Last September I introduced you to the Haspengouw, an area of Belgium that is renowned for its fruit industry. Every year the region produces around 360,000 tons of pears and 280,000 tons of apples, topped up with significant volumes of cherries, strawberries and soft fruits.
If you remember, I cycled the 70-kilometre “fruitoogstrit” (fruit harvest cycle ride); a super route through the orchards, which at that time of the year were bursting with ripe fruit. You can read my account here. I also mentioned that I was intending to return to this area in Spring, when all the fruit trees are in full bloom.
Well, that time of the year is here. There’s a useful little web page in Dutch called the “bloesemmeter” or “blossom meter”, which shows the daily progress of the fruit trees as they come into blossom.
Currently the pear trees are in full bloom, with the apple trees just beginning to come out (apple trees blossom about 10 days after pear trees). They reckon that the orchards will be looking their best around 20th April.
However, today’s sunshine and hot weather (Sunday 9th April = 23°C) has brought out the apple blossom in my local orchard so quickly that the peak could well be before the 20th.
So I am hoping to get on my bike soon and cycle through the wonderfully pink orchards of the Haspengouw.
Where’s the best place to see the Haspengauw blossom?
I could of course repeat the “fruitoogstrit” that I did last September. However, a comment on my blog post from Tom Bastijns suggests that I missed the best part of the Haspengouw: “the “real” Haspengouw is situated between Sint-Truiden and Borgloon. There you can have amazing views after riding up from one hill to the other. The part you did is also beautiful, but flat, and therefore less good for taking pictures.”
How can I resist his suggestion?
So I have done some research and found two recommended cycle routes in the area that Tom suggests.
38 km around Borgloon
The first starts and ends in Borgloon and is a 38 km loop. Below is the map, and you can find the route and the GPX file here on RouteYou.
46 km around Sint-Truiden
The second starts and ends in Sint-Truiden and is 46 km long. Below is the map, and you can find the GPX file here on RouteYou.
90 km around Borgloon and Sint-Truiden
I then decided to combine the two in this 90 km route from Sint-Truiden to Borgloon and back. Below is the map and you can download the GPX file for your device here from RouteYou.
As you can see, all the routes follow the excellent system of numbered junctions that I have written about extensively elsewhere. This means that you can easily shorten (or lengthen!) your route as your energy reserves get unexpectedly depleted (or topped up!).
I hope that you might have the opportunity to cycle one of these routes in the coming days and see the spectacular Haspengouw orchards in full bloom.
I am hoping to find the time to do one of them soon too. Maybe I’ll see you en route?
P.S. None of these pictures are mine! I hope to replace them with my own photos once I have actually done one of these routes.
For you Pinterest fans, here’s a pin: