Brabant Wallon

Grey day in Grez-Doiceau

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.

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

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

P1060115I hadn’t gone far when I came across a loaded chestnut tree:

Chestnut treethat had conveniently dropped its harvest right in front of me:

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

ChestnutsWith 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:

And if you like your golf, and fancy waking up and strolling over to the clubhouse for an early morning round, then this house directly opposite the golf club is (currently) available for rent:

Doiceau house to rentWith its five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a monthly rental of 3600 EUR it’s undoubtedly out of the range of most of us!

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

P1060130I 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.

P1060131This 7-km walk follows a pleasant, rural route along sides of fields and through woodlands.

P1060149 P1060151 P1060153 P1060155The hedgerows this year seem to have a good harvest of sloes:

sloesP1060146 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.

You can follow the route I took here.

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.

ChestnutsI 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!

P1060191The 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!

Categories: Brabant Wallon, Hiking

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22 replies »

  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. 🙂

  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… ! 🙂 )

  5. Dear Denzil,

    I hope you are well and enjoying our autumnal days. This guy – Rob Cowen (see link below) was presenting his book at Greenbelt and I thinking on and off throughout his talk that it might be a book that you would enjoy – it touches on the ‘common ground’ the space at the edges of our urban landscape. I don’t have a copy but it might just find its way on to my Christmas list!

    Best wishes,



  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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