Archive for the ‘Belgium’ Category

Belgium GR5 – Camping with Tarpi & Cleo

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Camping in general .. whats it all about..

What i did learn about camping was mostly on this camping trip,

a small bit of the gr5 in northern Belgium,

well.. camping can be quite humbling..

I did some camping au sauvage and it was very easy to get discouraged, one afternoon, I had to ask if I could camp on a very nice looking farms farmland in northern Belgium (close to Holland) and the answer from completely respectable looking older woman.. I was refused.. can you imagine..

it was also hard to find water (I had to ask people (just ordinary people who happened to be standing outside their houses!) along the way and as you got further south into Belgium and away from Holland,  I found people really kind and kindly gave me water and water for the dogs.   one time I had to go into what looked like a greenhouse plant growing commercial park type business early on a  saturday morning and ask a gentleman to fill up our water bottles.. anyone who knows me knows I am quite shy and dont really like to put people out…so asking for help on and off was quite odd for me

It was a constant worry though.. food and water, carrying it, cooking.. shelter..

and I have the best (and id also add probably the most expensive lightweight equipment money can buy.. I was super well prepared ) and I was still challenged every day..

At one of my magnum icecream stops, a well dressed belgian lady came over to talk to me and she told me her sister had recently died from cancer and before she died had asked her to promise to go on the spanish pilgrimage and she wanted to know what it was like on my own with the dogs, she too wanted to go with a dog for protection (her husband did not want her to go alone or with a dog for that matter!),

I’d never been asked this before because i think I can safely say there is not one of my friends who would do such a thing.. go tent camping with their dog :) and I didnt have the words to tell her everything and the length of time it took for me to pluck up the courage to try it,

what I really wish I would have told her was that her sister may be saving her life from the grave, I really believe all households should have a sort of family-emergency-pack, you know the ability to survive if something happens to their homes, at minimum, backpack, tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, water sack, all very lightweight and easy to carry and 4 season (good for winter) and if she did the pilgrimage she would have these, she was planning the pyranese section.

I would have also told her you also will be relying on help from people along the way and how much any small kindness is appreciated and how often those who have a lot can be a little disappointing .. i include myself in that group.

These camping experiences also made me think a little about the refugee problems around the world (thanks also to miss jolie), what it must be like to uproot and not have food shelter water for yourself and your family.. its easy to get discouraged,

i ended up in a public toilet in Belgium for a wash.. i felt much better for it (and it made me recognise again how important water is) but it was humbling.. two days without a bath (a some limited water and food) and the cracks start showing.. I’m not making it sound like a lot of fun am I .. nevertheless I think its good to do because

a) you have the equivalent of emergency equipment that you have tested, (you also find out what is missing .. :)

b) you kind of discover what your limits are and then you can deal with it rather than be surprised and unprepared in a time of crisis.

Bottom line is my little adventures keep reminding me that its important to store some equipment, food and water for emergency situations,