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“Welcome to our 24th summer at the Burg-Reuland campsite!”

Three generations, every summer, at the same campsite: it’s a long-standing tradition for the Dutch Hoekman-Melaard family.

In Burg-Reuland, at Camping Hohenbusch, they’ve found their second home among the green, rolling hills. In the beginning they used to bring a touring caravan, now they have a well-equipped static caravan. This charming family let us share their wonderful holiday for a day.

Text: Ostbelgien.eu  Photos: Ostbelgien.eu/Michael Dehaspe 

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19- AR40085-Edit
Family Hoekman-Melaard; f.l.t.r. : Koos, Margriet, Corrie et Celine

Isn’t going to the same holiday destination every year a bit… boring?

Not according to the Hoekman-Melaard family. “The tradition arose very spontaneously,” says Corrie Hoekman. She is the mother of Margriet, mother-in-law of Koos Melaard, and grandmother of Céline Melaard. We sit together at the table in the caravan’s little garden that Corrie carefully tends, surrounded by beautiful flowers. It is an idyllic spot.

“My husband, who has now sadly passed away, came to this area for work and discovered the campsite by chance.” Since then Corrie, along with her children and grandchildren, have always come here, year after year. “We used to go to the south of France,” she says, “but I don't miss that at all.”

Camping Hohenbusch

So what’s so special about Camping Hohenbusch?

Corrie answers immediately and without hesitation: the hospitality. The whole family enthusiastically endorse this. “The people here are so sweet and extremely helpful,” says Céline. “Just one example: when I needed to go to a physiotherapist during the holidays, they helped me to find one nearby.”

In addition, tranquillity, cleanliness and conviviality are all significant factors. The swimming pool (paddling pool and main pool) was recently renovated and there is also an excellent chip shop. “Ideal now and then, if you don't fancy cooking!” Corrie jokes. The campsite also has a playground, a sanitary block and a small petting zoo – you can hear the goats bleating merrily in the background.

Finally, the campsite has one huge – perhaps its greatest – attraction: its beautiful surroundings. “Just look at those hills”, Corrie sighs with satisfaction. “Magnificent!”

Walking and cycling in and around Burg-Reuland

We put on our walking shoes and go for a walk together around Burg-Reuland, a German-speaking municipality in the province of Liège. A stone's throw from the campsite, we reach a hill and a dense forest. An impressive view awaits us at the top. “I'm nineteen years old and I've been coming here all my life,” says Céline. “Even if you've seen it a hundred times, you never tire of this place.”

Take it from this teenager: Burg-Reuland is the ideal place for walking and cycling. “The Vennbahn – a cycle path that follows an old railway line – runs through this region, for example,” she notes. The Vennbahn is part of the RAVeL system, the Réseau Autonome des Voies Lentes (the autonomous network of slow (i.e. non-motorised paths). Its course connects three countries: Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.

You can use these RAVeL routes to reach a host of beautiful tourist attractions – the ruined castle of Burg-Reuland, for example, home to a grand noble family until the beginning of the 14th century. “We have visited the castle a few times,” says Margriet. “If you go by car, I would recommend parking on the edge of the village. Visiting the village is all part of the experience.”

To the south of Burg-Reuland, the RAVeL routes follow the borders where Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg meet in a triangle. This is the location of the Europe Monument, a memorial to the founders of the European Union.

“If the weather is bad, or if you don't like walking and cycling, you can always find other things to do,” adds Céline. “There are so many museums to discover. Another hot tip is the Eastbelgium Action & Fun Center. There you can go karting and bowling – and much more.”

Accommodation in East Belgium

We return to Camping Hohenbusch after our lovely walk. As dusk approaches an orange glow gently spreads over the green hills. Seated on comfortable chairs in the well-kept garden, we understand why Corrie and her family have selected this campsite as their favourite holiday spot. “We have never tried any other campsite. It’s perfect here.”

Now the time has come to say goodbye to the family. Half joking, I ask Céline if she’ll come back here one day with her future children. “That’ll depend on what my boyfriend wants but… Sure, I think I'll come for a few days every summer anyway.” And so Camping Hohenbusch may well one day play host to a fourth generation of the Hoekman-Melaard family.

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