Creative Travel in the Ardennes Luxembourgeoises: Flower, Slate & Nettle Workshops!

The “Ardennes Luxembourgeoises”, or Luxembourg Ardennes, are what we quite simply refer to as a “magical landscape”. “What elements distinguish our best travel memories? A sense of romance. Great landscapes. A feeling of happiness, and bliss …”, I recently learned from the two international travel journalists Audrey Scott & Daniel Noll, of Uncornered Market. And so it is, that here in the far north of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, I am repeatedly reminded of my very own homeland in the Lower Austrian Waldviertel, what with its gently undulating hills, interspersed with crystal-clear rivers, romantic castles and majestic towers. It is quite a compliment, of course, as those of you who follow me around Austria will know.

Laurie sits next to me and smiles. On the occasion of the first ever Creative Tourism Festival “Be Creative in the Ardennes”, she wears her brightest smile and dress. Pride shines in her eyes, as she talks to me about the long preparations for the ten-day festival here in the Luxembourg Ardennes: “More than 30 creative artists skilled in the most diverse arts & crafts of our own country have gathered here to give visitors the opportunity for close-up, interactive learning experiences. In the next few days, we will make a tour with a professional landscape photographer, take part in a culinary wine tasting (yesss 😀 ), visit a felt & flowers workshop, learn to harvest & cook nettle leaves in a variety of ways and make our own slate jewelry.” Luxembourg is very rich, after all. A far cry from the classic stereotype of the letter-box companies in Luxembourg City, this time I choose to travel along the lines of a very different wealth in Luxembourg: The wealth of the people, their skills and fine arts.


Our first creative workshop during the festival “Be Creative in the Ardennes” bears the beautiful French name “Ortie, mon amie!” …

… which literally translates into something like: “Nettle, my friend!” And that is exactly what it is, a “friendly” plant with healing powers that apparently grows everywhere – and about which there is still a lot to learn. Right on the border with Germany, in a romantic little place called Untereisenbach, we meet with locals hosts Michel and Agnes in the creative bistro & restaurant “KultOUR Deppen”. Agnes is originally from Italy and speaks, as she now lives in Luxembourg, at least five different languages ​​- as well as the language of plants. She teaches us the differences in various stinging nettle plants, of how to distinguish which parts of the plant are good for our vegetarian cooking class and lots more useful tips and facts about nettles. We then proceed eating nettles as a pesto, an omelette, even a risotto – and an ice cream! A perfect meal during summer time, don’t you think?

Ankommen in den kreativen Ardennen: Zum ersten Mal findet 2014 das jährlich stattfindende Kreativ-Festival "Be Creative in the Ardennes" statt.

Arriving at the Creative Ardennes: For the first time ever in 2014, the “Be Creative Festival” takes place in the Ardennes Luxembourgeoises.


Wir starten mit einem spannenden sowie interaktiv und lehrreich gestalteten Workshop rund um die Brennnessel ...

We start off with an interactive and fun workshop learning all there is to know about nettle leaves as well as their healing powers …


... indem uns Agnes (hier links im Bild) alles verrät, was es über diese wundersame Pflanze zu wissen gibt.

… with Agnes (on the left), sharing her expert knowledge with us during the creative workshop.


Beim Schneiden und Verarbeiten der Brennnessel wären diese Handschuhe zum Beispiel oft gar nicht nötig, denn Brennnessel stechen nur an bestimmten Stellen!

Cutting nettle leaves, it is not necessary to wear gloves all the time, as nettles only sting in certain parts of the plant!


Laurie & ich tragen sie trotzdem - sie sehen wohl auch einfach schick aus. ;)

Laurie & I still carry them – they look quite fancy after all, don’t you think? 😉


Zurück in der Küche des Kreativ-Bistro & Restaurant KultOUR Deppen kochen wir unser eigenes Süppchen ...

Back in the kitchen of the  creative bistro & restaurant KultOUR Deppen, we start our cooking experience …


... und bereiten absolut köstliche Speisen aus der Brennnessel-Pflanze, wie hier kleine würzige Krapfen zu.

… while having a good old chat among ourselves: Strangers turning into friends, as always happens during creative travel experiences.


Zu Tisch lassen wir uns wirklich nicht zwei Mal bitten!

Enjoy your meal(s): Thank you, dear Michel and Agnes, for hosting us on this special day in the Creative Ardennes of Luxembourg!


Mahlzeit mit selbstgemachten Brennnessel-Spezialitäten aus Luxemburg!

Home-made, tasty nettle specialities, including pesto, omelette & risotto. I am getting hungry again …!


The Luxembourg Slate Museum offers regular courses for designing your own jewelry made from the beautiful, gray-mottled stone.

On the occasion of the first ever “Be Creative” Festival in the Luxembourg Ardennes, Laurie and I visit an easy afternoon class learning how to make jewelry out ​​of slate. Easy, because we both end up wearing a formidable piece of jewelry from the dark gray stone in less than an hour’s time! I choose mine to have the shape of a heart, while Laurie decides on a star. Inspired by the many children around us, who teach us the “simple doing and non-thinking”-approach to becoming creative, we soon enjoy the first feelings of happiness from our own creative enthusiasm.

Zunächst einmal heißt es direkt vor dem Schiefermuseum, den passenden Stein für die Schmuckgestaltung zu finden.

First of all, we have to pick and choose the right piece of slate in front of the Slate Museum in Luxembourg for our creative jewelry workshop.


Kurze Zeit später werken wir bereits drauf los; unter der Politur der Werkzeuge nehmen unsere Schmuckstücke schön langsam ihre vollendete Form an.

A little later, we are already busy shaping our own, handcrafted souvenir from the grey slate rock.


Die Kursankündigung zum Kreativ-Sein macht Lust auf mehr, hier beim Kreativ-Festival in Luxemburg!

These and many more workshops are offered as part of the Creative Tourism Festival in the Ardennes Luxembourgeoises.


Oh the sweet scent of flowers! “Just pick & choose those you like”, Martina laughs merrily, already plucking the first great flowers to form her unique arrangement.

Do you know one of the greatest things about creative travel? Sometimes, many times actually, you do not need a plan, not even a idea, no know-how, nothing else than the openness of your mind, of your very own inspiration & creativity. I did not know what my flower arrangement was going to look like. In fact, I have never ever done one before. And yet, it has just happened to me. Just like that. A most beautiful flower arrangement, one that florists might become jealous about. I am touched; Laurie gives hers to her dear mother-in-law who is simply delighted. The happiness of creativity, just saying. Such are our amazing travel experiences here in Luxembourg!

Direkt hier am Flusslauf des Naturpark Öwersauer, findet unser schönes "Atelier fleural" statt.

Right here by the river, we are inspired to work during our “Atelier Fleural” in the nature park Esch-sur-Sûre.


Während ich noch unseren kreativen Veranstaltungskalender für die nächsten Tage studiere ...

While I am still busy studying our calendar of creative events for the next couple of days …


Im Naturparkzentrum haben die Damen bereits losgelegt.

… the ladies around me have already started.!


Die Arbeit mit den schönen Blumen aus der Region macht mir Spaß, dieses wunderschöne Gesteck gelingt mir ganz einfach so - anders kann ich es mir nicht erklären.

And here it is, my very own, beautiful flower creation made from local flowers and with the help of local people from Luxembourg. Despite being ephemeral in nature, preparing this flower arrangement has proven to be a most beautiful creative travel experience, as working with or in the nature has healing powers over the human soul.


Wir sagen Dankeschön für eine tolle Zeit der Inspiration!

Thank you for a wonderful time of inspiration here in Luxembourg!


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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