On Tuesday, as we approached the train depot in Coo, Belgium, I told Dennis we would be lucky to have a cow greet us. We did not. There was nothing there but a shelter for those waiting for the train.
At the bottom of the hill we were surprised to find a resort for hiking, biking, canoeing, and kyacking. There even was an amusement park. Of course, it is off-season and nothing except a restaurant was open. The server told us that the closest ATM was in Trois Ponts, three kilometers back. Since we needed cash, we put on our packs and headed for town.
Trois Ponts would have been the better train stop for us to take. It is a more developed and there are buses that leave the center for La Gleize. We caught the 42A, which dropped us seven kilometers later in La Gleize. From there is was a short 15-minute uphill climb to B & B Tchéous.
Our hosts Christine and Frankie told us that a painter built the house in 1935 and used the attic for his workshop. During WWII the house was under fire and bullet holes are still visible in the building’s wood and stones. When they purchased the house it was in disrepair. The owner’s bathroom had carpeted ceiling, floor, and tiles to keep the air out. The elderly owner said, “Who needs towels, just use the flooring.”
Frankie is a renowned cyclist and local history buff, so he and Dennis had a lot to chat about. I fell in love with their six-month jachd, a German hunting terrier. She is nearly full grown and very friendly. Since she was the runt of the litter, they called her “Mini.”
Wednesday morning, we visited the museum where Dennis’s father’s helmet is on display. Unfortunately the curator was not there and Dennis was unable to do more research. I know he was disappointed.
Afterwards, we walked to Stoumont, a neighoring town, to build our legs up for The Ridgeway Path in England and to see the area. As we walked, we tried to imagine what fighting in the Ardennes Forest was like in December 1944. The Dennis’s father suffered permanent lung damage here.
On the way, we spotted the chateau that Obersturmbannführer Joachim Peiper commandered for several days. Luckily, his whereabouts were not known at the time and the building was not destroyed in an attempt to capture the officer.
Stoumont, is a small village with a handsome central church. At the visitor center, we learned of other WWII sites to visit within walking distance. Returning to La Gleize, the panorama was welcoming. This is a beautiful area.
Today is a holiday in the Europe Union: Ascension Thursday. There are many bicyclist and hikers enjoying the area. For some reason, perhaps the hilly terrain, there seems to be more male than female bikers.
Around La Gleize there are many various biking routes…something for everyone and every skill: road, racing, or mountain biking. We saw groups of 50 or more. Dennis was almost salivating with desire to join them.
We walked to another neighboring town Cheneux to visit a bridge and house that were important in WWII. Two women ran from the gunfire and took shelter in the farmhouse, which was then bombed, killing both of them. In town, there is a monument to “In homage to the brave men of the 504th parachute infantry regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division, who took back the village on 21 December 1944-at a high cost of lives following bloody combat.” Someone continues to plant flowers in remembrance.