Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cycling in the 'Forêt de Soignes' (forest) near our Apartment (Apr 2 & 22)

Since it's hard to stay in the house on such beautiful Spring days, I find myself looking for reasons to go outside and what better way to enjoy the weather and even get some exercise than to cycle in the forest near our apartment (Forêt de Soignes). Shannon and I went cycling a lot last year and have gone a few times this year when the weather has cooperated. Otherwise, if he's working, I go with Stephanie, my neighbor, who also loves the outdoors and enjoys cycling. Actually I just went today with another friend, Dallas, since she suggested it earlier in the week and it was only fitting to go on a bike ride on Earth Day (April 22)! To commemorate Earth Day I also walked to Chatelain Market with my recyclable bags to get some fresh fruits and vegetables. I also air dried all my laundry today. Oh wait, I guess I do these things on a regular basis, along with recycling paper, plastic, tin and glass. I think living over here has helped me become more environmentally savvy; hopeufully, it will stick when we move back!

Back to cycling, to make myself more comfortable I've been wearing Shannon's biking gear he got from participating in a Deloitte cycling event last year. I love the padded butt part of the biking shorts, but the rest of the outfit is kind of hideous as it has suspender like straps to hold up the shorts and to give you more support. I suppose it's really good for me because my 'growing belly' needs all the support it can these days! Don't worry, I don't let anyone see me in it since I always wear workout clothes over top of it to spare myself any sort of embarrassment. I also wear padded biking gloves and a camel back which not only holds my water, but my forest map, keys, snacks and anything else I feel like bringing along. I occasionally wear my helmet as well.

Anyway, Stephanie and I recently went on a long bike ride (3 hours roundtrip) down to the Groenendaal section of the forest where there is suppose to be a chateau, but once we got there we weren't impressed with the modern looking home that I guess is considered Kasteel van Groenendaal. However, there are several ponds and picnic areas so we settled on eating our packed lunches there. Earlier we had rode by another area of the forest, Tournay-Solvay Park, which has a rundown chateau which I believe is called Bischoffsheim. I actually like the Tournay-Solvay Park better than the area we ended up for lunch since it has a few ponds with ducks, flower gardens, apple trees and an old chateau on a hill which I mentioned a second ago. Throughout the forest we saw several people walking their dogs, running, casual walking with friends, some with baby carriages and even a few horseback riding. Overall we had a nice bike ride and couldn't complain about the perfect weather we had which was around low 70s and no wind. We did feel sorry for our husbands who had to stay in their offices all day while we enjoyed the sun!

Here is the rundown Chateau Bischoffsheim in the Forêt du Soignes which Stephanie and I cycled by. I've been by it a few times with Shannon as well. He wants to design our house after some of its architecture once we move back and build a house someday.
Taking a break for lunch at the Groenendaal section of the forest which wasn't as impressive as we hoped. Stephanie is modeling her Deloitte biking attire!
There are several horse trails throughout the forest
All of the pathways have names which makes it really easy to maneuver around the forest, especially with the map that we purchased from the American Women's Club.
You can barely spot him, but check out the cute little dog running down the path to his master. His master must have been a dog walker because there were around 10 dogs he was walking; however, I only happen to catch this little guy on camera!
Stephanie and I nearing the final stretch of our 3 hour excursion.
There are lots of ducks, swans and other birds in and around the ponds.
Another view of the old chateau from another bike ride episode with Shannon.


ferrispaella said...

What a great blog. I found the post through a Google search and I am sure glad I decided to go my first cap. Comment. not know what to say except that I enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
padded cycling shorts

Tomatius said...

Dear Girls,
I am still wondering where you found this beautiful piece of architecture, could you send a google maps view by any chance?
Great blog!
Thanks in advance.


autolycus said...

The ruined château in the park Tournay-Solvay is not the Château Bischoffsheim, which is the International School of Brussels now. The ruin is the result of a fire in the eighties and of neglect ever since. It used to belong to a member of the Solvay family. So did the Château de la Hulpe.