It’s been a busy weekend, catching up on shopping, classwork, emails, and phone calls back to the US. By mid-afternoon today it was time to get out of town and see a bit of countryside. The clouds were low and grey, threatening snow. Temperatures hovered around zero C, but the winds were light and there was a hint of lighter skies to the south.
One of the (many) nice things about Maastricht is that it’s much closer to nice places than Arnhem was. The Ardennes, a beautiful area of hills, forests, and villages, is only a half-hour south in Belgium, and it was a perfect place for a drive in the countryside today.
Light snow started falling as the road wound up into the forests; the fields were lightly spotted with drifts in the shadows. The walking trails were covered with ice, making progress difficult: there were times when I wondered if I’d ended up on the river instead of the path. But it was good to be out in the fresh air and quiet and away from the ‘cathode glow’ for a few hours.
The nearby town of Monschau, across the German border, was a good spot to warm up with some sausage and pastry before headed back. Situated in a cleft valley, it never seems to get much sunlight, yet always manages to be one of the most picturesque villages in the area. The river rushes black through the center of town, framing the onion-turreted churches and spiderweb-timber buildings. On a February Sunday the town sees few visitors. Everything, and everyone, is huddled and waiting for spring to return.