As the weather forecast was right for a change, and we woke up to a sunny, almost summery day, it was obvious that the indoor market did not stand a chance.
The outdoor market was advertised as having 750 stalls and, on top of that, the location was just perfect, as it was at De Schorre in Boom, a recreational domain and nature reserve at the site of a former clay pit.
In fact, the domain is world renowned as the location of a huge EDM festival called Tomorrowland, which is being held yearly in July. Much to the chagrin of the inhabitants of the surrounding streets, I must say. The heavy basses can actually be heard and felt at our village, 8 kilometers away. It also poses a risk to the local wildlife as every year after the event walkers come across the bodies of small animals who have dropped dead out of sheer terror.
After we parked our car at a quiet back street instead of at the main and usually busy parking area, we had to walk all through the domain to reach the flea market itself.
As the weather was so glorious, we made the most of our walk down, which you can take quite literally as we had to descend into the main part of the domain by way of a set of wooden stairs.
We soon came across elements of a red metal art installation, which originally stood at the site of another former clay pit near Jos's childhood home, and which I blogged about here.
One day, the artwork had disappeared without a trace, until we found out it was moved to De Schorre. Here, the artwork has been split up and has somehow lost its meaning, especially as some of the elements are not relevant to their new location.
After descending the wooden stairs, which in places are badly in need of repairs, we strolled along the boardwalk meandering further into the domain.
Eventually, the boardwalk became a path, tempting us into a wooded area. Soon, we crossed the first of a series of bridges, crossing a secluded pond mirroring a guard of honour of crooked trees.
After this, a clearing was reached where we could see the flea market in the distance.
About the market itself, I can be very brief, as it was a disappointment. Stall after stall selling children's outgrown clothes and discarded toys, heaps of cheap high street clothing, bargain DVDs and dodgy gadgets. Only a stall selling boxes of gourds and the odd one with a selection of Lourdes memorabilia prompted me to take out my camera.
In the end, I only bought a brooch (as seen above pinned to my jacket) and two necklaces. Oh, and there was an inside part to the market as well, where I stumbled upon this game, which I remember playing with in infant school. Look, I've already made myself a bracelet!
In search of a perfect place for our picnic, we walked towards the bridge, on which the strange fixture you can see in the distance can be found.
The bridge, which is 537 meters long, is an art installation called "One World, by the People of Tomorrow". It was created especially for the Tomorrowland festival by Flemish visual artist Arne Quinze and was unveiled in 2014. Its centerpiece is inspired by the Nike of Samothrace sculpture, which represents victory and freedom.
On the bridge's wooden slats are 210.000 drawings and messages from people from all over the world. Spelling mistakes and all ...
The bridge is a permanent fixture, and as well as an art installation, it is part of a walk and cycle path along the ponds and through the domain. There are also conveniently placed benches in case you want to have a picnic with a view!
Walking back to our car, we passed some lonely remains of the former brickworks which used to be established here.
Here, one of the elements of the red metal artwork couldn't have been placed better.
It reads "Als een landschap kon spreken" (transl.: if a landscape could speak), framing the evocative ruin claimed by time and nature, almost but not quite drowning out the echoes of its industrial past.