Some of the fun things about Belgium country life are the local festivals, markets, walks and indeed bike rides that are put on by community groups and local councils. There is always something happening in Lasne and at least twice a year there are bike days which comprise organised courses around some of the really nice lanes of the district, with distances from a gentle 10km to a more demanding 40km.
I feel somewhat guilty that in my first three years here I always managed to be somewhere else when the rides are on, but this year my wife and I decided we would take the chance for a gentle spin around our local lanes, especially to try out some new tracks at the other end of the commune.
Despite an extremely adverse weather forecast the weather was cold but dry when we set out and the tracks were extremely dry from the last few warm weeks, so it was absolutely delightful.
As ever with all the Belgian bike rides we do it was immaculately organised, perfectly signed and planned for just €6 per person.
We rolled up and down around the valleys, took in the open vistas on the plateaux, wound our way down woody lanes and bounced on the cobblestones between the cottages in the villages.
By special permission we were able to cycle through the grounds of the Abbey D’Aywiers which is preparing for next week’s spring garden festival, one of our favourite events of the year.
But if I will remember one thing about the day it will be the stunning array of blossom and flowers that lit up the countryside under the darkening clouds. There was hardly a lane without bluebells or trees in flower.
Once again we are reminded how much there is to enjoy in this area of Wallonia and all together it makes a great gallery.
And we could not have timed it better – running back into the house to escape the hailstorms that plagued the rest of the day, and no doubt battered the blossom from many of the trees.