Hallerbos Wood’s purple-blue miracle

We made it to the Hallerbos Wood this year as well. We could not miss the purple-blue miracle of the Wood.

The Hallerbos Wood is located on the outskirts of the city of Halle, not far from Brussels, in Belgium. A small forest of about 555 hectares, on the border between Flanders and Wallonia of Belgium, the Hallerbos Wood becomes a magical place each spring.

Hallerbos is a young wood. The place was owned by different families from various countries over the centuries. During the World War I most of the forest trees were removed by Germans. In 1929 the forest become the property of the Belgian State. During the following 20 years the Hallerbos is reforested. That is the reason of why the forest looks young.

We first visited Hallerbos in 2012. The Wood colours are like the wine; they change from one year to another and the natural light along with the weather influence their tones.

The Wood turns into a purple-blue carpet as soon as the wild blue bells bloom. The renewed carpet is built on two previous colours: yellow from the wild daffodils and white from the wood anemones, which blink like the stars on the raw green of the leaves.

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While watching the wood one feels the unforgettable emotion of the mirrored sky on the ground, which bears the purple fog effect overwhelming everything around, along with the natural flower perfume.

The Hallerbos Wood has got the power of changing its clothes’ colours in just some weeks. This appears to be a natural miracle, which happens every spring for the past decades. The purple-blue phenomenon is alive for two-three weeks in April.

The Hallerbos Wood has recently been mentioned in the international media as a natural attraction. One can now easily see and meet people from everywhere in the world, who come to admire the Wood beauty. In addition to professional photographers, I also spotted painters with their tools and colours working to immortalise moments and the unusual natural light and its marvellous tones.

From one year to another the number of visitors increased significantly. This year it was difficult to find a parking place, so we turned around for about 30 minutes and we finally parked the car, far away from the Wood, somewhere in a field, next to some caws.

A number of volunteers warn the tourists to stay on the main Wood’s roads and not to touch the purple-blue carpet as the blue bells’ bulbs are very fragile. Once touched they die and will never bloom again.

Related articles:

Hallerbos’s galaxy of windflower stars

Breathtaking purple-blue carpets of Halle’s Wood

Halle’s blue-purple emotion in Belgium

Hallerbos, a piece of the Belgian green heritage

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Four years of blogging with WordPress

My blog today turns four. It was not an easy decision to run a blog. Like anyone else I feared a bit about the online exposure and about the heavy work of maintaining a digital space.

I did not keep track of the time I have spent with WordPress, but early this morning I got this notification in my profile, which reminded me that the anniversary is a real achievement. This is why I share it here.

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Publishing appealing content to attract the right audience is not an easy job, especially today when the Web is a rich environment.

What I have achieved to date?

  • I have expressed myself through words and images, which has been an activity giving me online visibility;
  • I published about 230 articles, which were visited by about 6200 people who viewed the pages and the related photographs 18 800 times;
  • I have practised writing in three languages daily, English, French and Romanian. It has been an excellent exercise, which helped me in my daily professional life. Checking dictionaries, refining written and visual expressions are activities that I always enjoy;
  • I have interacted with people from everywhere in the world, I learned from them and I shared my knowledge.

I did not follow any clever blog strategy, but I let it go by applying what I learned in the past, in terms of Web writing and visual communication.

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My short and long term goals focus on interacting with my audience and assessing to what degree what I publish it is or not useful.

I thank my followers and readers and I hope to be able to go on putting online interesting content in the years to come.

Thank you, WordPress, for helping me fly with you over the past four years!

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Vanderhulst Garden’s springtime in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw

We spent our Easter Day with friends in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, in Belgium. We visited the garden of an old friend, a passionate horticulturist, Charly Vanderhulst, who dedicated his life to gardening.

Sint-Pieters-Leeuw is a small town bordering the valley of the Senne and the Pajottenland, just some kilometres away from Brussels.

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We described Charly’s beautiful garden while we visited it in 2016. We had the chance to visit it in July and we admired his plants while he introduced each of them to us. He knew so many things by heart after a life-experience of gardening.

