for idle chatter.

But the Nismes, Couvin, Mariembour and Olloy regions are certainly worth a visit.

14 Comments

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  1. Delicious 🙂, I always look forward to Dolf Peeters' pieces. Relatable stories and enjoyable to read. Reminds me of my younger years. Gr Frank

    A summer memory – column

  2. The wonder animal was noticeably calmer in 5 minutes. How do you come up with that ? Beautiful, I have
    still tears in my eyes from laughing.
    Thanks Dolph.

  3. Fantastic story again!
    A 65% Calvados will certainly have a soothing effect.
    And so it turns out, as you read.
    Nice trip and if it runs through the South Limburg hills over the small unknown roads, there may be additional fun to be had.
    And yes, bikers have more fun. The intoxicated lady has apparently also experienced this. Hi !

  4. Hey Dolf , nice story , ah so you fed the women LOL ! Beautiful region indeed , visit hors saison ( tip ) ! Mvg , Nicolas

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