Kayak La Lesse in Belgium



Country # 12- Belgium was the 12th country that we visited during our 14 month career break.

Many people know Belgians as chocolate chomping, trappist swilling, waffle grilling food heroes.  But residents of this western European nation really love to burn off the calories they ingest.  Whether it’s through soccer, cycling, or kayaking, the travelers we met from Belgium try to stay in shape to counter their rich diets.

kayak belgium

We took a short train ride to Houyet. Then rode the river for over twenty kilometers back to our parked car.

We met Belgian travel buddies Anouk and Hans during our fourth month in South America.  At the time we were in Huanchaco, Peru staying near the beach at Oceano Hospedaje.  We later reconnected in the Miraflores section of Lima for my birthday.  Then in Cusco we shared a homestay while volunteering.  We originally bonded over a ceviche lesson but eventually grew to be great friends.   We made tentative plans to reunite with our new friends in their native Belgium.

Nine months later we arrived in Leuven, Belgium and Hans and Anouk met us by the train station.  We figured they’d take great care of us but they went above and beyond anything we could imagine.  They set us up with a private apartment in the center of this university town, took us on a road trip to Brugges, and dined with us over a monstrous bowl of mussels near the sea.

The adventurous highlight of our stay in Belgium occurred on a river in Wallonia.  Joined by Hans’ sister Margot we had a day on the river.  We rented kayaks from Kayaks Libert and got an upper body workout.  We rowed for about five or six hours only taking short breaks for a picnic lunch and of course, Trappist beers at a riverside bar.  Since it was the end of the summer, the river was packed with Belgians looking to glide through the forest one final time.


river kayak

Anouk and Hans brought us on some adventures including a kayaking trip in Wallonia.

metal ramp to water

This metal ramp rolled us from dry land and into the river in La Lesse, Belgium.













castle in belgium

Near the end of the kayak run rowers get a view of this castle on the cliff.

We originally met Hans and Anouk in Huanchaco, Peru. It was great to meet Hans’ sister, Margot, and to learn that they share a sense of humor.













waterfall belgium

There were two modest waterfalls along the way.

rock karsts

Many travelers to Belgium never make it to the south. Get off the beaten path and seek nature in Wallonia.













kayaking on the river

Our arms were a bit sore later that night but the effort was worth it.

jump in the water

Hans and Margot couldn’t resist a quick dip in the cold river.









river kayak

Hans kept nearby like a good lifeguard.










About Neil Friedman

A Wheel of Fortune winner and former motivational speaker, Neil Friedman is a freelance writer, videographer and certified teacher of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). He has journeyed to over 35 countries and 30 U.S. States and lived in various parts of New York, Japan, and South America. He is currently on a two-year trip to parts of South America, Asia, and Europe. Connect with Neil on  Google+ . Twitter: @WorldWinder and Facebook.com/WorldWinder