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maandag 31 maart 2014

Gronsveld

video

A tiny village with a large castle, just at the edge of Maastricht, was once called the ugliest place in the Netherlands by a 19th century priest who was traveling the whole country. But what can be ugly at a farm-village, a church, a castle and a windmill? See for yourself. For YouTube quality go to: Gronsveld

woensdag 26 maart 2014

An alternative hill walk II


For a long time, when I turn, I can see the farm in the valley. The hill is more steep, and suddenly the path stops, disappears in a young field with grass-like crops growing on it. A ridge in the landscape like a wall, do I have two choices: to the left climbing that wall, or to the right walk around it. I choose the last option.


Follow the wall and pass a foxhole, and it is occupied as I notice the fresh hair around the edges. I stand still, but no sound, no nothing hidden between the roots of shallow bushes in the white marl-sand of the wall.


At the end I have to climb anyhow to reach a path on higher ground that I cross. On the other side is a fence that is meant to avoid access, but behind it is a trail uphill, and I decide  to step over the fence, which is not as easy as it looks for a 60 year old whose limps are not as elastic anymore as they used to be.


What is there that forbids entrance in a nature reserve, while there is a path? I’m curious; climb up, follow the hedge and bushes on the other side. It looks a long way, but the trail bends to the left and suddenly ends at a small pond.


Dark, frog-like water, but I don’t hear, can’t see; not even insects, that is how quite it is on the ridge, at the edge of a wood: Millennium forest, as I know it is called. It is part old: Cannerwood and part new, at the far end even newer, just planted as a compensation for the highway that is still be worked on.


To me it is double feeling. Men destroy something and at the same time give nature back to where already nature is. It is not new nature this reserve, only fresh trees. It is like green-certificates to buy off pollution. How hypocrite can one be? We are just too many in comparison with all the rest on this globe. It is not fair to nature, to Flora, to Fauna, and we think to put our conscious asleep with money. But nature, nor Flora or Fauna knows what money is. It has no value to them...


But the pond is there, not natural, diged, as it is to round, to much shaped by machines. Still I don’t know why the path up is blocked, until I notice some groups of trees in the open landscape; circles of trees, and something concrete in the middle.


I know here was a Nato base once; hidden in the marl caves of Mount Canne, and the leftovers are still camouflaged. It is hard to find the, though. Just bomb the tree-groups in a further empty landscape. I take pictures before I disappear in the Millennium forest That will lead me downhill as I know....



To be continued





maandag 24 maart 2014

An alternative hill walk


Just follow paths and trails you don’t know. Where does that lead to? Maybe it is an easier route to reach the top, walk over the summit from a different angle... Is what I must have thought that day when I decided to follow a not so promising path that ended in the fields.


But it was late Winter, even if the sky looks Spring on the pictures, and no crops where planted yet; just some thick winterish grass, soft and spongy under my boots. I turned and overlooked the valley where I came from: a group of houses already far away, that I just past on the trail that I walked many times before.


A fence, and the slow climbing path covered in shades; the sun is still low at this time of the year. Trees without leaves, in spite of the clear blue and cloudless sky. It is warm, and climbing a sweaty job; but it is all worth it, seeing the hill in a different perspective.


I cross the border many times, as a jig-saw walking from the Netherlands to Belgium and back, but all the same land: Limburg, as borders are never made by the people who live here, but by those who know better. For economic reasons; a bit for Germany, some for Holland and the rest kept for Belgium; so they all had Cole and marl. What the inhabitants thought, that they divided families, the decisionmakers could not care less... History is made by those who profit from it, and has nothing to do with human needs or feelings.


Some spots are still wet. Winter water stands in small pools, as shallow ponds marking the path and make it muddy to find my way uphill. But who cares? Be grateful for this early Spring, and don’t think about the consequences of the climate change. It only spoils what can be good.


Already for weeks I’m looking for a stick to help me climbing, but even in a touristic town, situated in a valley between hills I can find none. As if they don’t exist anymore. Just gone! To little money involved for an economic event, I guess. That is what frightens me: the measuring of all in terms of capital, in terms of profit; because I know that cannot last for ever. This economic system will grow to death at the end. There is not such as endless; it is a law of nature that everything has to end...


I pass a root-cellar, caught in shades, lightened by the sun: some dark, some bright; a picture for a painter, a study in the landscape. It is wired; so no-one steels the roots? One does not even need a special pair of scissors to cut through. All those younger then me can jump over; that is said: if they are interested in roots of course.


Sheep on a dry moor, yellow in the bright daylight. Yellow of marl, the main ingredient where this land is made of. A lot of chalk in the soil, but also loess as a rich greasy deck that covers as a top layer. It is fertile land, good land, and yet most of the farmers are gone. Everyone wants a job in the service-industry today, but what will we eat tomorrow?


