Thank you for joining me for the final episode of my travelogue!
As our adventures are now several weeks behind us I had to have a sneaky peak in my journal for some of the details, and I'm particularly glad of all the photographs I've taken, each and every one having its own story to tell.
Take this one for instance, snapped near the end of Friday's walk. There's nothing special about what I'm wearing, as you've seen it all before. The glorious floral wide-legged trousers, which I'd only worn two days before, combined with the same flower-embroidered vintage denim jacket. The only difference a short-sleeved green sailor-style jumper, originally from Belgian label Who's That Girl. Charity shopped back in 2016, it has been worn quite a lot over the years, and what's more, it has accompanied me to our west country retreat many times before.
The story this picture tells, however, is written in my tousled hair and smile, one of those smiles which effortlessly reaches the eyes. Taken near the end of yet another gorgeous walk on an equally gorgeous day, it speaks of happiness and contentment in the face of adversity, the blush on my cheeks not just due to that morning's application of make-up, but kissed by fresh air and the rays of the late Summer sun.
As our walk took us firmly outside the reserve, benches were few and far between. We were starting to get seriously peckish by now, so these two garden chairs couldn't have appeared at a better time. They stood next to the entrance to an exclusive domain with a vineyard and a luxury holiday home, so it is doubtful they were meant for mere passers-by like us!
Thus fortified, we continued until we reached Westouter, which we strolled through, briefly visiting the St Eligius church and halting in front of the little chapel honouring the Black Madonna of Czestochowa (bottom right), commemorating the liberation of Westouter by the Polish 1st Armoured Division in September 1944.
We left the village, walking back in the direction of the wood via the Schomminkelstraat, a small but seriously steep country lane, where a challenge is set up for any would-be cyclists.
Our route thankfully went off-road here, so that our climb to the top was gradual and more gentle.
Before we did so, however, we paused at another little chapel, with Mary and baby Jesus brightly lit by the afternoon sun.
At one point, the lane was lined with blackberry bushes, their juicy fruits ready for the picking. Alas, we didn't have a suitable container with us, so that we had to limit ourselves to the handful we could safely carry home inside our sandwich wrappers.
Upon reaching the wood, we still had a serious climb ahead of us, so about half-way we took a breather on a conveniently placed bench. Ah, doesn't it feel good to breathe in that typical end-of-summer woodland air and savour its sensory delights!
A chilly wind heralding a drop in temperature and the imminence of rain on Saturday made me re-wear Monday's green trousers and dotty Phase Eight raincoat, the latter a Shropshire charity shop find.
It looked set to remain dry in the morning, so we wasted no time in going for the final walk of our holiday, opting for another nature reserve, Helleketelbos. This being only a ten minute drive or so from the cottage, we were there really early.
After parking our car and having a look at our walking map, we set off, soon coming across a wooden shelter and adjoining picnic table with built in sun lounger.
We were intrigued by this tree stump with the words breathe, feel, see, hear and smell carved into its surface, accompanied by small pebbles bearing the corresponding words. The one on the bottom left says adem which means breathe. And that's exactly what we did: breathe in whole lungfuls of soul-restoring, fragrant woodland air.
Bearing yesterday's experience in mind, we'd come prepared this time and were carrying a plastic tub, which was soon filled to the brim when our walk took us past some well-laden blackberry bushes.
Emerging from the woods, we briefly walked off-map to the Fazantheuvel (Pheasant hill), with its 62 meters the highest point of Poperinge. No sniggering, please! Flanders is, after all, a relatively flat part of the world.
The bump on the horizon on the top left in the below collage is the delightful French town of Cassel, which we visited back in 2017.
It is said that on a clear day you can even catch a glimpse of the sea but in spite of having binoculars with us we never did.
Having made an early start, the afternoon was still young when we finished our walk. On this final day of our getaway, this was the perfect opportunity to visit another chapel.
I really need a pair of flowery red trousers like yours! :-) Thanks for the great pictures of an unknown to me landscape. Happy fin de la semaine. RegulaReplyDelete
Thank you Regula! I'm afraid our landscape's not as spectacular as Switzerland's, but I'm glad you like it! xxxDelete
just print out the first photo and hang it beside your mirror - and then look into said mirror and try seriously to make a face like on the picture. believe me - it works!ReplyDelete
the great thing about pancake-landscape is: big sky! your pics are proof. almost like beeing on the ocean. but the nearby views are lovely too, pretty mix of cultured land and nature, gardens, architecture interest and nice details........ thanx for tanking me with you!
Great idea! I do like a big skies by the way, they can be pretty spectacular! xxxDelete
Those red pants! There's a lot to enjoy in this post but I can't stop look at THOSE RED PANTS!ReplyDelete
Thank you Ally! I know, such a lucky find :-) xxxDelete
The mask hanging at the fever chapel is poignant.ReplyDelete
Good find on the red coat, cheerful green shirt and brooch.