In April the garden looks different. It is like a piece of heaven, as its neighbourhoods still show timid nature signs to come back to life. The garden’s colours are more vivid, bright and powerful. Our eyes did not get tired of absorbing them, at once and one by one.

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It was great listening to Charly’s comments which clearly showed how much he loves gardening. He thinks that his plants are sensible souls.

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The visit as such turned into an useful horticulture lesson, from which we learned a lot. In particular Charly highlighted why one should do what s/he likes in life like he did, without regretting that he gave up his previous mechanic job.

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Czardas or when music means emotions and not sounds

The Czardas (Csárdás in Hungarian) is e piece of music which always fascinated me with its tempo variations and emotional power.

I first heard it when I was a child. It was frequently played by the gypsy music bands at village weddings. I know it by heart and I can reproduce vocally but I am unable to play it with any instrument, unfortunately.

As a child I was impressed with the band members’ technique and talent. I thought it must be something magic to be able to create such sounds and movements at an incredible speed of moving fingers and forcing the limits of playing high and low notes, simply and beautifully.

A true artist should always be able to make the audience understand that a technical difficulty looks like the easiest thing on earth.

Years after I saw a Csárdás sheet music in our violin schoolbook, as an example of combining the minor and major tonalities, which define a musical composition. What I recall from my music classes is that the music written in a major tonality is clear, open, fulsome, while the music written in a minor tonality is soft and melancholic.

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Image: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Czardas dancers (Source)

The Czardas is a versatile music masterpiece which combines the two tonalities. The combination requires excellent performing skills. Therefore, the performance could be a serious challenge for beginners.

I have been familiar with a number of csárdás elements, which inspired composers like Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Johann Strauss, Pablo de Sarasate, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and many others. A famous example of transposing the csárdás dance into a song is the Rosalinde aria from “Die Fledermaus” (The Bat), by Strauss.

But the csárdás as such rose to fame through Vittorio Monti’s composition for violin and piano. Monti’s piece is built on seven tempo variations, perfectly harmonised.

I looked on Youtube and checked several csárdás interpretations and I was surprised to find it performed by piano, flute, clarinet, horn, trumpet, trombone, timpani, harp players, in addition to violinists and cellists.

There are three artists with noteworthy performances:

  1. Luka Šulić, a young Croatian-Slovenian cellist, member of 2Cellos

I must admit that this was for the first time I heard the Csárdás played on cello. Šulić’s performance is remarkable. He simply shows that he is able to make a difficult performance appear the easiest on earth.

  1. David Garrett, a German pop and crossover violinist

This Csárdás version is breath-taking because of the performer’s style, with authentic energy and passion.

  1. Rafael Mendez, a Mexican virtuoso solo trumpeter

This trumpet version is ageless and even it was recorded in 1961 it looks fresh and vivid.

Image: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Czardas dancers (Source)

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My green grass from home

Belgian springtime

Springtime is my favourite period of the year. Belgian winters are long, windy and humid. Spring comes in as a sort of incentive after several months of grey and short days, where one cannot see the sun very often.

Spring brings in torrents of colours, from the vivid and raw green to milky white, passing through vibrant yellow, tinted red and polychrome purple.

Belgian springtime gets me back to my childhood springs. They were different, softer and warmer. Here in Belgium I differently perceived the nature richness and its incredible power to come back to life.

The Belgian landscapes could not make it for my childhood springs. Instead I got in return the chance to admire plants and trees I did not see in my village. What fascinates me is the Japanese cherry tree with its varieties. Sakura is very popular in Evere, where I live. They are everywhere and when they bloom, everything turns in red-pink or white-pink.

My childhood springs

I grew up in a village where the spring sounds were wafting gently into my mind. Nothing can replace those sounds. While hiking and hanging around in the village and its surroundings, I enjoyed every moment of nature changes with the plum blossoms, blooming tree branches, their colours and perfumes.

My childhood springs somehow are “my green, green grass from home”. I do not own a garden in Evere, but the only way I could keep alive these feelings and emotions was to set up a small garden on our terrace and enjoy long walks around.

