Saturday night we decided to skip dinner and walk with Adam to a nearby village, Williers. It’s supposed to be about 5km or so. Our aim was to have some non-vegan food and sit on the patio drinking some Belgian beers. However, we got hopelessly lost despite having a map and ended up between large rolling hills. It was beautiful, but not necessarily the way we wanted to end the evening. We eventually turned back toward Bois le Comte. We probably walked about 10km. Yippee. It was quite the journey.
Yesterday was our day off! It felt really nice to relax a little bit. Zach and I hung around the farm for a while; he practiced trumpet and I read in the fields by the horses. Around 2 we caught a bus from Villiers-devant-Orval to Florenville, the nearest city. The last bus left Florenville at 5:40, so we only had a few hours, but it was more than enough time. The city is quite small with a large square in the middle. There are bars, cafes, restaurants, and shops all lining the small center. Since we skipped lunch we headed straight for a little boulongerie and ordered sandwiches (with meat!). Then we met up with Adam at a nearby patio bar for some local Juliper beer. Juliper is nothing fancy, but like a cheap Belgian version of Lone Star or Bud light. For dessert Zach and I shared a tasty vanilla custard eclair. So yummy! We walked around and had some fries and another beer, but there really wasn’t much to see or do. It was a nice peaceful trip. There was a great view of the surrounding valley from the church and we sat there a while before catching the bus back to the village.
Today we began our last week here at Bois le Comte! Thus far, we haven’t really explained the true purpose of Bois le Comte, so I don’t think one can fully appreciate the experience we have had here. Bois le Comte is a spiritual retreat center for the East West Centre, which is based in Antwerp, Belgium. Most of the guests staying here are actually enrolled in workshops and courses about personal growth, shamanism, and various other mystical things. Last week when we arrived the course was Mystic Love; this week it is Shamanism. I was told by one of the course leaders (who are incidentally from Portland, Oregon) that there would be a lot of light and dark energies at work this coming week – should be interesting. More than the food, it has been quite an adjustment to overhear all of the conversations at mealtime. One of the reasons Luc, the proprietor, didn’t tell us about the wifi is because he believes the radiation negatively effects the energy of the house. The food is actually quite a sore spot for him as well. I don’t think he would be very pleased to find the bag of Cheetos in our room. (We are taking all of our trash with us and dumping it in a trash can down the road!) The East West Centre owns the property and then Luc and his wife, Lieve, and their family stay here. One of the strangest things about this place is that we don’t ever see his children. They don’t participate on the farm or even play outside; they eat all of their meals together in their home, not with the rest of us. It’s an interesting place for sure, and we will talk about it for the rest of our lives!