I long to take a walk in the woods and have a deep breath. Unfortunately, I live in a city, on a prairie :)
Thanks again for bringing us along on your holiday.
Thank you Goody, and I do hope you're feeling a bit better by now. The mask is very poignant indeed. I was surprised there was only one ... xxxDelete
Those red floral pants are such a happy item. I like how you styled them too. The second outfit with the colourful coat and the green pants is wonderful as well.ReplyDelete
The scenery looks so pretty, everything is so green and the farm houses are very charming.
I love all the Madonna images and sculptures.
I will come back again to read this post more carefully, right now I have a headache and I can't take the words in properly.
Thank you Ivana! Those red floral trousers make me feel happy whenever I'm wearing them! I do have a thing for Madonna statues, even if I'm not religious! xxxDelete
I do love a good hike through the woods and I think Autumn is the best season for it.ReplyDelete
I've enjoyed your holiday vicariously Ann, thank you for sharing all those lovely photos. xxx
Thank you Sally, I'm glad you enjoyed tagging along. And nothing can beat a woodland walk in Autumn! xxxDelete
How lovely that all sounds and looks. It seems you had a perfect late summer break. I hope you felt refreshed and that your batteries felt recharged!ReplyDelete
Loved your outfits and your charity shop purchases; that blouse looks amazing.
Thank you Vronni! My batteries did feel recharged ... but only for a week or two. Coming down to reality is very exhausting, I think. xxxDelete
Lovely pictures.. such beautiful countryside. Those pants are fabulous. And look at all those berries.ReplyDelete
Thank you Hena! We will have to take a bigger container next time. Those berries were plentiful indeed! xxxDelete
I smiled all the way through this post - I can feel how relaxed you are! Awesome outfits, as always (love those trousers!) and woo hoo on finding a thrift shop and some treasures.ReplyDelete
I seem to have missed all the blackberries that are usually everywhere at this time of year!
I'm glad to have made you smile, Sheila! That charity shop's a very small one, but we always manage to find a couple of things! Blackberry season seems to coincide with our week's holiday, so we always try to make the most of it! xxxDelete
How nice, Ann! Enchanting places to rest and enjoy nature. The countryside with the warm colors of autumn ... and the sweet white kitten! I love insect houses! A gesture of love. Cute your purchases ... especially the sweet brooch!ReplyDelete
Thank you Carmela, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I do collect brooches, so it's always a joy to find some in the charity shops! xxxDelete
There is something very cozy and serene in these beautiful travel shots, my dear friend. They help the month's stresses and worries drain from my thoughts as though one pulled the plug on a mental bathtub. Thank you, truly, for taking us along on your travels. It is sincerely appreciated, dear Ann.ReplyDelete
Tons of hugs & joyful September-into-October wishes,
Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life
I'm so glad you enjoyed my travel posts, Autumn. Blogging about my travels enables me to relive them any time! xxxDelete
The panoramic view is just gorgeous. I love your description of simply breathing in the air around you - something I love to do as often as possible, but it's all the sweeter when away from home.ReplyDelete
I love that first photograph of you, the best ones aren't about perfect hair and optimal framing, but, as you say, capturing those moments of pure joy and contentment.
I'm so glad you were able to get away and enjoy this time (and those delicious looking blackberries!).
Thank you Hazel! I think photograph which manage to capture these moments have to be treasured and enable one to revisit that particular moment! xxxDelete
What a lovely, peaceful read that was, Ann! I'm delighted that the weather people were proved wrong and the pesky satnav behaved itself for once.ReplyDelete
The trousers, Shrewsbury mac and mustard tights all look wonderful and very seasonally appropriate as Jos looks as dapper as ever. Great scores with the charity shop finds, too. I love a bit of rik-rak!
How adorable is Chablis? xxx
Thank you Vix, I do love a bit of rick-rack as well. That is so often a selling point for me! Weather people and satnavs can be the bane of our lives! xxxDelete
Hello Ann. Reading this delicious post is making me long for endless walks amongst golden landscapes. Thank you so much, it was so endearing, even poetic.ReplyDelete
Fantastic op-shop finds. Rik-rak on everything, I say!!
Thank you Suzy, I'm glad you loved reading my post, and I hope you can soon go for walks among golden landscapes! xxxDelete
so lovely post, it has put a smile on my face too!.ReplyDelete
I'm loving your floral trousers, but loving even more to see you smiling and enjoying your walks through the Woods and all the beautiful landscapes!. Thanks for sharing all the good vibes which totally improve my mood!.
Oh, I'm so glad to have put a smile on your face and improve your mood, Monica. That's such a lovely compliment! xxxDelete
Your happy smile had me smiling back at you. The fresh air is almost wafting out of my computer screen from your photos. It looks like you had a lovely and very well-deserved break.ReplyDelete
Thank you Mim! I can just see you smiling now! Wouldn't it be nice if fresh air could actually waft out one's computer screen? xxxDelete