Spring had its magic in my village. I particularly enjoyed the moments when nosing and discovering the new surrounding smells, from the moist soil to the refreshing wood, from the bird sounds to rain noise.

Any humble signs of vegetation getting back to life were reasons to appreciate nature, which got richer and greener from one day to another.

My village wood

What is still very fresh in my mind is the village wood, located some kilometres away from the village. Going to the wood, in spring, was the main season trip. We prepared well for the trip and we called for other village children to join us.

We needed to follow a road crossing a misty and silent plain where the wood was just a strange shape swallowed by the darkness in the horizon line. If it rained earlier, the road would have been full of mud. We did not mind at all. On the contrary the trip was enjoyable, as at the end we were able to admire the first wood plants and flowers.

Hallerbos, another wood in another place

I miss my childhood wood, but I get the chance to enjoy Hallerbos Wood here, in Belgium. Hallerbos changes its clothing colours from one week to another. Hallerbos is the wood name in Dutch while its English version is Halle’s Wood and its French correspondent is Bois de Hal. It is located on the outskirts of the city of Halle, not far from Brussels.

Hallerbos reminds me of my childhood wood. It particularly helps me get the energy and green emotions from its bright branches, bird songs and the colours on the ground. They change from yellow to white, from blue-purple to finally stay green for the next months until the autumns change them in red and golden brown. Each year the wood configuration goes through wood snowdrops, wood anemones, yellow wild daffodils and the famous blue-purple wild bells.

Most of the pictures were taken in the Bon Pasteur Park, Evere, Brussels

Articles on similar subjects

Hallerbos’s galaxy of windflower stars

Hallerbos, a piece of the Belgian green heritage

Floralia: Brussels’s Flower Festival

Brussels’s Tulip time

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Iarba mea verde de acasă

Primăvara belgiană

Primăvara este anotimpul meu preferat. Iernile belgiene sunt lungi, cu vânt și multă umezeală. Primăvara vine ca un dar, după mai multe luni cu zile cenușii și scurte, și un soare rar la vedere.

Alb imaculat

Arbuști decorativi în Parcul Bon Pasteur, Evere, Bruxelles

Primăvara aduce torente de culori, ce trec de la verdele viu la albul lăptos, printr-un galben vibrant, la un roșu fragil și un violet cald.

Carmin

Arbuști decorativi în Parcul Bon Pasteur, Evere, Bruxelles

Primăvara belgiană îmi amintește de primăvara copilăriei mele, cu toate că primăvara din România era mai blândă și mai călduroasă. Percep primăvara belgiană într-un mod diferit, cu toate că este vorba de aceeași forță a naturii de a reveni la viață.

Papadii

Cu toate că natura belgiană pare mai proaspătă pentru că aici plouă mai des, acest lucru nu mă vindecă îndeajuns de dorul de acasă. În schimb am ocazia să admir plante pe care nu le-am văzut în satul meu natal.

Covor roz

Covor din petalele cireșilor japonezi

Ceea ce mă fascinează primăvara aici este cireșul japonez cu diferitele sale soiuri. Sakura este foarte popular în Evere, districtul unde locuiesc. La debutul primăverii tot verdele din jur se transformă în perdele vii de roșu-roz și alb-roz.

Arcada Ciresi japonezi

Arcada de cireși japonezi în Evere, Bruxelles

Primăvara copilăriei mele

Am crescut într-un sat unde sunetele primăverii fluturau ușor în mintea mea. Nimic nu le poate înlocui astăzi. În timp ce mergeam în drumeții prin împrejurimile satului, mă bucuram de fiecare schimbare a naturii, de la florile de prun înflorit până la grădinile multicolore și parfumate, îngrijite cu migală.

Liliac

Flori de liliac în Parcul Bon Pasteur

Copilăria mea rămâne într-un fel „iarba verde de acasă“. Nu avem o grădină în Evere dar „iarba noastră de acasă” este aici mica noastră grădină de pe terasă.

Our garden

Mica noastră gradină de pe terasă

Primăvara avea o anume magie pe când eram în satul meu natal. Mă bucuram imens de venirea ei, mai ales atunci când descopeream mirosul de pământ reavăn, răcoarea moale a pădurii, cântecul păsărilor sau sunetul ploilor.