The sheep are not aware, they just try to graze outside the covered area; their slim heads through the fence, through the wire grazing the green. They don’t care, and I pick as many as I can and throw it over the fence. It seems as if they look grateful up to me. In return I take some pictures, and they don’t care less...



To be continued









zondag 23 maart 2014

Guust


My wife and I discovered him while living on a former address, and named him Guust, a free translation that means large in Flemish. He is a big fellow, just his silver-grey back is all we saw of him in the dark water; is it not even sure what kind of fish he is, living in that pond in the park, as a leftover from ancient times when the pond was still a part of a creek some 50,000 years ago, where Neanderthal people lived on its banks.


And once in while we visit him since, and hope to see a glimpse of him; that happens sometimes, he is too smart to be caught after so many years a fish needs to grow that big.



Of course there are fishermen ashore, boys that hunt him, in spite of all creatures want to be left alone. Who cares until it happens to oneself. They call it sport and we watch from one of the benches in the park, and do nothing, just hope that they will not catch him; just the tiny ones, even if they feel the same.










vrijdag 21 maart 2014

An old town walk

video


Walk with me through medieval Maastricht, the capital of the most Southern Province in the Netherlands: Limburg; at the same latitude as Northern France. A town with a long history, founded in the Roman era, over 2000 years ago. And see how green it is. For an optimal filmish view got o YouTube: an old town walk

dinsdag 18 maart 2014

Visitors in Maastricht

video

On the last day of 2013 we had visitors that wanted to see the highlights of the town. So we took them to the Xmas atmosphere Of Maastricht; walked through the park and through the old, medieval center to the main square. A day to remember, and for the best video quality go to YouTube: visitors in Maastricht

maandag 17 maart 2014

Back home from Kultuur-Fabriek

video

A walk back home from the office in downtown center Maastricht. The medieval town, the parks and Jeker river that meanders through the valley it created for millions of years. Walk with me and wonder, and more important: have fun. For YouTube quality go to: back home from Kultuur-Fabriek

zondag 16 maart 2014

On the left flank of Mount Saint Peter - an illustrated story


This is where Andre Rieu, the musician lives, looking over the river Meuse, and under the bell tower of a nearby church. The slope of Mount Saint Peter is long, kilometers long from Maastricht all the way crossing the Belgium border. It is a natures paradise with flora and fauna that can not be found any where else in the Netherlands, and a paradise for trotters. The sheppard and his sheep, his border collies, and the marl mine of Enci (the first Dutch cement industry) the only one, since there is no more marl then here in the South of Limburg.


Paths, marked and unmarked, fences that switch open, but close the meadows to keep the cattle in, and signs all over: Walking only allowed within the paths, but these signs are not for me, the explorer of the hills, who starts trotting early on the day, armed with water and lunch.


These slopes are also covered with rich houses, old defending farms, for those who can afford it to live in a nature reserve. And who can not? Just buy a tent and put it somewhere in the grass, to see how long you will be left alone. Not even for five minutes, I guess, that is how crowded it can be up here, especially on a sunny weekend afternoon.


A guarding dog, lazy in the sun on a bench, just watches me sleepy, doesn’t even take the effort to bark, and that is where he is here for, that is the purpose why they have him and feed him, but the dog does not understand. He thinks that the bench is his, that he owns the house and surroundings; the whole area if it is up to him; that is why he is a dog, the guardian against all treats, which I am apperently: He does not know me...


There is a wall around Rieu’s castle; he loves his privacy when he is home, just like myself. I neither do not want everyone snooping around my private parts, not even while walking the hills... Just leave me alone, walk alone and take snapshots as a memory, but why? Also without I will remember the hills that I know for ages. But it changes slowly, like everything does on this earth, and maybe that is why; to look back on these changes in years.


It is early February; Winter it should be, but the meadows are green, flowers bloom; not many yet, but still, and the sun is warm walking out of the shades. The church bell tels, a tiny sound that fades away over the river valley, and I see no-one entering the catholic temple. People do not believe anymore, they complain, but where does one have to believe in? Perhaps in the sheep on the ridge, or the leaveless trees, the rich blooming soil, the nature that created us, that supports us; without we would not be. And nature was long before us, will be there, long after we are gone. That is nature, stronger than any element within, even if we believe that we are the toughest.



Shades drop while entering the small forest that is left of the once mighty woods. That was long before us; I never saw them, just the leftovers that mankind left for me to see. If I had Wells’ timemachine I would defenitly use it and look for myself there where now the dog-walker lets them out, after she brought them by car, and it is also my time to walk; home if I want to reach it before dark. It is still Winter. Days are short