On a journey through Belgium discovering beautiful nature, medieval towns, old and living history!
The serenity of a Belgian forest
Spring has different expressions all over the world, and I was lucky to experience the Belgian version of this yearly phenomenon.
I arrived at the end of the flowering of the blue hyacinths, and although they were starting to fade, I admired the glorious effect they had as a blue carpet on the forest floor.
I wasn’t the only one out there, there were several languages and accents among the groups of people strolling on the trails. Brussels is a very international city, and the Bois de Halle is located just outside.
This wood felt huge and calm, ancient really with the towering trees and thick trunks. I felt I could wander off following the trails and it would never end. Here was a wood sanctuary that felt perfectly safe; it was a creation for leisure and sport with wide, even trails, perfect for family outings and bird or flower watching.
I wouldn’t go to Belgium if I were craving excitement or drama or big vistas, exhausting myself on scaling hillsides and scrambling through rocks. Oh no, for those I’d go to Norway or Switzerland!
Walking in a Belgian forest is a calming experience, and you can’t really get lost when the trails keep going straight and often intersect in a grid pattern…
From forest to open landscape
Leaving the forest, we enter a different world where the sky opens up over farms and fields and distant villages.
I stopped to admire the lovely green fields surrounding a farm with whitewashed buildings and red roofs. Everything in Belgium is so orderly and pretty, old and charming.
Other parts of Belgium are equally beautiful and scenic, rolling hills and soft features characterize most of the landscape in this country.
The Belgian landscape: Gently undulating hills and shallow valleys with different colored fields depending on the season or the crop, interrupted by a solitary row of trees or a darker mass of a forest starting – or ending.
When visiting Belgium, try to avoid the many highways and take the smaller roads that will bring you to more interesting places!
Canals are everywhere in Belgium, from busy and wide thoroughfares for transport and business, to calm and slow canals greening with age and algae.
History and traditions
There’s so much history hiding in the cultural landscape of Belgium, generations of farmsteading where centuries’ old structures are still integral part in modern day farming.
Rivers, canals… running through towns and villages all over Belgium. It’s not Venice, although when you see how people for centuries have built their lives and business around the waterways, some similarities come to mind!
From simple villages and farm life, there is still evidence of opulence and noblesse; there are many castles around to remind you of old European history.
From grand estates with vast properties, to castles centered in small villages, Belgium has it all!
Belgium is a multifaceted country, its traditions and history both influenced from the French in the south and the Dutch in the north. Still, it’s a country uniquely and proudly its own, make no mistake!