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Flori de măr în Parcul Bon Pasteur

Orice semn, cât de mic, al vegetației în dezvoltare, era un motiv de a mă bucura și aprecia natura, ce se transforma de la o oră la alta, de la o zi la alta.

Pădurea satului meu

Ceea ce este încă foarte proaspăt în memoria mea este pădurea satului sau crângul, cum îi spuneam noi. Se află la câțiva kilometri de sat. Deplasarea la crâng, în primăvară, era un adevărat eveniment al comunității satului. Ne pregăteam serios pentru călătorie și eram o ceată măricică de copii, gata să înfrunte aproape nouă kilometri de mers pe jos.

Copac maiestos

Imagine din Parcul Bon Pasteur

Mergeam pe un drum de țară, după ce plecam de acasă dis de dimineață, în zori, când totul era încă cețos. Crângul era doar o formă ciudată înghițită de întuneric, pe linia orizontului. În cazul în care ploua, drumul era plin de noroi și înaintam încet. Noroiul nu ne deranja deloc. Dimpotrivă, călătoria era întotdeauna plăcută, pentru că puteam admira crângul și minunățiile lui după drumul lung.

Cires roz

Imagine din Parcul Bon Pasteur

Hallerbos, o pădure în amintirea crângului copilăriei

Mi-e dor de pădurea copilăriei mele, dar Hallerbos, pădurea din apropierea orașului Bruxelles îmi amintește de ea. Vizitez Hallerbos mai ales primăvara, când își schimbă straiele de la o săptămână la alta. Hallerbos este numele pădurii în olandeză, în timp ce numele ei în engleză este Halle Wood și Bois de Hal în franceză. Pădurea se găsește la marginea orașului Halle, nu departe de Bruxelles.

Cires rosu

Imagine din Parcul Bon Pasteur

Hallerbos îmi aduce aminte de crângul copilariei mele pentru că îmi dă energia și emotia adevarată a primaverii prin culorile ei, printre ramurile copacilor zvelți și cântecul păsărilor.

Muguri

Imagine din Parcul Bon Pasteur, Evere, Bruxelles

Ïn câteva săptămâni pădurea îmbracă straie galbene, albe și albastre, înainte de a rămâne verde până când toamna le transformă în auriu și ruginiu. Apariția ghioceilor, anemonelor, narciselor și a celebrelor viorele sălbatice este un adevărat miracol al naturii, de neratat.

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Duminica Floriilor la Floralia, în Bruxelles

Un eveniment floral unic este organizat pentru aproximativ patru săptămâni în parcul și serele Castelului Groot-Bijgaarden, lângă Bruxelles, în fiecare an.

Evenimentul se numește “Floralia” și onorează activitatea horticultorilor pasionați din Belgia și Olanda.

Floralia este, de fapt, o expoziție combinată, în interior și exterior, pe o suprafață de aproximativ 14 ha. O mare varietate de plante ce înfloresc primăvara se expun cu această ocazie.

Organizatorii susțin că există aproximativ 400 de soiuri de lalele, alături de zambile și narcise de toate culorile.

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Faimosul păun floral

Plantele sunt aranjate în diferite configurații și forme: covoare de flori, inimi din lalele, labirinturi din lalele, un păun confecționat din flori, și multe, multe alte configurații inspirate și originale.

Organizatorii au anunțat că în acest an grădinarii castelului au plantat aproximativ un milion și jumătate de bulbi de plante. Ei au făcut această treabă migăloasă toamna trecută, pentru că numai în felul acesta plantele cresc și înfloresc în mod corespunzător primăvara viitoare.

Am vizitat acest loc minunat în Duminica Floriilor. În această zi, chiar cu o săptămână înainte de Paști, Biserica Ortodoxă sărbătorește pe cei care poartă nume de flori. A fost o alegere inspirată să ne bucurăm de o ieșire în natură, să admirăm acest colț de natură ce adună loalaltă atât de multe flori minunate.

Suntem încântați să împărtășim această bucurie, precum și fotografiile pe care le-am făcut.

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