Do you live in Huy? Oui!

Well guess what? Rain. Lots of it. About as much as when I went to Villers-la-Ville on Tuesday. Why is it that when I plan on going out and doing something it rains? I do check the weather forecast, but when there’s always a ‘chance of showers’ you just have to decide to do things anyway. It actually wasn’t too bad and stopped sometime after I was inside.

Adeline pointed something out to me today. I’ve gone to a lot of World War memorials/museums. Part of this is because it’s a part of history I find interesting (if extremely depressing) and partly it’s an accident. When I went to Huy today I’m not even sure if I knew or not that inside the Fort there is a WWII museum. The town is only about half an hour from Wasseiges and is quite beautiful nestled along the River Meuse. It reminded me a lot of Dinant and Namur, mostly the bridges. I didn’t actually see much of the city itself because it was raining and I spent quite a bit of time (about 2.5-2.75 hours) at the Fort. To explain the title: Huy sounds a little bit like oui, but more like oo-y. I had to ask Greg this morning how to say it because I wasn’t sure.

This next bit is thanks to a handy pamphlet I got there today. The Fort was constructed between 1818-1823 on the site of an old castle that had been demolished in 1717. There is something that remains of the castle though; an old 16th well, 90 meters (295 feet) deep. It’s quite the space. In May 1940 to September 1944, the Germany army turned the Fort into a detention centre guarded and controlled by the army and the secret police. There were more than 7000 prisoners of many nationalities imprisoned there during that time. Hence the memorial museum. Now, the only thing in English was the pamphlet I picked up and some snippets of British newspapers. The rest was French, Dutch, or German. There was a lot to read and thankfully I know enough to at least try to understand. I actually kind of surprised myself today. Normally I would have just skipped by a lot of the articles and things without even trying to read them, but today I took my time and was able to glean some information. Some of the stuff I read about I was familiar with because of history class and my previous visits to other memorials (like the Dachau Concentration Camp), but some was new. It was quite sobering with all the pictures and accounts. It also talked a lot about the Belgian resistance to the Germans.

I passed a couple of people leaving as I was coming into the Fort and I didn’t see anyone else (besides the person in the ticket booth) until I left. I think I was literally the only person in the Fort during that time. It was a self guided tour, at your own pace, no audio guide, just looking at stuff and reading things. There were a lot of mannequins around and every time I would see one when I hadn’t in a while I thought it was a real person and it freaked me out! It was, I think, more sobering because I was the only one there, I had no other distractions. I could literally take as much time as I wanted/needed. The Fort itself is quite large. By the time I went outside up to very top to see the panoramic view of Huy it had stopped raining. It was windy and overcast, but I could actually see my pictures because the sun was hiding so in a way that was really nice. The view was spectacular. Similar to the views I saw in Dinant and Namur (in Namur just Dad and Jean went all the way up and I haven’t seen the pictures yet), but because it was flat at the top I could see an unobstructed view in every direction. Well, almost unobstructed. The towers for the cable car kind of took away the feel of the place. As did the bright orange fencing in some areas.  Also, while I was top side I heard a very sickly version of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (I think I got that right), you know, ‘Ode to Joy’. It made me sad because it sounded like the instruments were dying. I’m not exactly sure where it was coming from, but it wasn’t the church (which is very close to the Fort and started playing something else after). I couldn’t help but cringe.

I had a late lunch at this Italian/French restaurant. I’m not a very adventurous person when it comes to culinary delights. I tend to stick with what I know, especially when I’m hungry. And besides, pasta is just tasty. It was quite a tiny place, room for about 30 or so. There were two other patrons when I got there. It was also almost 2 in the afternoon. The whole front was a big window (or 2 and a door) and one part as well as the door on the other side were open and I was able to hear the jazzy stylings of a trombone player next door. I think he was just playing a mixed CD with soulful songs and accompanying them with his ‘bone. It created quite the comfy atmosphere and was better than the music they had in the restaurant (I think it was just the radio). It was just the right volume too. Loud enough to drown out the radio in the restaurant, but not too overpowering.

When I got back I hopped on to check the blog of a Canadian girl living/working in Liverpool. I read a few posts and did some other things before leaving to pick up the boys. It wasn’t until after supper when I came back on to read the rest of her posts that I realized I actually know her! Not only do I know her, but we went to university together and she was my accompanist for my vocal recital. I only figured this out because she included a Facebook link to an album with Liverpool pictures  and I clicked on it. Imagine my surprise! It’s really interesting reading her point of view on living in another part of the world. We have different jobs and different challenges, but some things are the same. Hey Becky!

I think Huy is a place I’d like to go back to on a nice day when I can wander around a bit, especially since it’s so close. But, as there is still a lot to do and see we’ll see how that goes. I have to start adding in some other stuff! Like a mine and a brewery. There are plenty to choose from.

One thing I thought of just now that I forgot last night; some of the movie (Rien à Déclarer) was filmed in Chimay. I’m pretty sure. Remember when I spent that one afternoon/evening in Momignies with Christel? Well, Momignies is really close to Chimay. Just thought that would be interesting to point out. A little ‘geography’ lesson. Pfft. Lesson, yeah right.

Fort de Huy

Freddy, me, and the River Meuse. Top-side on the Fort de Huy.

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