Last year I discovered the beauty of autumn in Louvain-la-Neuve, and I am glad to have spent most of October here this year as well, to see the beginning of the end of fall. What a mesmerizing season filled with grace, vibrance, and dynamics.
There is a forest nearby my campus called “Bois de Lauzelle”, a great place for a nice afternoon hike. From the centre of Louvain-la-Neuve, it’s about a 15-minute walk. Not too far, huh. One would think I would have gone there already during my previous stays in Louvain-la-Neuve. Nope. Due to my laziness, I’ve never visited the woods, even though I knew of its existence since the beginning of the year. It’s like Antwerp and Maastricht. I didn’t make the effort to visit until this time around, when my departure from Belgium at the end of the month may be for a good 6 months.
So, on a cloudy Sunday morning after a rainy day (the day I went to Antwerp), I ventured into the woods for my first autumn hike. Laziness had to be conquered, yes, but I was not going to let this opportunity escape me again. After Tobermory and Kawartha Lakes, I was determined to discover Bois de Lauzelle, on my own.
As I started my hike from the centre of Louvain-la-Neuve to the outer parts of the city, I passed by the Parc de la Source where this gorgeous bird was chilling among the branches. I think it was a swallow…I could never be sure of bird names. The leaves were still very much green, but traces of yellow and orange have begun to appear everywhere.
Entering the Bois de Lauzelle, I found myself being offered three choices of trails to take. I navigated through the woods by following the signs for the red trail. Wow, the trails are certainly very well-defined and well-maintained!
I loved this part of my hike. This pathway seemed to me like a corridor to heaven, shaded by calm green canopies that serve as guardians in a quiet forest. The road was muddy and the soil was soft after the rain, but I made it through without making too much of a mess!
Ah, mushrooms. I noticed them on a small hill as I continued down the trail and I knew I had to stop to take a closer look. This reminds me of the rainy days when I first arrived in France, and I’d go on a mushroom photo hunt around where I lived. Hah, I was certainly very attentive back then, and that was two years ago. What a thought!
I thought the picture of dripping rainwater from wild berries was a particular interesting and amusing scene. It gave me the feeling like each one of them was hanging onto a tear drop, refusing to let it go. Perhaps the wild berries were waiting for the wind to come and sweep away their tears.
Reflections of the surroundings in a random pond that I stumbled upon during my hike. The contrast between green and red, summer and autumn, it’s striking!
Another mushroom, this time sticking out of a wooden bench by the pond. Perhaps this was the abandoned child of the mushroom family above? 😦 Poor kid, stay strong!
A stunning flower was blooming proudly in the autumn air, showing off its splendid magenta dress and its intricate core. How do I stop loving nature when it offers me such beauty, such charm, such aura?
After what seemed like a never-ending solo expedition, I found the sign that would point me in the direction of going home. I gotta say, what an enjoyable hike! I am so glad I was able to say “no” to sleeping in that Sunday morning. At the end of the hike, I liked Louvain-la-Neuve a little bit more…okay, maybe a lot more than I already do (and trust me, this place has grown on me significantly throughout the past year). I am really going to miss Belgium for the next few months, no lies!
BONUS: I actually went BACK to Bois de Lauzelle the Sunday after my first hike, just to see if the colour of the leaves has changed within the week, and it has! Just look at the woods now! The yellow and red and orange that enchanted me so much last year have now wrapped the entire forest in hues of autumn, transforming it from a calm paradise to fields of passion. Beauty knows no end.