Winter in Haspengouw


Not sure if the weather has understood that spring has arrived as I still am cold all day. 4 degrees at night is way too cold for me. Anyhow… looking back at the winter, it was a beautiful time in my region.

VRIJHERN 1 sign

Vrijhern – Chocolate cake topped with powder sugar and chocolate shavings

ZAMMELEN 1 sign

Zammelen – Road to heaven

I did quite some hikes last winter and was always looking for new places to walk around. I looked for the walking brochures I used 14 years ago when I was taking my first born for walks. Actually, as a baby she was vast asleep in the stroller, strapped in, while my friend and I were navigating through rough terrain, pushing the strollers and lifting our strollers across gates. I am surprised (actually I should be surprised to be surprised) that some hikes were gone, changed and new ones emerged. A lot of them are even more beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some of my favorite places:

Zammelen

Zammelen was and still is one of those places I really like. A nice rolling landscape through different type of scenery and mainly pear orchards. Back in 1879 in an attempt to support the development of the area a railway was opened. It facilitated the transport the local fruit to neighboring cities. After WWII and with better transportation, the railway route was closed. In the 60’s the track was dismantled and in many cases turned into a walkway as part of the vast hiking and mountainbike trails. A nice part of my hike was on the heightened bedding of this ex-railroad track.

ZAMMELEN 5 sign ZAMMELEN 2 sign

I had a lot of déja-vues… wait a minute, isn’t this the road to Jesseren on which I took that picture with the crackles in the road against the sun that misty morning?… and wasn’t it this spot where we ate blackberries when we were on a bike ride with our toddles one of the summers a long time ago?… A few weeks later my husband and I were walking in Kerniel when I recognized one of the corners in the hike as well. Guess the whole region is full of hikes woven into one.

Vrijhern

VRIJHERN 2 sign VRIJHERN 3 sign

Another Greenspot: This is one of the hiking spots which has been developed heavily, in a good way. At least now you can park your car neatly. The hike I took brought me through a diverse scenery, passing by old memory stones going back centuries. In this day and age it feels a bit more remote than maybe it was back then. Again a déja-vue… I have done part of this walk with my son a few years back… there is one grave next to the road, which is atypical here.

Vechmaal, Heks and Heurne

VECHMAAL HEKS DSC_4844b dark sign VECHMAAL HEKS DSC_4443 dark sign 20170116_122728 dark_01

On the way to Vechmaal some bird houses are installed high up the lanterns… not small ordinary ones, but big ones for the hawks. This is one of the rare areas where you can see an actual landscape without too many man made things in the way. Also in this area: a Greenspot as they call it, a network of hiking trails and typical fauna and flora. On one of the walks you pass by old limestone caves which were excavated for the limestone from the mid-ages or even before, throughout times they were used as hiding place when hostile armies passed by the region, later on in the 30’s up to the 60’s they were used to grow mushrooms…. and now… they house bats :).

Jesseren

HEKS winter 9 sign HEKS winter 8 sign HEKS winter 3 sign

The whole area of Borgloon and Jesseren looks really nice.I keep on driving through that area on the look out for nice locations to take pictures throughout the year. One of the cold winter mornings I was driving around to capture some nice pictures. I spend some two hours outside taking pictures, covering only 100 m in the freezing cold. But still happy.

Wellen

GROTE BEEMD BROEKBEEMD3 sign WELLEN IN T VELD 3 sign GROTE BEEMD BROEKBEEMD5 sign

It took me 10 years to discover that there are two nature reserves in my village… TWO… one next to the village center, another one a street further down. The latter one I discovered by accident as I was trying out dirt roads. In the Broekbeemd, next to the village center, a whole herd of highland cows is grazing. They just got some young calves joining the herd! Need to go back now to check them out.

Printhagen

PRINTHAGEN 1 sign PRINTHAGEN 3 sign

And finally, one of the local shortcuts from our village to the “big” city passes by a nice landscape, which especially in the mornings (see also the misty pictures of my fall post) is quite special.

 

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