Well, we have been here at Bois le Comte in Villers-devant-Orval, Belgium for two days now. We arrived on Monday afternoon before dinner. We were already a little nervous about this place from the packet we received prior to our arrival and we knew it would be a bit of a change for us to eat vegetarian, but little did we know it would be more extreme: vegan macrobiotic. If you look it up you’ll know we eat a lot of grain-based items, including a grain coffee, and we eat a lot of beans and vegetables. Since it is mostly vegan we aren’t given anything that is produced by animals – eggs, chocolate, etc. Milk at breakfast is the only exception. Yay! So, needless to say, we have been quite hungry. We eat granola bars in our room at night and we may head down to the little grocery in the village to buy some other snacks soon…
The farm is much more isolated than we imagined or were led to believe. The nearest village is only a 25 minute walk, but it’s very small and has little to offer. Florenville, the nearest city, is an hour and a half walk and the bus runs very infrequently. On top of that we are only given a small break after lunch to rest and then free time in the evening after dinner. However, since we help with the kitchen clean up after every meal that time shrinks significantly. Not quite the experience we were looking for. We do work in the garden which is our favorite time of day. Since it has been raining a little we have been working in the greenhouse: weeding, hoeing, tying up the tomatoes and cucumber plants so that they will grow upward.
Yesterday we went on our lunch break to the Abbaye Orval, which is where the monks make Orval Ale and cheese. We walked around the grounds that were open and sampled some of their cheese. The ruins of the older portions were pretty impressive and had been destroyed by Napoleon’s troops during the French Revolution.
So we’ll see what happens from here. Hopefully we can update again soon… the internet is a little spotty and we have to request that the wifi be turned on… hooray for us!