“Bedrijfsuitje” is a Dutch word for “work trip”. Last weekend, I spent an amazing time in the beautiful Ardennes together with my work colleagues from Imbull. As you may know, I’ve recently moved to Amsterdam for Master’s Degree in New Media, Social Media and Digital Culture at UvA (University of Amsterdam). I’ve also found a part-time job as an editor and country manager (Poland) at Imbull, which is a market leader renowned in the world for its expertise of online couponing. Me and a fellow travel blogger Anna of Anna Everywhere are working on international project called Flipit launched in several countries across the world, including Poland.
Lucky me, a day after I signed my contract, the Bedrijfsuitje took place. It was a great opportunity for me to get to know everyone in person, chat with people and chill out a bit. We took off from Amsterdam Amstel station on Friday morning and arrived in the beautiful Ardennes 4 hours later, by bus. It was a very active weekend across Ferrieres and Namur.
About the Ardennes
The Ardennes is a region of stunning forests, hills and ridges primarily located in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretching into France and Germany.
Much of the Ardennes is covered in dense forests and high mountains and the region’s typified by steep-sided valleys carved by swift-flowing rivers where we did some canoeing.
Our work trip covered Ferrieres, which is a very small but extremely picturesque Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Liege, as well as Namur – the capital of the province of Namur and Wallonia. We stayed in a big and charming house situated in the heart of the Ardennes surrounded by forests, hills, fields and meadows. Absolutely amazing!
Right after we reached our destination by bus, we all went for 2 hours mountain biking, which was so much fun.
Once our instructor explained to us how the brakes and gears worked, we were off to go and admire the picturesque scenery of the Ardennes. It was a sunny day with no rain so I enjoyed the ride a lot!
Exploring the Caves of Han-sur-Lesse
One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the caves of Han-sur-Lesse. They are major Belgian tourist attractions situated on the outskirts of the village called Han-sur-Lesse.
We accessed it via a vintage streetcar and we spent there more than 2 hours. The caves have a constant temperature of 13°C (55°F) and a high level of humidity.
Our tour guide showed us around the caves explaining its origin and history.
The guided tour ended with a sound and light show and a nice buffet of Belgian cheese and unlimited amount of champagne!
As the food plays a great role in my travels, I enjoyed a lot of new dishes during our bedrijfsuitje.
The breakfast usually consisted of plain buttery croissants, pain au chocolate, gluten-free bread with butter, a glass of milk and orange juice.
There was a great variety of sandwiches to choose from for our lunch. Brown rolls and white bread stuffed with tuna and mayo, avocado, pesto, ham, hummus and more. Everyone could find something delicious, light and nutritious for themselves. I enjoyed white bread with pesto the most, followed by wheat rolls with avocado and cress spread.
Friday’s dinner was the most delicious though.
We went to a very posh restaurant where everyone was served a 7-course-meal of fried calf meat or chicken, lobster, artichoke, plus mushroom pannacota and asparagus, macaroni with ketchup and mustard, fried shrimps, freshly baked baguettes with butter, and ice cream and Belgian chocolate as a dessert.
The food was heaven and I enjoyed every bite of it.
During the Bedrijfsuitje, we also did some canoeing. Believe me or not, but I had no idea how to row. It was my first time to go canoeing for 2 hours (not including canoeing in Ha Long Bay I did for a couple of minutes which does not really count), but I managed it pretty well somehow (getting to the finish line as the last one though).
The landscape was amazing! Really picturesque area with beautiful forests and clear sky. The water was freezing cold and there was a heavy rain from time to time, but the view was absolutely worth it.
Kayaking and canoeing are very common in the Ardennes, the jewel of Wallonia. Many tourists and locals enjoy the fast-flowing rivers from the hills through densely wooded valleys!
Have you ever been to the Ardennes? Would you like to add it to your bucket list or come back again?