Creative Travel in the Ardennes Luxembourgeoises: Felting, Photography & Foodie Wine Travel!

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg: Another one bites the nettle. Flowers are a girl’s best friend. Digging deep for slate stone jewellery! Those of you who really want to know what is going on in a country the size of Lower Austria, in the multi-nation state of Luxembourg, will have to travel the creative way. “We do not just offer a cooking class … cleaning and cutting vegetables, pah!” Hans Poppelaars says in a dismissive tone and looks at us with his keen, watchful eyes. “What really matters to us here at Manoir Kasselslay in Roder, near the town of Clervaux, is to make new connections. To give people creative impulses along their way. To teach them something new, something they have not seen or experienced before”, he says, and his voice becomes soft. Gently, he lifts up the bottle of Auxerrois and pours us a second round. A sly grin appears on his face, for he knows that he has hit the nail on the head with me. Never before have I heard of the wine grape variety Auxerrois, despite being a true winelover traveller and always on the lookout for new, creative impulses. There is always a first time in life. And this time, it is here in the Ardennes Luxembourgeoises, in the far north of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg!


Gourmets will find their way here. Maryse & Hans Poppelaars have transformed their estate Manoir Kasselslay near the town of Clervaux into a true paradise for wine lovers & “foodie” travellers.

Ever since I arrived in Luxembourg on the occasion of the country’s first ever creative tourism festival “Be Creative in the Ardennes“, I have been looking forward to the culinary wine tasting with Hans. Hans has been living in Luxembourg together with his Maryse for many years now and is originally from the Netherlands. It is thanks to numerous trips abroad that he has really shaped his extensive wine & culinary knowledge. All the rooms in this luxury estate hotel restaurant Manoir Kasselslay bear the name of certain spices, spices that also appear in Hans’ kitchen. From the restaurant to the individually designed rooms to the wine cellar and the beautiful garden terrace, everything around Manoir Kasselslay breathes with the gentle aroma of joy and openness. This is a place to feel good and relax.

Zu Tisch, die Damen: Die kulinarische Weinverkostung kann beginnen!

À table: Let the culinary wine tasting begin!


Ganz gemütlich beginnen wir in diesem schönen Abmiente, übers Leben zu plaudern ...

In this laid-back, happy atmosphere we immediately start talking about life, the universe, and all matters concerning great food & wine …


... Hans ist sichtlich ergriffen von unserem Interesse am Terroir, Ausbau & Charakter der luxemburgischen Weine ...

… with Hans being truly passionate about the character and terroir of wines from Luxembourg …


... er lässt es sich nicht nehmen, uns alle Gänge höchstpersönlich direkt am Teller anzurichten, hat er doch wirklich alles und ausschließlich selbst gemacht ...

… he is very eager to serve and explain us everything he has made here, from preserves over pickles and chutneys, all home-made …


... die Weine, wie dieser Riesling, passen hervorragend zu den leichten Sommergerichten während der kulinarischen Weinverkostung!

… the wines he serves us, such as this Riesling, are a true delight and go very well with the light summer meals Hans offers us!


Auch zur Nachspeise stehen verschiedene, kräftige Geister zur Verfügung.

Strong spirits are waiting for us upon dessert.


Und spätestens beim Gang in das "Allerheiligste", Hans' Weinkeller, wird klar: Dieser Mann hortet einen wahren Schatz. Und - er kennt sich aus!

And once we head to Hans’ “inner sanctum”, the wine cellar, it does become clear once and for all: This man has a passion, and a great knowledge, about all things wine!


Von den Zimmern bis zur Terrasse und zum Restaurant, fühlen wir uns im Manoir Kasselslay rundum wohl und sind geneigt, gleich bis zum Abendessen zu bleiben!

From the rooms, to the terrace to the restaurant, we feel we have arrived here at Manoir Kasselslay, being the luxury gourmet travellers we are! I really enjoy all the careful little details we find in this place.


Vielen Dank, liebe Maryse, lieber Hans, für den schönen und sehr interessanten Besuch bei Euch in Roder!

Thank you so much, dear Maryse & Hans, for this perfect visit at your beautiful estate hotel Kasselslay in Roder in the north of Luxembourg!


Felting is next: We find it easy to get creative when holidaying in Luxembourg.

