Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Déja Vu - Adventure 224

Today, we had a strange adventure, to say the least. Throughout the adventure I kept thinking I was remembering things.
Let me explain. Because we've already been in quite a few adventures already (over 100 in total) and we're using the same map of Dijleland, the adventures we make may go through places we'd already been in. Those places may have been recently or a long time ago. For example, a few adventures ago, at the early 200s, we walked the exact same route we had walked in another adventure, but there were differences. The first difference was the fact that we were walking in the opposite direction, and the second being that in the earlier adventure, the walk had been covered in snow, but in the later adventure it was all sunny and nice. It was interesting to compare the pictures we took with and without snow.
But unfortunately, if the place we had been in was a long time ago, we would only be left with a feeling of déja vu as we walk by what could or could not be a place we had already walked.
And it was that déja vu feeling that I had, like a bell ringing at the back of by head, but the sound of the ringing was so far away I couldn’t tell if I’d heard it or not.
Animals of the day: sheep, horses and cows. The animals in the neighbourhood seemed to be very sophisticated as the cows seemed to be very good at small talk, the horses greeted us with pleasure and the sheep had a mannerly conversation with Tonio. But for the two lots of sheep, as soon as I spoke they tended to lose interest or respect in us; but I couldn’t tell which. And as we wound around in the plentiful narrow passages, we were gladly accompanied by the many animals around us. We even looked into more detail at the plants and insects as I spotted a yellow spotted spider, a sponge coloured spider, a bronze-coloured beetle and about 100 or more flies... which, to be honest, was 100 more than we wanted disturbing us.

But at last, we made it back to the car, jumped in and headed home... did you enjoy this animal, plant and memory filled adventure? If you have, then make sure to join us on our next trip. Also, make sure to check out Tonio's blog called the Wanderer. Until next time!


[by Tonio]:

Today's walk started off like the other time, through roads with too many cars and also, on this occasion, cyclists whizzing by. This was also due to traffic being diverted to the secondary road where we were walking, because of roadworks on the main access to Sint-Agatha Rode.

Bit by bit, however, it became more rural and calm. We encountered various animals, mostly cows, sheep and horses. I had a, sort of, meaningful conversation with a sheep. She more or less repeated her same argument, while I tried to be a bit more elaborate in my remarks. But maybe they're not familiar with the Maltese language. This flock of sheep had been sheltering inside a shed and I gave them my standard greeting: "Insellmilkom!" Literally, "Greetings to you". In Malta, for some reason, it's only used on the radio and on TV. And by myself. My new-found friends the sheep took this to mean that they should go out into the field to graze, which they immediately set out to do.

Sheep will be sheep...

Further on, our route took us into a path next to a waterway. Gianluca was quite certain that we had already walked here. I'm not so sure myself. It was certainly picturesque. I was about to write "pleasant", but there was another species of animal present in abundant numbers, that I didn't mention above. One of the most successful multicellular forms of animal life on earth, as I pointed out to Gianluca: mosquitoes. You get them when you're close to any body of water if the temperature is not too cold. Lucky Icelanders. No mosquitoes can survive up there.

Still, mosquitoes or not, this whole "Adventures in Dijleland" idea was one of the best I've ever had. Yet again, it was an interesting and a lovely couple of hours with Gianluca and, as always, a means to take some pretty pictures.

I'm looking forward to the next one.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

A car filled adventure

Today was... let's just say that today was unusual.

So basically, a lot of the terrain we went through was roads and streets. However, an exception was going from 229 to 228, which was by far the most interesting and beautiful part. After Tonio complained a little about the cars and the dogs – which were also quite frequent – the road branched off into a door which was quite unusual. It was made so that you can only pass as a person. Bikes and cars couldn't pass as they were too wide and/or long. We passed quite a few of them.

Anyways, we passed through that and, after walking down a straight road, we went on to a slightly dodgy bridge or path – depends on which way you look at it – made out of wood. Anyone could tell that it wasn't in the best of conditions. We wobbled through them and, although the quality wasn't the
best, the views were nice and we took some pictures of the scene.

After a few more roads and a few more cars, we went onto another non-tarmac road and we met our animals of the day.

First, we met a flock of sheep, who, after we greeted each other, we moved away and saw how they worked. At first we thought that only one of them was in one field and the rest had to stay on another. We then watched how each sheep bar one picked their way through the fence and into the other field, which made us think that one sheep had to take care of one field while the rest of the sheep went on the other. But, slowly slowly, that one sheep on the other field sauntered over to the other field. We then gave up on the sheeps' algorithm.

The second group of animals of the day were 3 horses on a very big field. One of the horses came to greet us while we read the sign on the fence. After a few minutes of translating, we figured out that it said:

3 old horses up for sale; looking for somebody to take care of
them for one or two months. They are all old, the oldest one 30
years old and the youngest 17 years old.
At last, we came to the car and drove home.

