Durbuy, a small town in Belgium in the East, reminds me of my home. With its stone houses and paved streets. A fairytale castle, situated at the top of a cliff overlooking the small town and the Ourthe valley, gives a fortified side to the city. The gentle rocky and wooded mountains that surround it, protect it like a jewel case.
This city is not really “the smallest city in the world”. It’s more like a clever trick to lure tourists. In fact, it refers to a charter of franchises granted by King John of Bohemia, Count of Luxembourg. The old town of Durbuy itself still has about 400 inhabitants today. Nevertheless, this anecdote aroused my curiosity. So I deliver you the fruit of my research! The smallest city in the world would be Hum, in Croatia, with its thirty inhabitants.
When I went to Wallonia, I saw the landscapes changed: less urbanization, larger cultivable areas and longer distances between each village. What changes me from Bornem, where the distance with the neighboring villages rarely exceeds a few meters.
In the village of Durbuy, I found a familiar spirit, the river crossing the old town, some courageous canoes at this time of year! From time to time, the sun shines on the facades of the houses. Some of them are stone, others half-timbered.
I couldn’t get through this town without taking a culinary break. Especially local jams known throughout Belgium, such as Saint-Amour jams. This jam is made with fresh fruit, picked at maturity and cooked immediately. The advantage of complete ripening allows for a natural taste and sweetness. This makes it possible to add less sugar to the preparation. The cooking technique is very different from today’s techniques: copper pots and wood-burning. The technique remains ancestral as our grandmothers used to do.
But this charming city, a Belgian jewel, still reserves many other surprises!!