Every now and then, someone in your life has a rather fantastic idea.
This time, that someone was Ella, and the idea was to Enter the Hallerbos at the height of spring.
Meet Ella (a.k.a Ariel, a.k.a Essie).
Also, meet the Hallerbos.
Literally, ‘the Halle Forest’ (we’re in Belgium, so Dutch is at play) – a small woodlands of just over a thousand acres that is famous for it’s yearly flush of bluebells.
We travelled to the Hallerbos on our third day in Belgium, traveling 1/2 an hour by train from our basecamp of Brussels and then catching the rather charming (and free) ‘Hyacinth Bus’ from Halle station into the wild.
To be honest, the weather throughout our entire Belgium trip was pretty terrible- low to mid tens and frequent drizzle. But our day in the forest, although damp, only included rain of the kind that comes from wind shaking the canopy, and the general wetness seemed to scare away the majority of tourists.
So, for the most part we were alone.
Walking a path in a mist-filled woodland, surrounded by hazy purple.
I feel like the word ‘magical’ just isn’t used enough in day to day life.
It probably took us 40 minutes to get through the first 1 km. We ooohed and aaahed and photographed incessantly.
Which, although not really a mistake, was not entirely the right way to do it. We had a map, which was handed to us by the Bluebell Brigade (I don’t know what they call themselves, but the place was appropriately manned with volunteers), and had been told by them that certain sections of the approximately 5 km hike were particularly beautiful at that time. Which they were.
So if you have all the time in the world, like we did, stroll and enjoy. If you have other places to be, follow the instructions of the guides.
As you can see from all the thousands of photos, by the time we arrived- the last week of April- the bluebells had mostly faded, from blue to purple. Which is absolutely fine if you’re into the colour purple. But if you want something further up the spectrum, you’d have to time it right (check out this, if ever planning a trip).
We also ‘missed out’ on the other flowers that thrive in the forest. We managed to see a couple of tiny white droplets, which I think are wood sorrel, but according to the website, there’s a whole concert of blooming beauties at play.
I imagine that if you lived in the area, it would be somewhere you could quite willingly visit weekend after weekend, just to watch the progress of the season.
As we strolled, the weather cleared further, and the purple became more vibrant. We also passed a couple of (very small) hills and valleys, which added an extra dimension (I guess literally) to the beauty.
Ok, that’s it with the words. I am willing to acknowledge that this post contains way too many photos. I took too many shots, and I didn’t have the heart to cut.
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