Getting Lost in Dinant (Belgium)

May 5th, 2012.

Por fin! It took us three hours to find a hotel in Dinant.

Hour one was spent trying to locate the tourist office.

The city of Dinant, built into the side of a mountain, was entered by crossing a bridge, and going along the riverside road. Somehow we missed, twice, a tiny sign, marked with an ‘i‘, that indicated that the information was down a small side street.

So we drove round and round the city, the elusive ‘information‘ sign appearing and disappearing as we headed up, around, to the citadel, down, and back, again and again. It was a very beautiful city, but the signage was absolutely terrible!
view of Dinant showing the CitadelFinally we decided that we should park and walk as we had to be close. We eventually found the ‘i‘ sign; it was a map with all the town sites shown on it except the tourism office. There was a Palais de Justice nearby so we headed there to ask a police person. They told us to ‘travers la pont‘ and then turn ‘a droite‘. A vendor in a small store nearby confirmed this.

So we walked back over the bridge, turned right and there it was!

Hour two was spent trying to find the auberge listed in our guidebook.

The only hotel listed in our guidebook was an auberge, but the tourist office was unable to connect with them. Worse than that, they had never ever heard of it, even though it appeared to be on Bouvinge St, and only a block or two away.

the map of Dinant from the Tourist Office

the map of Dinant from the Tourist Office

We decided that Al would head back over the bridge to rescue our car from its parking meter, while I walked along the river in search of the auberge.

I didn’t find it at the end of the block, but just off in the distance I saw a yellow auberge-like building with the street name Bouvinge written in large letters on the side. However, once there I found that this wasn’t the auberge I was looking for. The address was no. 26 Bouvinge and the auberge was at 112 Bouvinge.

So I walked, walked, walked. At no. 34 I saw a couple talking so I stopped and asked for directions. The woman indicated with her hands that it was far, far away. “Plus loins…

So I walked, walked, walked some more. The numbers went up one by one. At no. 98 the numbers stopped but surely no. 112 couldn’t possibly be too much further!?

From this point forward the numbers went up very slowly. A half an hour later I was at no. 106 and there still wasn’t anything resembling a building anywhere in sight..

Hour three finds me still walking.

Al still hadn’t shown up and I had no way to get in touch with him. On the other hand, I had all the maps and the address.

I had no idea what to do. Should I carry on and find the auberge, where ever it happened to be? Perhaps then I could get them to phone the tourist office, and hopefully Al would show up back at the tourist office at some point. He would have to, if only to get another map. Or should I turn around and walk back?

As I rounded a curve a building tucked into the cliffs appeared off in the distance. The auberge? But when I got there it had no number so I carried on, and on, and on.

Finally I gave up and started my long walk back. Of course as soon as I did this Al immediately appeared! We drove round the next corner to find a place to turn around and there was the bloody auberge. It was absolutely charming but Al refused to even go in and look at it, exclaiming, “It’s five miles out of town in the middle of nowhere!”

So it was back to the tourist office for us, where we paid 1.50 for them to book us a place in town, and give us precise directions on how to get there and even where to park when we got there. It was a B&B called Les Cerisiers (The Cherry Trees) and perfect in every way…

Our trip into Belgium, France and Holland is in:


9 responses to “Getting Lost in Dinant (Belgium)

  1. Everybody seems to be in Belgium at the moment, me included 🙂 I was in Brussels on Saturday, and I have to say, obviously the Belgians are not so much into signs. I was looking for the main entrance of a museum for half an hour (it was a huge complex), then I didn’t find the proper showroom (no signs), and then even no signs on the exhibits, I couldn’t tell what it was.

  2. Pingback: One Word Challenge: Benches From Around the World | Albatz Travel Adventures·

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