Huy and Liège

A twosome with a commercial barge in the locks got us to Huy by lunchtime and we enjoyed a relaxing, sunny afternoon in the yacht harbour. After Staying in Huy for 4 days last year we felt quite at home in town. But we hadn’t climbed up the steep path to the former fortress. The building now serves as a war museum and memorial. The vaulted corridors harbour many cells with iron doors where between 1941 and 1944 some 7ooo resistance fighters, saboteurs and “enemies" of the occupying Nazis were held.

From Huy we made our way along shipyards, nuclear power plants and evidence of the local steel industry to the Belgian town of Liège, the city of Charlemagne and Georges Simenon (author of Inspector Maigret mysteries).

Restricted by citadel hill the old town of Liège sprawls along side the river Meuse. However, approaching the town from the South, the first thing jumping out is the 136m high “Tour Paradis” (also called the “Finance Tower”) the tallest skyscraper of Wallonia.

The harbour is protected from the wash of passing barges by a long wall. It has number locked security gates and all facilities. To Austin’s joy the internet worked well a fair distance away from the capitainerie, where we were moored. 

It was the weekend of the Wallonian (southern part of Belgian) Festival and we were a little shell shocked by the crowds and the music bands playing at various locations. So we left the serious sight seeing for the next day.

The huge Sunday market stretching almost 2 km along the river distracted us somewhat from our sight seeing agenda. Fresh veggies, beautiful flowers and of course masses of clothes and jewellery stands needed to be perused. We finally made it to the Place de Marché in need of a cool drink and consultation of our map to plan a route through the old city.

While Austin went to pay for the drinks, I caught a familiar sight: our friends Renate and Georg from my home town ambled past our table!

They were very surprised to bump into us here, as we had tentatively arranged to meet up in Maastricht later in the week. Well, last time they surprised us from the banks of the Mosel. We had a lovely time catching up and of course showing the latest photos of our grandchildren.

Later Austin and I continued on the historic route through the" Hors Chateau” ("Outside of the Castle"), a road just outside the first city wall of the 10th century. Here nobility and religious leaders settled in ornate patrician houses in the 17th and 18th century. Little side streets, called “impasses” accessible via low arches, lead to rows of small brick houses. They used to be housing for staff and servants.The impasses continue on up the hill with many winding narrow stone steps. 

One can of course reach the top of the hill by walking up the “Montagne de Bueren”, 374 steps straight up.

We left the climb for the next day, and climb we did! We were rewarded with a great view over Liège. Luckily the narrow lanes and staircases we walked up provided plenty of shade in the 31 degree heat, phew!! Nothing a good ice coffee back  down in town couldn’t fix.

© Austin Robinson 2019