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donderdag 3 april 2014

An alternative hill walk IV

Chateau Neercanne, once a proud residence, now a Michelin restaurant with a terrace overviewing the Jeker valley. This is the only terrace build castle in the Netherlands, since the Netherlands are flat in general; only this south part, which is more Belgium geographically spoken; but also in culture and attitude...

The last bit of the Netherlands; the village downhill: Kanne, is Belgium already; however, a border is hard to find, even before Europe’s Schengen-treaty the Benelux faded all borders within the three countries. But there are still differences; especially a bit more to the left where French-speaking Belgium begins, and the Jeker river is called the Geer.

However Kanne, at the foot of Mount Kanne, and Mount Saint Peter, situated at the Albert canal, where this waterway cuts the valley. Famous because of its caves on both sides of the canal: men-made holes in the slopes of the marl hills from which they built houses, churches, and even a castle. It must have bin hard labor to saw the blocks, deeper and deeper into the rock, until they needed a map to find their way. And even now-a-days it happens that people get lost and die in the labyrinth under one of the hills. Not often, and mostly children who manage to sneak into one of the old mines...

Kanne is one of Belgiums’ most beautiful villages, and therefore a paradise for trotters, bikers, and day-trippers. An abundance of terraces to shelter all those who want a refreshment while enjoying the views on the surrounding hills. It is an old village with a famous little monument: the chapel of the Holy Grave, but how this grave ended up in Kanne, no-one knows...

The oldest buildings still standing in Kanne, are from the late 16th century. Marl-block houses, still fierce and upright at the shores of river Jeker. An old mill can still be visited, and is still working the power of the river water.

Also on the left bank of the river, where the village is newer, where those who could afford it built more modern places to live, and where also the slopes of Mount Saint Peter begin, is worthwhile to trot. Kanne is not big; even by foot you are out of town in no time, back in the hills, the nature, where the birds already sing their songs to welcome

to be continued

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