When I arrived at Eyndevelde Vacation Homes in the Belgian Flemish Ardennes, the sun was bright. It was warm for a mid-October day and I smiled. The perfect weather for a walk in the woods later on, I thought.
Liesbet, who runs the place, came to greet me. My room was located on the first and top floor of the old cattle farmer’s house that she renovated together with her husband Kris. Every apartment there is different in terms of size, decoration and materials used.
Kris works in construction and when he gave me a tour and showed me how the walls in every apartment are made of different kinds of plastering, his eyes lit up. It’s clear that he’s passionate about what he does and the techniques he’s developed and perfected to give each part of Eyndevelde its own character and style.
I don’t know anything about plastering or building for that matter, but when someone explains something to me in such a passionate way, I get sucked in. It wasn’t long before I felt compelled to touch the walls and ask questions.
Did you know, by the way, that hemp is being used as a purely ecological isolation material nowadays? I had no idea!
Funny story: Kris told me that there are hemp farmers close to Eyndevelde and that they regularly need to put banners up around their field to tell people that the hemp they grow can’t be smoked. Otherwise, they simply get too many unwanted “harvesters” 😀
It’s a large open space with a couch and television, a little sitting corner, a fully equipped kitchen and a double bed. There’s also an ensuite bathroom, great heating – and that means something, coming from someone who’s always cold – and free, excellently working Wi-Fi. The apartment also has a balcony you can sit on to enjoy the view of the woods on one side and the garden on the other.
Eyndevelde has a large communal garden as well as a stretch of land with goats on it. It’s a great place to sit and relax.
Things to do around Eyndevelde
If you want to get more active, there’s plenty in the proximity of Eyndevelde as well. The region of the Flemish Ardennes is great for hiking, biking and horse riding, but also for sampling local products like wine and beer.
There are a few smaller heritage sites in the vicinity and city lovers can always head to Aalst, which is just 20 minutes away by car.
I opted for a walk in the Duivenbos “(Pigeon Forest”). The road into the woods starts just across the street from Eydevelde (handy!) and with the map Liesbeth gave me, it was easy to find my way. I walked for about two hours across narrow and not so narrow paths, enjoying the fresh air and the silence.
I feel like the silence deserves its own section. It is just so peaceful and silent around Eyndevelde. Sure, the vacation home lie by a road and there are other houses around as well, but boy, what a difference in comparison to where we live!
I decided to work in the evening and after two hours or so I suddenly realized there was nothing. I had been working for two hours straight without getting distracted by anything because there simply wasn’t anything to get distracted by.
Needless to say, I also slept like a baby that night.
Sint-Lievens Esse (Herzele)
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I was invited to spend a night at Eyndevelde to review the place and share my honest thoughts on it.