Once more, I find myself returning to the beautiful river landscape of the nature park Esch-sur-Sûre. The nature park centre offers not only to become creative with flowers, but also offers regular felt making courses. Felting & wool processing is known to be among the most ancient traditions of humankind, almost as old as basket weaving or pottery. Today, we are here to focus on the playful element of it all: Small baskets, little cushions, tablecloths or even an image of Sponge Bob and Hello Kitty are what the children & adults around us produce from the fine wool. Creativity knows no limits – and children are certainly models to learn from here!

Die wunderschöne Landschaft des Naturpark Öewersauer ...

The beautiful landscape of the nature park Esch-sur-Sûre …


... lädt ein, beim Filzen kreativ zu werden!

… inspires us to become creative during a felt making workshop!


Diese Dame ist bereits hochkonzentriert bei der Arbeit - ein Gefühl des Flow, wenn etwas Schönes, Neues entstehen kann!

This lady is already very focused, almost in a state of flow I’d say – one of the beautiful side effects creativity has upon us!


Die Kinder nehmen's da gelassen - bunt muss es sein ...

Children are easy-going – what matters is having fun, and lots of colours …


... und möglichst bekannten Zeichnungen wie Sponge Bob ähneln. ;)

… as well as aiming for clear, well-loved characters such as Sponge Bob. 😉


Be Creative in the Ardennes - beim Filzworkshop!

“Be Creative in the Ardennes” – join a felt workshop!


Alfonso Salgueiro Lora is a truly talented, professional landscape photographer. His calm nature is reflected in the fascinating beauty of the Luxembourg Ardennes.

The town of Clervaux is home to an extraordinary collection of photographs, called “Family Of Man” which was already been shown in 1955 at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Today, it is recognised by the UNESCO World Heritage Commission as a unique World Heritage of Humankind. So what better place to go on a creative photo tour – especially as a travel blogger with a constant inclination for (instant) travel photography?

There is no better place. Right at the start of the tour, Alfonso, a Spaniard married to an Irish woman with Portuguese roots living in Luxembourg (yes! We are talking three different languages ​​between us 😉 ), gives us a great lesson in perspective. He shows Laurie and me a technique to completely scan the courtyard of the Château Clervaux from a particular point of view! Even when the batteries in my camera give up (how could this happen now, I wonder?), Alfonso simply reverts back to teaching me new settings on my smartphone app Camera+. The iPhone 5 has a powerful camera, after all: Whether with smartphones or (semi) professional cameras, Alfonso’s photo workshop caters to all our needs. Find out more about Alfonso’s fascinating and beautiful landscape photography here.

Die Stadt Clervaux, fotografiert aus einem besonderen Blickwinkel ...

The city of Clervaux, as seen from one of the great spots Alfonso introduces us to during his tour …


... ist zugleich Heimat der (Welt)berühmten Fotoausstellung "The Family Of Man" ...

… is also home to the (world) famous photo exhibition, “The Family Of Man”.


Vor dem Château Clervaux filmen junge Musiker ihr neuestes Musikvideo - und stehen uns dafür Motiv.

In front of Château Clervaux, young musicians have gathered for a shooting, lending themselves as models for our photography workshop. Nice composition!


Alfonso nimmt sich geduldig Laurie's Kamera an und ergründet mit ihr sämtliche technischen Raffinessen des Apparates ...

Alfonso takes his time with us, properly introducing Laurie to her own camera settings …


... Blende, ISO, Verschlusszeit - die Stilmittel der Fotografie.

… shutter, ISO, timing: We learn all there is to know about adjusting the camera to what it is you want to focus on.


Neben der richtigen Belichtung eröffnet uns Alfonso auch immer wieder den Blick für neue Perspektiven - im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes.

Apart from the technical aspects, finding the right perspective ist just as important in photography, as Alfonso shows us here passing this former hotel building in Clervaux.


Und selbst, als meine Kamera den "Geist aufgibt", entdecke ich noch viele weitere Stilmittel der Fotografie direkt auf meinem iPhone 5: Die Foto-App Camera+ im Test.

And even after my camera’s batteries have died, I find I am still learning a lot about photography through testing my iPhone 5’s photo app Camera+. Cool thing!


A great journey into the creative destination of the Ardennes Luxembourgeoises, which I will not forget any time soon! More impressions as well as the results of our photo walk can be found on my Flickr page:


Disclaimer: Thank you, dear Laurie, for inviting me to experience a good part of the 1st “Be Creative” Festival in the Ardennes Luxembourgeoises. All opinions are my own.

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