Belgium, Travels

Euro 3

I do not know what triggered it, but a while ago I went rummaging through some documents to look for the car registration. My heart skipped a beat when I read the words Euro 3, which is the European emission standard of D’s car. This joyful discovery meant that we will not get an unpleasant and expensive fine in the mail for driving through the city of Brussels two weeks ago.

Why did I not embark on this search earlier?! It would have prevented quite some grey hairs!

Belgium, Jibber Jabber

Autumn Rain

It has been raining since yesterday evening. It did not bother me at all that I was getting rained on while D and I were running our errands this afternoon. Autumn rain, especially after such a dry spell, is absolutely necessary and wonderful!

Belgium, Numbers

A Bigger Audience

Belgians are well-informed people. There are awareness campaigns with topics ranging from A to Z. In the years I have lived in this country, I have been convinced and participated in multiple programs such as alcohol free month, soft plastic recycling, zero waste lifestyle, low-impact lifestyle, bike instead of drive option, save a meal from your local business and so on and so forth!

What if these kind of awareness campaigns also play out in the bigger nations? Would the impact be more significant? Let’s assume 50% of Belgians recycle one plastic bottle a week. That is 5.5 million plastic bottles recycled in that period. If the same conditions are true in Malaysia, the nation of 28 million citizens (2010 census), now estimated at almost 33 million citizens, will be able to achieve the same quota in less than three days! The numbers will be staggering in China, or the United States. Imagine the improvements in cities like Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur if only ten percent of the residents choose a low-impact lifestyle.

One may wish…

Belgium, Events

Festive Weekend

It has been three eventful days since my Friday meet-up with M.

Starting Friday afternoon through Sunday evening, it was Harelbeke Feest. The weather was lovely, so there were crowds of people everywhere. Saturday afternoon, D and I went to join a guided tour of the new apartment building site in the city center. We then wandered about enjoying the sights and sounds of the city festival. We visited a couple of exhibitions for free, sat down for a beer each, bought some chicken wings from a youth club and then cycled back home for dinner. We returned in the evening to watch the annual fireworks. After that, we went to Kortrijk to a local beer festival.

Harelbeke Feest continued on this Sunday, which also happens to be Dag Van De Landbouw. Because we were to have a barbecue lunch with the family, and would not have much time to spare, D and I went to visit a goat farm in the morning before our lunch at the parents. After the lovely lunch, we decided to not stay on, but left to visit a vineyard in Wervik. After the vineyard and on our way out, we met the farmer woman whom we usually buy our potatoes from. When she told us that she had visited an interesting horse farm not far way, D decided right there and then that we will go see some horses instead of heading home as planned. There were some crazy drive around before we finally reached the Flemish horse farm. We saw some impressive work horses and even managed to get on the last ride on a horse buggy.

What a day!

Belgium, Jibber Jabber

A September Bus Ride

A friend and I decided to meet in Kortrijk this afternoon. Because I still love the Belgian public transportation, I decided to take the short bus ride to my destination. It will be cheap, reliable and without stress.

At the bus stop, I met a friendly woman from the Philippines. We chatted and learned to know each other better till she had to get off at her stop to go home. One of the reasons I like public transportation. You never know who you are going to meet and what life stories you are going to encounter.

The bus trip took about 15 minutes, then a short walk to the station’s waiting room to meet my friend M whom I have not seen in about three years! We wandered through the city at ease, paused and sat several times just to chat and catch up. We went to drink coffee and visited a church. M’s Dutch (we never spoken any other language to each other) is still with a heavy Eastern European accent, which I find comforting in a strange way. It means that she is still very much the same person which I have gotten to know ten years ago.

It was a lovely afternoon spent with a dear friend. The bus back home was packed with students who are probably looking forward to their weekend. I walked passed the city park on the way back, there were much to do. All set up for the weekend’s city festival.

Today turned out to be quite a wonderful Friday the thirteenth.

Belgium, Events

Open Monumentendag 2019

Yesterday was Open Monumentendag here in Belgium. D and I started out the Sunday afternoon by visiting a chapel which we did not know exist in our own hometown! Then, we went to a turf-roofed farmhouse in Ingooigem. After that, we visited an eclectic cottage styled villa in Kortrijk. Last but not least, we went to Ingelmunster to visit a larger farm house. At the end of the visit, we chanced upon an old lady who was the niece of the last owners of the place. She was only too pleased to tell us stories about the place. What wonderful luck we had!

Belgium, Events

Row, Row, Row The Boat…

Last Sunday was Gavers Day again, but this year they are calling it De Gavers uitgepluisd … go figure?! D and I biked to the lake at around 4 o’clock, went on the fluisterboot (electrical whisper boat), and then went on a canoe and did the Ben Hur thing. Admittedly, I was able to see and hear better on the fluisterboot, in comparison to the canoe. The latter, I had to concentrate on my paddling, making sure that I did my part and not hit the other paddles in front and back of me.

Overall a fine Sunday spent in nature and with other people.

Belgium, Events, Movies, Books & TV Shows

Cinema Under The Trees

After an early dinner yesterday evening, D and I biked to De Gavers, to an event known as Cinema Under The Trees. The film that we watched is called Intelligent Trees. The venue was fantastic, the event well organised, the film was very informative and altered some of my thoughts regarding trees.

Despite the chilly windy evening and the challenging bike ride through the dark forest, I really had a good time. I shall do it again in a heartbeat – bike ride included.

Belgium, Food & Drinks, Simplify

Heat Dried Tomatoes

I have just sliced up a few ripe tomatoes, placed these outdoors, to make my second batch of sun-dried tomatoes this summer. If I have to suffer through the third heat wave this year, I might as well make the best out of the situation.

Also, let’s not forget the litres of plum sorbet I have in the freezer. Maybe this afternoon will be a good time to have some of the ice cold treat…