Belgium really is two countries. And it’s not just the language. Yes, people in Flanders speak Dutch and people in Wallonia speak French, and generally only the former learn additional languages. But there are other differences, too. Our first tour here two years ago was only in Flanders, so Friday’s trip to Bouillon, close to the French border, was a new experience. As we passed Brussels on our way south, the flat lowlands gave way to rolling hills. And the architecture changed from predominantly brick to a stone-and-timber style that reminded me of the buildings in Normandy. Then we noticed the difference in pace. Wallonia is more sparsely populated, and the pastoral environment lends itself to a slower pace of life.
We got to experience this through the hospitality of Hugues Fernet and his wife Bernadette, our hosts at Le Bouillon Blanc, the restaurant and concert venue where we played a show. They provided a guest house for us to stay overnight rather than make a long drive home late at night, fed us two wonderful meals in their country kitchen made from vegetables and herbs grown in their garden, and made us feel like family. After breakfast on Saturday Hugues, an award-winning landscape architect, took the time to give us a tour of the garden, which includes much more than just edible herbs and veggies. Thank you Hugues and Bernadette! When we return to Belgium we will definitely play Le Bouillon Blanc again!
In addition to the garden we also had time to tour Bouillon Castle. Check out the video below, with scenes from the castle, the garden, and the show!