The beautiful Oak walk (8,5 km)

in het Zoniënwoud, a forest in Flanders with a majority of  Beech, is one of the possible paths you can walk to get a forest feeling : fluttering leaves and leaves rustling under your feet, an amazing amount of  toadstool species in a cathedral of trees.

Description : http://www.promenadesbacob.be/html/wandeling.asp?taal=ned...

11:13 Gepost door Hildegarde in Vlaanderen-natuur | Permalink | Commentaren (3) | Tags: bomen, fantasie | |  Facebook


Hydrangea (Hortensia)

has a nice late flowering time and brings you : tenderness in autumn.

12:20 Gepost door Hildegarde in Vlaanderen-groen | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: planten | |  Facebook


“The care of the poor”

I read an interview in De Standaard (newspaper, DS-22/10/2005, Katrijn De Vos) with a woman who has such a practical view on  the problem of street kids in Brazil, that I immediately thought “yes, to donate money to that project is useful”.  Dalila Gerlani  dares to call a spade a spade : “Some kids can not be helped anymore : it are murderers, carrying around with huge guns and a giant drug addiction”.  “Girls living on the street get pregnant at their 11th !!  It would be better for them if they got sterilized.”

She was a street kid herself and now is in charge of two homes for children, Favos del Mel I and II (beehives).  They keep the children of the street, provide them with food, education and a home.  And they work with the adults as well : informing them about birth control and pointing them on their responsibility. 

This woman takes action and struggles to change the world !

More info + how to donate !!! : www.kinderenvanrio.org

Abandoning children is of all times and places.  I visited the Maagdenhuis in Antwerp (16th century building), a girl’s orphanage from 1353 until 1882.  It is a small museum but with touching items.  There is a poor reconstruction of a foundling drawer with on the back a scrap of paper, but what it says !! Babies were put in the drawer by mothers who had no means to take care of the child, but obviously hoped to get their child back one day ! Very often there was an item on the baby such as a playing card  or a picture of a saint - sometimes something was written on it-  ripped in two parts with irregular sides : one part for the baby, one half for the mother.  That way the mother could  find her child again by matching cards.  All items found on the babies were kept and registered in detail.  A little note : “This child is not baptized.  But she listens to the name xxx  Signed : XX (two capitals)” in a glass cabinet, together with tiny clothes and caps (I look at the hand-made stitches and how the pieces of tissue are put together and I see care in it),  porridge bowls and spoons, a list of what the orphans and foundlings got to eat, …  The children were subjected to severe rules, were not allowed to leave the home, but got food, clothes ( a uniform), a place to sleep and an education.  The care of the poor in cities was made possible by donations of rich civilians (charity) and often undertaken by religious communities.

11:46 Gepost door Hildegarde in Antwerpen-architectuur | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | |  Facebook


Pump it up !

Kallo : caught in the cables of  electricity pylons : it keeps disturbing the view.  Would nobody have thought of that before they started ? I suppose such cables can be put underground as well ?

View on Kallo made in “het Groot Rietveld” (the Big Reed field), nature reserve not only for protecting nature, but for protecting people as well !! It helps Kallo to breathe in its enclosure by industry.  An enclosure that is stopped by action of the nature organization.  If not : industry would have moved up until it met the first houses of the village.  It was in this previous strategy that Totalfina placed oil tanks near the village (not visible on the picture, but standing on the left).  Those giant oil tanks contain “strategic reserves” : if the oil is expensive, this supply is pumped up.  Once it was a fact that nature would surround Kallo,  the presence of the oil tanks (often causing smell nuisance) was questioned, but it did not result in a displacement.  Who cares, right ? And now a disaster happened : 40 million liters of oil flowed out of a tank because of a crack.  Pump it up, guys !  And dear inhabitants : close your windows and wear a dust mask when you are in the port area.  I don’t know yet where it all flowed in, but this does NOT look good (probably an understatement) for the brooks and the soil, not to mention : the amphibians and the fish.  Let’s hope it did not flow into het Groot Rietveld (the nature reserve : the Big Reed field). 

This opinion is assimilated in the oil leak news item on Kanaal 3 (regional televison) today.

At least that is what they said, but I did not have the possibility for an interview and so, nothing was said about it.  Words without images are not a television option, so I conclude.

00:56 Gepost door Hildegarde in Vlaanderen-natuur | Permalink | Commentaren (2) | Tags: haven | |  Facebook


Molenheide (Houthalen-Helchteren)

To see deer or wild boars in Flanders : not easy, Flanders has become a city. 

Starting a short walk (the wild boar walk : 3,5 km) with high expectations and the memory (23 years old) of deer coming out of a wood into the open, a rainy dark afternoon and no deer were quite a disappointment. 

The wild boars are impressive : it feels awkward to suddenly see one running (quite fast) your way … until you notice that they are behind a fence.  In case you want to refresh your understanding of the word “a grumbler” (een knorpot), go listen to the wild boars.

10:50 Gepost door Hildegarde in Vlaanderen-groen | Permalink | Commentaren (1) | Tags: zoogdieren | |  Facebook


Autumn associations

The coloring of the trees, toadstools and mushrooms, rain and rain, chilliness , darkness, fog, chrysanthemums, days to remember the death, rays of sun, let’s not be sad, hear the sound of a bamboo flute, dry your clothes, it’s cozy inside. 

Picture taken in the Japanese garden in Hasselt during the chrysanthemum days.

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Reading the newspaper, BUT …

… watch closely : not after the laundry is hung on the line (house duties first !).

 Just a coincidence of course : those clothes are probably a rest of the promotion for Laundry Day, a music event in Antwerp.  Or do you know why they are hanging there above the Meir ?

13:22 Gepost door Hildegarde in Antwerpen-straat | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | |  Facebook

All about feeling at home in THE city

Two women sitting on a bench, talking, slippers on (feeling at home) and … reading a newspaper ( great ! J we’re making progress )  

Advertising poster in Antwerp, Wapperplein. I like such posters on tissue (if the image is worthwhile) :  the light, clouds, contours of buildings, trees, people shining through it.

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The castle walking tour …

… in Gaasbeek : a pillory, dragons in a shield above the church entrance, meadows, cows, sheep, horses, a burling deer (in autumn and behind a fence), beautiful restored farm houses, corn, Buzzards circling above a castle domain and oh : what is this excited whistling above ?

Ring-necked Parakeets (Halsbandparkieten) : a group of  5, another of 10, 10 more arriving and altogether yelling around a Buzzard’s ears until he flies to a safer place (these exotics -living in and around Brussels - know how to survive !), and then :

the Castle of Gaasbeek : this castle is WONDERFUL and the domain has even more surprises.

The tour is 7,5 km.  Description and map : http://www.wandelenbacob.be/html/wandeling.asp?taal=nederlands&id=WAND26b&topic=2

00:11 Gepost door Hildegarde in Vlaanderen-architectuur | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | |  Facebook


Autumn …

... migration time : birds passing through, winter guests arriving.  The weather does not behave like autumn yet  but soon, as the dark rainy days start, some people will long to pack their bags and move to the south as well.  Not me though.

Picture taken in the Japanese garden in Hasselt during the chrysanthemum days.

00:57 Gepost door Hildegarde in Vlaanderen-groen | Permalink | Commentaren (1) | |  Facebook


The non-existing grocery shop

Decorated hovel, Rotterdamstraat near the St.Jansplein in Antwerp.  On the door there even is a little board painted that says “open”.

Anna and I were in that neighborhood looking for trousers in cotton or linen, made in very fine tissue, so you can easily wear them under a skirt.  Sometimes the legs of these trousers can be tightened with a ribbon below.   Women of  some cultures (Arabian or from India) often combine a dress or skirt with such fine trousers.  These pants are not easy to find, so where can they be bought ? 

Tips and shop locations are welcome.

10:39 Gepost door Hildegarde in Antwerpen-straat | Permalink | Commentaren (1) | |  Facebook



Writing a blog is much more difficult than I expected.  I can’t find my own style yet and I don’t know very well which way to go.  But, as a friend says, it is a beginning.  Give it some time.

14:34 Gepost door Hildegarde in Vlaanderen-groen | Permalink | Commentaren (3) | Tags: bomen | |  Facebook


People and containers on ships, Chinese mitten crabs (Chinese wolhandkrab) and other water creatures on the bottom of ships, diseases on people and animals, and for a short distance : starlings on cows. 

Picture : Schor Ouden Doel (brackish marches and mud flats in Doel)

14:10 Gepost door Hildegarde in Vlaanderen-natuur | Permalink | Commentaren (3) | Tags: schor ouden doel, zoogdieren, koeien | |  Facebook


Escalator to ...

… the land of chocolate.  Picture taken in the subway in Antwerp.  Commercial of Côte d’Or chocolate ( Gold Coast - Ghana , place where they got their cacao in the beginning ).  Their logo is an elephant with palm trees.  The mark exists since 1883 and the image of the elephant is very known.

The land of chocolate ? Chocolate first is imported in Flanders and the Netherlands during the Spanish occupation  in the 16th century  (well, well, a bright side).  The Spanish learned to know the drink when they invaded Mexico.  And there the use of  tchocoatl goes back to the culture of the Maya’s , who already had cacao plantations around the years 600 !!  

Remember from history class : coffee, tomatoes, potatoes, tobacco, turkeys, … were other new products that the Spanish brought into Europe

13:19 Gepost door Hildegarde in Antwerpen-straat | Permalink | Commentaren (1) | |  Facebook


Sunrise in Flanders

“A new morning” in Melsele at the bus stop, commercial for the broadcasting service Donna.

Summer weather (temperatures around 20°C =  68°F) in autumn, yes the climate is changing.

12:19 Gepost door Hildegarde in Vlaanderen-straat | Permalink | Commentaren (2) | Tags: melsele | |  Facebook


Fond of the city. Crazy about you.

You in the dialect of Antwerp is A and A is also the symbol of Antwerp.

Lots of initiatives are taken in Antwerp to make the city as cozy and attractive as possible.

Here you see a banner on the St.Jansplein.


15:46 Gepost door Hildegarde in Antwerpen-straat | Permalink | Commentaren (1) | |  Facebook


Always a prize

Fishing ducklings at a Flemish fair : you always get a prize.

Although when we say in Flanders “I got prize again” (English expression ? I got a catch ? I am a winner ?), we mean we have bad luck.  Bingo, I am the one who has the bad luck such as an accident, health problems, complications in healing, things with a defect, …

Until recently (or is it still so ?) a very common prize at the ducklings stall was a …. goldfish !  The fish made many children very happy.  The fish themselves needed a lot of luck  to end alive and well in a bowl of which the owner did not forget them after some time.

Some years ago the plastic duckling at once became so cool ( a gadget ) and  ducklings in all colors and sizes and decorations became THE thing to hang at your bag, to put on your desk, …

Maybe there is a connection between this popularity and the duck race, a fund raising project of Red Cross Flanders ?  Since 1997 ( and now still ? ) every year 20.000 yellow plastic numbered ducklings are dropped in the river IJzer to race for the finish in Nieuwpoort, at the Flemish coast.  Does someone has a picture of all these ducklings swimming ?

16:59 Gepost door Hildegarde in Vlaanderen-evenement | Permalink | Commentaren (2) | |  Facebook