cycling in the Haspengouw
Cycling in Belgium Limburg

Biking amid the blossoms of the Haspengauw

Three cycle rides through the spectacular flowering fruit orchards of the Haspengouw

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.

apple-252857_1280

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.

apple-blossom-1689690_1280

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.

Borgloon 38 km

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.

Sint-Truiden 46 km.

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.

Sint-Truiden Borgloon 90 km

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!).

Good luck!

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?

haspengouw-1

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:

Save

Save

Save

33 comments on “Biking amid the blossoms of the Haspengauw

  1. Love it, beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds (and looks) like an amazing bike ride. I hope you are able to get out soon. In the meantime, I’ll recommend it to my parents. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The blossoms of Haspengouw – Discovering Belgium

  4. Oh Denzil, I hope you do get to visit this area. I’m looking forward to seeing more photos of the blossoms. Is there a scent to go with the visual delight of the flowering trees?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That is some journey.. and yes it is also bringing out our apple blossom.. So warm this time of year too.. 22C here yesterday.. Half that today though a big drop.. Happy and safe travels Denzil.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful way to see the countryside. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This looks like a great place to ride… and flat!! And with flowers! And great beer at the end! You are a lucky fellow. Share pics when you do the ride!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It all sounds beautiful, like people should flock there to see it as they do to see the cherry blossom in Japan. It must be amazing place to see wildlife too – imagine how many insects could be drawn to all that pollen and nectar. I wonder what apple-blossom honey tastes like….?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know about the orchards and insecticides; that would be something worth checking out. What’s interesting to see Theresa is that I notice more birdboxes going up in these orchards now than a few years ago, which is a good sign of the owner’s environmental friendliness.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Denzil,
    This sounds beautiful and the weather there has really warmed up for you quickly. We have similar temps here at the moment too.
    As a bike rider, I can just imagine the peaceful and beautiful scenery of the orchards. A lovely post 🌟🌟

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Reminds me of an area we stayed near Wiesbaden, Germany. Love the blossom photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sounds so lovely. Have Pinned.

    Like

  12. Hey Denzil, lovely and interesting blog post!

    Last weekend I went to Haspengouw and did 3 bicycle rides of +/- 70 km each.

    It was great to be in the area, it’s so ideal for riding your bike, isn’t it?

    I was there last year too, a week after the infamous storm in June.
    Then a lot of bicycle paths were blocked and in many cases we had to literally crawl over and through fallen trees and bushes with our bicycles. That was quite an adventure too, especially when we were also confronted with a thunderstorm which left us completely soaked! 😀 But, nevertheless I even enjoyed that too! When the conditions are hard during a hike / bicycle ride I always imagine I’m one of the Fellowship of the Ring or even one of the Famous Five who are going through an exciting adventure! That’s my coping mechanism! 😀

    Last weekend I also bought some Loonse Stroop, with apple, bear and bramble, lovely with bread!

    Keep them coming, your great blog posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s rather obvious that the Stroop is made of apple, PEAR and bramble and not bear! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kelly, glad you liked the post, and it seems you certainly had an energetic week of cycling! Last year’s cycle ride was definitely quite an adventure. You should be inducted into the Fellowship of the Ring, or the Famous Five should become the Famous Six. Any time you fancy writing a post about one of your rides or hikes, just let me know. Guest bloggers are always welcome!

      Like

  13. A bike journey in spring – invigorating and beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: