Monday, April 13, 2009

Kayaking in La Roche

Bunny breadEaster morning was overcast and sunny; I ate the ears off of a locally baked bunny-bread and tried out Gordon Ramsey’s recipe for the perfect scrambled egg.  It’s an intriguing demonstration and works pretty easily.  In the end, it’s a bit runny by American standards, but yields a very tasty and celebratory breakfast.. You can learn how Gordon does it, and remember, creme freshe is sour cream. (Thanks to LifeHacker for the pointer)

With a rare three day weekend at hand, a group of us decided to do some early-spring kayaking in the Ardennes.  The Internet suggested going to La Roche-en-Ardenne, a town about 40 minutes south of Liege known as a jumping-off point for outdoor sports in the area.

Kayak La Roche 1 La Roche has the feel of a frontier town, construction everywhere, muddy streets, people bustling up and down crowded sidewalks filled with ATV’s, kayaks, and hunting equipment for rent.  We stopped in at a local shop named for the local river, the Ourthe,  and were quickly assigned to a van headed 10 km up-river. Single-kayaks were 12 euro, lunch was an extra 2 euro (we passed).

Within half an hour, we were at the riverhead, kayak and paddle in hand, and the river rushing clear and broad in front of us.  There were fish jumping, the early spring foliage was just starting to make an appearance; it was quiet except for a sigh of wind.

Kayak La Roche 2 Kayak La Roche 3

It’s a wonderful river to enjoy, placid in spots, rippled with easy rapids in others.  There is one major drop of about a foot (right, above) that takes a moment’s nerve to ride, but, despite the fearsome appearance, it’s a welcome accent to a perfect day on the water.

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