A hike through Saint-Hubert forest - Unloved Countries

Pauline - Unloved Countries
Ode to unsung places

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Pauline - Unloved Countries

Member for 4 years 8 months

I travel through and write about unloved and unsung destinations to challenge preconceived ideas. I’ve written about Lebanon, Iran, Rwanda, Pakistan, Zambia as well as writing a column about the French departments that are neglected by tourists. I also run a travel blog which endeavours to counter modern society’s widespread tendency to withdraw into oneself.

MY expEriences

I travelled through the Ardennes with my significant other, Tim. We enjoyed ten or so experiences focusing on the themes of nature, gastronomy and heritage.

We got off to a flying start with an over 50km long hike through the Saint-Hubert forest! During this foresty foretaste we discovered the lush open spaces of the Belgian Ardennes. The next day – but only because by some miracle we still are holding up – we continue with a packraft day.

A what ? Well, Luc van Ouytsel takes on a journey of discovery through the magnificent Ourthe Valley…on a dinghy! We continue our travels and head for the Molignée valley for a foodies wet dream: a tasting of local products! We enjoy the small, yet subtly delicious grey snails from Warnant, François Dejardin’s artisan smoked trout, accompanied by a cool glass of white wine, courtesy of local winery Château Bon Baron.


Our taste buds continue their voyage of discovery in Liège, where we dine at the Foyer Grétry, set in the Opéra Royal de Wallonie (Wallonia’ Royal Opera). We get ready/prepare ourselves to sljfd the very first opera of our life! Madama Puccini, a truly wonderful experience in a sumptuous surroundings, the Liège Town opera, which dates back to 1820 and was entirely refurbished/renovated between 2009 and 2012. The next day, we are expected in Huy for a day of grape harvesting grape picking in the Closerie des Prébendiers, a small winery on the heights of the town with splendid views of the Meuse river. It turns out be quite the work out as the vines are planted on a very hilly slope, that we need to climb up and down all day as our baskets overflowingl with grapes!

Heureusement pour notre santé physique, tout le monde s’entraide et la petite équipe prévue pour le ramassage est géniale.


Après cette dernière journée dans les Ardennes Belges, nous nous dirigeons vers le Luxembourg où nous découvrons un pays méconnu et extrêmement boisé. Vianden et son château médiéval grandiose, Clervaux et son exposition The Family of Man qui a fait le tour du monde avant d’atterrir dans ce petit village, nous font découvrir plusieurs facettes de ce pays méconnu d’Europe. Pour terminer, nous passons quelques jours dans les Ardennes françaises, entre visite de Charleville-Mézières, de villages charmants, parfois oubliés, ou encore de dégustation de cidre ardennais !

En résumé, ce fut un séjour intense et riche en découvertes sur une région que nous ne connaissions absolument pas.

My very first time grape picking... in Belgium!

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Beautiful view over the hills from the Closerie des Prébendiers, by Pauline from Unloved Countries


- The town of Charleville-Mézières, capital of the department of the French Ardennes, and its enthralling Puppet Festival, we were pleasantly surprised to discover during our visit.

- Our very first bivouac in the Saint-Hubert forest, in the Belgian Ardennes. Two days spent walking over 50km per day, quite a challenging but definitely also an extraordinary experience!


A 50km hike around Saint-Hubert, between Lesse and Lhomme - Unloved Countries
A lovely dinner in the Foyer Gétry restaurant - Unloved Countries
Hiking around Wasigny - Unloved Countries
Grape harvesting in the "Closerie des Prébendiers" winery in Huy - Unloved Countries
View on the river Meuse in Huy - Unloved Countries

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