If you’ve enjoyed this adventure, make sure to join us in our next one. Also, make sure to check out Tonio’s blog called The Wanderer. But for now, goodbye!



The starting point today was at a crossroads between Neerijse and Sint-Agatha-Rode. There were beautiful fields on each side, but unfortunately, our path was through a busy road with cars whooshing by. It was not pleasant in the beginning and from point to point the loop passed through roads with yet more cars. I mentioned to Gianluca that I would complain to "the manager" of the Zuid Dijleland network.

Finally, eventually, we left the car traffic behind us. From then on it became muddy but much more peaceful and calm.

We look forward to nicer adventures with less cars whooshing by (and they really all seem to be in a terrible hurry).

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Probably the warmest December adventure yet

Today, we had quite a strange adventure. Not like that’s unusual or anything.

We started off having to pass through 216 as there was no parking and we saw once again a very familiar river. Once reaching 219 we set off for a muddy adventure.

Throughout the adventure we had this big long conversation about percentages and how you can say 'probably' to any yes or no question that has a probability from 0 to 1 including 1. This is true except for 0. You can’t say probably to a probability if you know for a fact that the probability would be zero (unless you are being sarcastic).

We came into this very strange clearing and I suggested we take the first video ever taken on this blog because we wanted to show the full 360 view of the scenery. Here it is:

At one point we met quite a few animals of the day. The first ones were 3 chickens that didn't interact with us much. The second was a field of many sheep (or at least we thought they were sheep). Tonio made a bad joke when he saw a black sheep. He said that it was the black sheep of the family. Very funny Tonio. The third animal was two ducks waddling around in the mud and the final animals were two cows  in the same field as the ducks.

After the adventure we decided to go to a 'friterie' that replaced a restaurant called 'Italia Grill'. We both shared a small chips and I had a coke.

But after all that, we went back to the car and drove home... Did you enjoy this adventure? If you have then make sure to join us on our next one. Also, make sure to check out Tonio's blog called The Wanderer. But for now, that’s all folks!


A beautiful rose next to a memorial stone. Pictures by Gianluca.


On the very last day of 2018 we squeezed in another adventure: number 219 around the Margijsbos forest, close to Loonbeek.

As is customary, I started taking pictures even before the 'official' beginning of our walk.

'Yet another picture of this watermill,' according to Gianluca.

As is also customary, the walk had a unique character of its own. While navigating our way I came up with my 'Theory of Probability'. This states that you can reply to any yes/no question with one word: 'Probably', the only exception being if you're 100% certain that the answer is no. A very low probability is still a probability. A certainty ('yes') is a probability of one, or 100%. All qualifying as 'probably', meaning that there is a non-zero level of probability, except if the probability is zero (i.e. the answer is a definite 'no'). We considered different scenarios illustrating this theory, Gianluca quickly working the formula to perfection by answering 'Probably' to most of my questions... We had an argument about whether what looked like a concrete bunker could have been formed naturally, purely by incredibly unlikely coincidence. I insisted this was absolutely impossible but Gianluca maintained that the probability, even though incredibly small, was still there. The pupil beating the master at his own game. We also pondered on the 'astronomically' small probability of the structure having been built by aliens. And so it went on through the muddy paths...

Earlier, while walking through an open plain with fields all around and some distance away from the edge of the forest, Gianluca suggested I take a 360 degree video scan of the surroundings. It was our first video (up above) taken for this blog.

Dull and dreary as it was, it was quiet and pleasant and I managed to take some interesting pictures, while of course enjoying the banter with my 'pupil'.

My silly quip of the day: 'The black sheep of the family'. I just couldn't resist.

Friday, 12 October 2018

The cow convention (Adventure 218)

As we arrived at the starting point, we found out that the adventure went through the middle of a convention for cows. The first session we saw was of meditation.

In the adventure, we got into this huge conversation about evolution and which species were most successful in the world and why humans had almost no positive effect on the world. While we were discussing this, we passed a few other sessions of the cow convention. We passed mountain climbing, gym and even the buffet.

It was accidental but Tonio planned the route so that we were doing the exact opposite of what we did some time ago when it was snowing. Remember that? The scenery was completely different then. The snow, the croaking of our footsteps, the snow angel and even the tractor tracks. Now it was sunny, warm with vibrant colours and a nice breeze to go with it. I'm not sure which one was better. Tonio prefers the snow one.

But in the end, we went back to the car and drove home. Did you enjoy our adventure? If you did then make sure to join us on our next one. And also, make sure to check out Tonio's blog called The Wanderer. But for now, that’s all folks!


