A 7.5 km walk around Doiceau

Bowls of chestnuts, freshly picked

A pleasant 7.5 km circular walk in the neighbourhood of Doiceau, Brabant Wallon province.

Last Saturday, the morning dawned grey and cloudy, but the chirpy Belgian weatherlady on the radio predicted a rolling away of the clouds and blue skies galore, so I decided to delay my walk until the afternoon. I shouldn’t have been swayed by her optimistic chirping. By lunchtime she had changed her tune. The thick cloud cover was now here to stay. All day. Never mind, it was fresh air and exercise I craved, so off I set.

There were still a couple of walks around Grez-Doiceau that I hadn’t covered yet (the others I had walked here, here and here). One started from Grey-Doiceau itself; the other in the tiny hamlet of Doiceau. Thinking that Doiceau might be less grey than Grez-Doiceau, I chose the former. Below is the map of my walk around Doiceau and the PDF to download. You can get the GPX coordinates for your GPS device here.

Walk around Doiceau

The walk indicated on the map starts from Doiceau church; a rather plain building. The route isn’t marked, but heads along Chemin Des Crahauts and this beautifully covered wall, which definitely deserves a photo.

Chemi des Crahauts, Doiceau

Beware though. If you are a pregnant lady wearing a ball gown and riding a 1930s motorcycle, this route is not for you:

Walk around Doiceau

I hadn’t gone far when I came across a loaded chestnut tree:

Chestnut tree

that had conveniently dropped its harvest right in front of me:

chestnuts

They looked so good – and I love baked chestnuts – so I couldn’t resist filling my bag:

Chestnuts

With a heavier bag, and fingers well pricked but not bleeding, I walked on, looking forward to eating them later. (I’ll tell you how I got on with baking them, later in the blog.)

The locals who live here are obviously a sporty lot, at least if you are a golfy, tennissy, horsey sort of person:

But what is this, I wonder, parked in the golf club car park?

Strange car in Doiceau

I guess it’s a revamped funeral hearse, with a cosy “lieing down” area in the back? Or is it still used as a hearse? If anyone knows, do drop me a line.

Pink hearse

The walk follows a pleasant, rural route along sides of fields and through woodlands.

Horses in Doiceau
Walk around Doiceau

The hedgerows this year seem to have a good harvest of sloes:

sloes

I didn’t pick any, but this is a good place to go if you like to make home-made sloe gin or sloe jelly.

Baking chestnuts!

But I know what you are thinking. How did I get on with cooking the chestnuts? Well, I ended up with 1.4 kilograms of the most delicious looking chestnuts. I was so looking forward to baking and eating them. They would bring back memories of an autumn spent working in Basel when the city centre was full of chestnut vendors cooking and selling little bags of hot chestnuts.

Chestnuts

I prepared them and slipped them into the oven, went back to my office to do some work, got so involved with it that I forgot to take them out on time!

The result was that they had overcooked, dried out and even melted into their shells in some kind of chestnut concrete paste. I couldn’t even get them out of their shells. The whole day long there was a smell of burnt chestnuts throughout the house!

Maybe I should have called the owner of the pink hearse to give them a proper burial.

Better luck next time perhaps!

21 thoughts on “A 7.5 km walk around Doiceau”

  1. At least there was the smell of chestnuts and more important the joy of collecting them 🙂 Incidentally I was planning on driving to Grez-Doiceau for a circular walk myself. However, as more grey weather is predicted I’ll choose a linear walk closer to home (provided I catch the only train). Bye for now.

  2. I did have to chuckle a couple of times. 🙂 Pink hearse or camper – I guess you could sleep in the back. Not me, of course. We have a horse chestnut tree on the property. I wonder if they are the same kind of chestnuts. Sorry you didn’t have good luck roasting them. New York City has vendors that sell them on the street corners but I’ve never tried them. Maybe you need to take the same walk again. 🙂

    1. Probably the same kind Judy. Do you roast them yourselves too? Yes I need to collect some more to prove I can do such a simple thing as cook chestnuts!

    2. Horse chestnuts are not edible! They are very bitter. The ones here in the prickly porcupine-like case are sweet chestnuts and edible. Roasted they are very nice!

  3. You should have harvested some sloes so you could make some gin with which to drown your chestnut baking sorrows. You’ll just have to go back and get some more chestnuts. That pregnant lady must be an adventurer!

  4. Thanks for making the most of a grey sky day and sharing it, Denzil. 🙂 There are always a few smiles out there if you look around, aren’t there? (though a pink hearse… ! 🙂 )

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  6. Your walk made me smile – but I am sorry about the overcooked chestnuts, such a shame, roasted sweet chestnuts (over coals) are lovely and always take me back to my teenage years 🙂

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