Monday 20 May 2013
On our first day in Temse, we had a leisurely breakfast with Walter, Veerle, and Merel and then set out with Ruby, Walter, Veerle and the family dog on a long walk through the fields and back roads of Temse to the centre of town. The weather was overcast, unseasonably cold, and there was some drizzle about; but this softened the views of the surrounding countryside.
We passed a large pond which had a series of small, rustic huts positioned around it at regular intervals. Apparently, this is where people while away the hours in the warmer months, fishing for carp. There was no-one fishing there at the time, except for a heron standing motionless at the water’s edge.
At length we arrived at a bridge that spanned the river Schelde. This afforded an expansive view of Temse from the water.
We walked into the centre of town to a pub right next to the town hall. There we enjoyed a drink in a warm place out of the weather. Afterwards we admired the town hall, which had a roof that reminded Susie of the Harry Potter movie. We then drove back from town to Walter and Veerle’s place for a tasty lunch of charcuterie.
After lunch, Geert, Andrée, and Ludwina turned up, and we spent the afternoon chatting in broken English and listening to the Belgian cousins catching up with each other in Flemish. It’s odd how familiar this language sounds to my ears, but I struggle to pick up a few words here and there.
Andrée gave us some handmade chocolates from a place near Ypres, where she and Geert live; Geert gave us a six-pack of what is said to be THE world best beer: it is brewed by Trappist monks, you have to order it in advance, and you can’t buy more than a six pack at a time. Geert’s grumpy humour needed little translation, and it was striking how much Ludwina reminded us of Janneke. Ruby was not her usual sparkling self, as she was rather sick with a head cold. Walter gave her a lift to the train station during the afternoon, and she returned to Tilburg, as she had a farewell dinner for one of her flatmates in the evening.
Later we shared yet another lovely meal prepared by Veerle consisting of three different quiches.
After dinner we said goodbye to Geert, Andrée, and Ludwina, and also to Arnout, who was returning to Ghent to study. We called it a night around 10:30 p.m. We were tired from the walk, and full of good food and the very best beer in the world.