Sunday, October 22, 2006


Hubby packed us into the car for a drive into the Ardennes, direction Namur and more precisely Han-sur-Lesse, famed for its limestone grottoes. We took a wrong turn and ended up in Waterloo. Hubby's driving being faster than my reading, I had failed to translate the Flemish Namen as Namur.

The country road through the Ardennes was quaint and pictoresque. Hubby got to test out his new car's roadhandling in the tight turns between sheep-filled meadow and cow-filled field.

Han is a little village which lives off tourism, if the huge roadside panels for the Domaine des Grottes de Han are any indication. A little open-air tram takes you from the welcome center to the cave's entrance. A guide led us on a tour of the cave's many impressive galleries and tunnels, carved out by tectonic plate shifts and the Lesse river millions of years ago. Edouard was relieved to know that bears did not inhabit the grotto. He did ask where the spiders, bats, and beetles were and why we could not take pictures inside the cave. He also asked why foxes could not be friends with wolves. The guide could not provide an answer. The grotto was, as expected dark and dank, and its awesome stalagmites, stalagtites and column formations highlighted by strategically-placed Noma Moonbeams. The tour included a corny light and sound show of the Cathedral, the largest gallery. The sounds of Enya were amplified through speakers at the back of the cave. In my opinion, Metallica would have made a better statement. A barge brought us to the cave's exit. The tour ended with a bang, literally. The guide warned us that there would be a canon at the cave's exit. She failed to clarify that it would not be the sight of a canon but rather the sound of a canon. The sonic boom knocked Edouard ass over heals onto his back. It was a sobbing and frightened Edouard who tipped the guide.

We followed the tour with a competitive interactive video game simulating a rescue within the cave's tunnels. Hubby played hard for bragging generously cede them to his son. A day will come when the son will let the father win.

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