Das kleine Glück
Our story began over fifty years ago, when “Dees” drove his truck from Flanders to deliver potatoes to Clemens and Hildegard in Büllingen. Clemens worked as a milkman, but he also had a few cows, a small mill and he sold potatoes. There were no motorways at that time, so he was forced to take the national roads. This meant that it was not always possible to make the return journey on the day. One should also not forget that loading and unloading a truck was not as easy as it is today. When he arrived in far away Büllingen, Dees did not have to go far to look for a place to stay: the family always immediately asked him to spend the night with them, so they often spent pleasant evenings in each other’s company. It is no surprise that, over time, they became close friends. During one of these evenings (after ample helpings of alcohol?) Dees came up with the philosophical idea of converting the adjacent barn into holiday homes. As a businessman, he felt a growing interest from Flanders to visit this beautiful region. Clemens, who knew that Dees liked to play it safe, decided to create one holiday home (the one on the left).
It was no coincide that this happened in 1972, the year when the E40 motorway from Brussels to Liège was all but finished. Whenever Alice (Dees’ wife) went to the local barber shop, she praised this beautiful region and their friends. This made the barber so curious that he decided to rent the holiday home to spend his family holiday there.
…And that is where I enter the picture. After all, I was the youngest of four children from this barber’s family (at that time I was five years old and I had three sisters). Our first holiday there was such a success that Büllingen became our annual holiday destination from that time on. Throughout the years, we acquired so many loving memories there. ...As a child building dams in the local streams, fishing with my dad for hours, going out for lovely family meals, going to Bütgenbach for some swimming and catching some sun, visiting the Coo waterfalls (now Plopsa Coo) taking the funicular and kayaking, visiting war museums, exploring Luxembourg and Germany (Monschau and Aachen), taking trips to the tri-border area of Ouren, milking the cows, together with Clemens, attempting to speak German with the locals, visiting the castle of Reinhardstein, Hellenthal animal park with its wonderful birds of prey show, and so forth, and so forth.
Undertaking this annual journey was quite an endeavour for my father at the time (mid 70s). A barber who hardly ever took his car out suddenly had to drive 200 km to Büllingen. Passing the city centre of Brussels no less, as the ring road around Brussels had not yet been built. Whenever our journey took us through Brussels, we (the children) knew we had to be quiet, because dad had to focus on the road. We filled this quiet time with staring at the huge Atomium. Shortly before going on holiday, the car also had to go into the garage for maintenance and a full inspection, as it would need to drive a total of 6 to 700 km in the coming weeks! At that time, this was so unusual people brought their cars into the garage especially for this purpose. Also, at other times during the year, when there was snow, we regularly went up there to ski. After a while, numerous friends of the family started tagging along during our (skiing) holidays. We then rented both homes, which was ideal for us :going on holiday together, while everyone enjoys their privacy. For years we would go on our holidays to Büllingen until Hildegard and Clemens grew too old to be able to continue running the holiday homes. Then the home on the left was rented out on a permanent basis, so we could only rent the one on the right and later it was decided to completely stop renting out the holiday homes.
We could not part with this region and spent the next few years staying at various new locations nearby, but it was never the same as before and we started missing our familiar address where we could “come home”. Hildegard and Clemens had now gone and the house was taken over by their son Günther. When I was staying nearby in 2009, I saw the houses were up for sale. After some deliberation, I decided to buy them myself. At the time, they were rented out on a permanent basis, but the two tenants left shortly after (a single girl went to live with her boyfriend and the couple living in the other house got a baby and wanted a slightly bigger house). As the opportunity presented itself, I considered completely renovating the homes and renting them back out as holiday homes.
Today we are now able to have people enjoy the area and the houses again. They can build up their own lovely holiday memories, just as we did.
We hope that you can discover (as I did) the warmth, splendour, gemütlichkeit (atmosphere) and so much more of the area!
© 2015 DAS KLEINE GLÜCK - VAKANTIEWONINGEN