Monday, June 30, 2014

Orval Abbey in Belgium

I'll admit it, I have a lot of things that trigger anxiety. Some rational, some not so much. Going someplace new, and not speaking the language is one of my larger anxiety producers, so I guess you are wondering how I am still functioning over here. I am getting used to the German thing, but this weekend we were in a different country with a different language.

We ventured out of Germany, through Luxembourg, and on into Belgium on Saturday to visit Orval Abbey, a Trappist Cistercian Monestary. Now, sitting back here at home, I am so glad we went. At the time, I wasn't so sure we had made a wise decision. We had our passports, we had food and water, the diaper bag was stocked. We typed in the address in our GPS and we were off. And until we neared the Abbey, all was well. We got to a roundabout that had a sign directing us to the Abbey, yet the GPS was telling us to take a different route. We were already a little behind schedule to meet our friends there. We decided to take the road with the sign and hope the GPS would reroute. It did not. On a little one lane road, we wound our way to the Abbey. (And this is Europe people. When I say one lane road, I mean, pray some continuous 'Hail Mary's' that you do not meet oncoming traffic.) It was already misting pretty steadily when we arrived, which did not bode well for us. (We must get ourselves some rain gear, pronto!) We could not find our friends, so we sat under a porch and ate our simple lunch we had packed. Just as we were finishing, our friends arrived.

Our tour was short but I enjoyed it thoroughly. Except maybe the rain and the cold. I did not enjoy those two things at all. The kids did not listen to the tour guide very much. They explored on their own, and that is OK. We bought some beer, we bought some cheese, we bought some cookies for the ride home. Our GPS would not work at all when we were leaving, so I am grateful to have been able to follow our friends back into Germany. There is something to be said for good old-fashioned maps and I intend to purchase those very soon.

In the foreground, the herb garden used for medicinal purposes. In the background, the ruins of the Monestary from the 1100's, which were burned by the French, I believe.

The current grounds.

more of the ruins. This door led to the old cemetary.

She was freezing. I let her have my sweater, since we couldn't find hers. Then I was freezing!

I like that he was drawn to the same flowers as his mother. I had been photographing them earlier.

In case you are wondering, those little black animals are sheep.



  1. How beautiful! What a great experience for your family - to be able to visit another country in just a day trip. :)

  2. Oh, wish we could have been with you. My husband and sons have such a love for Belgium beer that at one time I thought I could possibly get my oldest into the priesthood via a Trappist monastery! Ha!

    The grounds there are beautiful, even in the misty rain. I can't imagine how beautiful it must be in real life.

    Sounds like you have to have all-weather gear packed at all times. ;-)