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Family Day in Chevetogne

This month, Yann was to preach in the BEM Church in Libramont, a regular destination for our family as you can see here. This year also marks our 10th anniversary and we wanted to spend a week-end in the Belgian countryside with our kids for the occasion. Yann was in charge of finding accomodations and fun things to do on Saturday, I in charge of the picnic, suitcases and first-aid kit (which turned out, as always, incomplete).

We left home at 9 (instead of 8) o’clock on Saturday morning and the weather was murky (I can’t remember a sunny trip since we are the 5 of us). The parents were hoping for the children to fall asleep in the car during the long ride, but it did work only for the little one. One hour and 10 minutes later I spotted a sign directing to the Provincial Domain of Chevetogne and said joyfully: ‘This is where I learned to ride a horse when I was a kid!’ This was indeed our destination.

In my mind, Chevetogne was wooden ‘tents’ and a big building with the common facilities: refectory, bathrooms, even the TV room where I remember watching Sister Act 2 (hello! I grew up in the 90’s)… and of course the riding school where we walked to (or were we driven there by minibus?) I was well aware of the surrounding woods, after all it was called “provincial domain”, but in March 2018 I was amazed to discover how big the place was:

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While I was still ‘recovering’, we were looking for a place to go. Threatening clouds were hovering over our heads, but we got three hours to discover a (very small) part of the domain. We came off-season, entrance to the park and the playgrounds was free, but all refreshment areas and restaurants (except the hotel’s) and a bunch of activities were closed. Yann had planned for us to come to “test the ground” before planning to spend a few days there. And I guess this is what we’ll do as soon as we can.’

First, we stopped at the big playground.

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We took the car and rode along the wooden tents where I slept as a girl and saw the big building. It is actually a centre for educational schooltrips in the forest (and certainly all kinds of sport and nature holiday camps).

We climbed on the perched cabins with Daniel and Loïs while Yann and Logan were sleeping in the car.

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We had planned on visiting one or two theme gardens and to climb on the huge Cheval Bayard wood structure, Daniel and I passed by the playground At World’s End, but it started to rain before we could go back to Yann, Loïs and Logan and suggest them a stroll around the lake, combining that playground (based on the book Robinson Crusoe) with its far-west counterpart The Forgotten Gold Mine. We tried to convince our biggest kids to play a few minutes on the Zugspitze (another structure with a slide), but they stubbornly refused. So off we set. We drove through the Shire and spotted Bilbo’s hobbit house.

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We drove to the riding centre and I was 10 again as I saw the stables. We stepped down the car for a few minutes to have a look at the Little Ones’ Farm, but it was closed off-season, so we waved to the loudly sheeps. And our path crossed a car similar to that one:

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Then, we left Chevetogne and went to the stud farm where we were to spend the night. There were horses there, to our kids’ greatest joy. We secured the pellet stove and the stairs for Logan (who stubbornly got around the obstacles), we had a family night out in a restaurant and bought supplies for a copious breakfast on Sunday morning.

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