ArlonNovember 16, 2017 in Belgium
Leaving behind some rather full bins from Vicky's clearout at Houffalize, we travelled on to the aire by the fire station at Arlon. Only 2 out of the 5 bays were empty and soon after we arrived, the 5th was filled so we were lucky to get a spot. Arlon's aire was one of a number in Belgium that offer free electricity. Very handy, especially in winter when it means we can use the electric fan heater instead of our limited LPG and batteries.
As it was Friday, we (Will especially) had been looking forward to frites for lunch, so we set off sharpish before our bellies started to rumble. Climbing past rows of terraced houses we arrived at Arlon town centre. It had wide, paved, pedestrian streets which were becoming flooded with pupils from the local highschool who had headed out to pick up lunch. We looped round and saw a number of café takeaway outfits, but no specific friterie, so we settled on Paluca, a pink painted café advertising frites. It was packed inside so Will waited in line while Vicky, who was hungry, sat outside on a long bench in the square (nobody likes Vicky when she's hungry 😂).
The frites were good (it IS Belgium) and Will accompanied his with a salad baguette. It felt good just to sit and take in the 'goings on'; the kids chatting, the pigeons strutting hopefully, a worker standing outside smoking. We are so often on the move, passing by, that we forget to stop and soak up what is around us.
Beside the café was a 'Night Shop' (or Nacht Winkel) in Dutch speaking areas. Belgium is the only country where we've seen these small grocery stores that open only at night.
After frites we spent a little more time exploring, climbing the stone stairway to the church, from whose grounds we could look down on over the slate grey rooftops. The square in front of Arlon's sandstone Town Hall was a car park, a tank stationed in one corner. We passed a poster advertising a procession with Saint-Nicolas, showing a painting of a character wearing a red mitre. We've noticed St Nic / Santa chocolates in supermarkets have been shaped so the foil wrapped around can either show a mitre or what we think of as a Santa hat.
Back at the fire station the firefighters were gathered around ready to turn on their hose. Not wanting to delay them, we scuttled past only to hear one say jocularly in French that it was ok, we had an umbrella! Even so, we didn't fancy getting hosed down!Read more