A walk in the Hallerbos forest!
The Hallerbos forest is well known for its lust carpets of bluebells which only flower for about 2 weeks in Spring each year. We were hoping to time our stay in line with this magical event, but due to the cooler winter we were a week too early to see the magic happen. A week can be a long time in the life cycle of a flower.
We found signage that clearly showed that you need to stay on the path as if you tread on the sprouting foliage of a bluebell it will never grow again. Life over forever. As we walked through this enormous forest the wild daffodils were fully in bloom holding their stunning faces high to the suns rays.
As we walked through a maze of different paths we were greeted by carpets of yellow star of lesser celandine. Walking up to higher areas of the park we found stunning forest floors of white wood anemones. You can stand and study these flowers and the forest floor here for hours.
The leaves of the fresh young bluebells turned turned most of the forest floor a succulent lavish green. Rob studies a patch beside the pathway and to his joy found a bud of a bluebell. One of the first to start its journey upward for the season!!! What a true find!!
We have noted patches here where only dead leaves lay due to people wandering off the path in hope of a great me photo!!! Time will not recover what had been distorted!!! Natures beauty stripped from its hand just for someone’s photo collection….
It is a joy to walk in the awakening of Spring in the Hallerbos forest. On the way in I caught sight of a huge bumble bee busily collecting pollen. So big you just wanted to pat his long fur. Pathways lead deep into the ground, so deep that we were walking amongst the huge underground tree roots. Tree stumps which had been cut down showed signs of their pain as fungi sprouts like old painful piles.
Wandering along we spotted skeleton leaves decaying back into the earth to replenish young growth; like fallen soldiers they leave their legacy behind for the next generation. This place is a naturalist’s dream!!!
We step into a dormant dark dank pine forest where young architects had built their tree fortresses. Here you can imagine children once lined their pine bullets ready to battle frienemies in war fun.
We have contemplated a return trip over the border from The Netherlands to see the blue faced beauties in the week to come!!!!!
Even in this fragile nature reserve dogs are allowed, but still back in Australia the 4 legged compassionate companion, mate and furry fun loving friends are shut out of a nice walk in the woods!!!
No wonder furry pets here seem so relaxed and well behaved as they are immersed in life – not left behind to dream on the door mat.
On our way to our last destination in Belgium we made a stop in Belgium’s oldest town. If you like a rural setting full of Roman history Tongeren is definitely worth a visit. Rob and I have found that we love rural stays as they offer quite a diverse range of outdoor things to do.
Tongeren has a Roman temple site and a Roman wall. Overshadowing the main town square sat the Gothic Basilica of Our Lady of Tongeren. A very imposing historical treasure that we enjoyed visiting. You can never get enough of gorgeous stained glass windows and cathedral ceilings.
Tongeren also had great coffee. You found most people soaking up the sun at a cafe in the square. We could have spent longer here as the town is an antique market town with 40 renowned antique shops, our favourite sort of shopping!
Our last apartment had a beautiful cityscape view over Liege. Liege is the 3rd largest city in Belgium. A city that supports cultural diversity. Liege houses 165 difference nationalities. This was a positive cultural educational experience for both Rob and I. We once again had stepped off the golden tourist route. It was hard to find any English tourist brochures here. French being the most common language spoken, which luckily Rob is able to speak. He has surprised me as I now see him as my bilingual speaking husband, a side of him I didn’t really know for 13 years. He is like a cicada, he metamorphoses with his new environment.
Liege is a small city compared to Brisbane. It has a population of 200, 000 consisting of:
Liege is set on a river which winds through the center and was easy to explore on foot.
It had the common signs of Spring being fabulous flower beds around the city and parks. The buttercups were just divine. Our day out in Liege brought our first full Spring day of blue sky with mild warm temperatures of 18 degrees. People were reluctant to shed their bear layers as it is rare to get sunny days here in Belgium as light rain and cloudy day are the common theme during Spring time.
Saint Paul’s Cathedral was our favourite historical site here. There was a lot to explore in this beautiful Cathedral. You are hit by a true sense of calm as you wander sound in a mindful daze at art work everywhere you look. From stunning mural patterned ceilings, to light translucent stained glass windows that tell medieval tales. Interior cathartic architecture and decorative tomb stones is all just a form of language and artistic expression. I think Rob and I have been immersed in so many Cathedrals over our travels we could do a Masters Degree on Medieval Cathedral Expression. Definitely one of the best places to learn about art and society over time.
Another interesting historical icon is the steep staircase that descends into the town. The 300 or so steps are the place for a cardio workout but it was built during the war. This allowed the soldiers a direct route into town so they didn’t get distracted by the local ladies.
We had a Birthday Boy back at home. VaCation Cat Resort gave our cat Dash a beautiful 12th birthday pat. Dash is our only sole surviving cat as we have lost 2 being hit, Dusk and beautiful Duke. We also lost Our loved Dawn to a cancerous tumour but she gave it her all! Chatty Dash is the oldest cat we have had so it was a celebration!!