[By Tonio]:

After I had planned today's walk, from no. 218, I realised that it was exactly the same route we had done last winter, a memorable Saturday morning when we went out quickly to walk in the snowy landscape before it all melted. But the other way round. I even parked in exactly the same spot. This time, however, the setting was completely different - early autumn (more like late summer) instead of the peak of winter.

The contrast was impressive. I took some pictures to compare with the snowy version.

I remarked that grazing animals - mostly cows today - create such a serene atmosphere. It was so beautiful.

In the picture above, the grazing animals were horses (far away on the right). I like to think they're the same horses we saw last winter, enduring the freeze.

Among various subjects, we discussed what would happen to the path we were using if mankind were to disappear from planet earth. We moved on to a more general picture and whether a new "dominant" species would emerge. I suggested that there need be no dominant species, in fact the very existence of such a concept could only mean that this species was being detrimental to the ecological equilibrium.

Like us.

Not very cheerful of me, I have to admit. I'm surprised Gianluca puts up with my ramblings. But the surroundings were really pleasant.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

An adventure on Mars - no. 216

Today was... I don’t know how to explain it... unusual. Well, all of our adventures are unusual but that’s the only way I can explain it.

After taking the usual picture of myself showing the number 216, we continued in the direction of 217. A while later, Tonio told me that he was finding this place familiar. After about 2 more minutes of walking Tonio remembered that we were where we were in the last adventure. Then we saw the sign saying go left towards 215. But we weren’t supposed to go to 215, so we turned round and started walking the way we came. Then we reached a sign that said we were at 216 next to a broken log (by the way, that broken log was quite strange. Well, that’s the tree of the day!) 

But it wasn’t the same 216 we saw last time. That was near a river with somebody fishing. Then we realised that there were two signs saying 216. 

Starting again, at a second no. 216 pillar
We went towards 217 and moved on.

Into the field we went, with the usual trees in the distance and the green and yellow colours, in their own little farm space. We saw what looked like a giant pyramid of hay bales and it looked quite familiar to me. We then passed what looked like a fishing pole, which also looked familiar. I was trying to think why everything looked so familiar. Then it all clicked. We were doing the adventure 204 the other way round, the one where we had Sue as our special guest. We spotted the place we parked and I still remember that adventure quite well.

After that, we encountered our animal(s) of the day. Just after the familiar farm we passed, we saw a herd of cows. We walked up to them and we politely said hello but the cows didn’t show much interest. One kilometre later and we suddenly hear a faint ‘moo' in the distance. It sounded like a cow had finally become excited. I was just fascinated by how a cow could moo so loud.

Tonio was looking at the fields and said that this used to be the Martian landscape we were talking about a few adventures back. It now had lots of yellowish plants.

Then he proceeded to make a joke. He said that there was ‘life on mars'. Quite typical of him to make a joke or pun during an adventure.

Finally, we saw the car, went in it and drove home... did you enjoy our adventure today? If you have then make sure to join us on our next one. Also, make sure to check out Tonio's blog called The Wanderer. I will see you on the next adventure in Adventures In Dijleland!


"Looks like Toblerone", according to Gianluca. Quite appropriate, considering the field next to here used to look like Mars.

[by Tonio]:

We had a false start today. Two anomalies, in fact, one an error of ours and another error by the walking network maintenance team. We started at no. 216. Even before the beginning of the walk, I was taking pictures...

The light was good today, as was the thoroughly comfortable temperature, unlike the terrible heat of July and August.

The plan was to proceed to 217 and then 218, 205, 204, back to 217 and finally 216 again. As I said, conditions were pleasant and the path next to a spring picturesque and enjoyable.

Forest furniture from a fallen tree trunk

I then realised that a field and a large shed on our right were very familiar. A couple of minutes later we learned why. We had taken a wrong path, and were walking back to 215, in the opposite direction of our previous adventure! So we went all the way back to the start... well, almost, as we learned of the second anomaly. At the fallen tree trunk, where we should have turned to the right, the wooden post had no. 216 written on it, but it was not the same place where we had started at 216! There are two posts marked as 216, at two different places.

We set off again, correctly now along the planned route, to 217 etc. Again, the terrain was so familiar. This was a path that we had walked, also in the opposite direction, on a freezing Sunday afternoon last winter, with Sue as a special guest.

I stopped for a chat with a cow. A philosopher of few words. None, to be precise. If, at a certain stage in her life, she may have had an identity crisis, this should be over by now as someone made sure that she would have an identity. Her name is 8074, and is proudly displayed on a tag fixed to her ear.

It's fascinating how different the landscape looks in different seasons. In winter, we passed next to a frozen field, completely devoid of any vegetation. I had likened this to a martian landscape...

More or less the same field, in late summer, looks so different...

I decided to call this, now, "Life on Mars", but Gianluca was far from impressed by my wit!