Bike ride to Borgloon

By Ruben Alexander

BELGIUM – One Sunday, when it was exeptionally nice weather, I decided to cross one more town from my list of Belgian towns I haven’t visited yet: Borgloon. To do this, I cycled north along the N20 from Liège to Tongeren, where I turned west on to the N79 to Sint-Truiden. I didn’t make many pictures because the sun was too bright, and because the view from Flemish roads is often not particularly interesting. This is why we will start in my first stop, the small town of Borgloon (Limburg, pop.: +/- 3,500, FR: Looz), roughly half way between Tongeren and Sint-Truiden, in the agricultural region of Haspengouw/Hesbaye.

Borgloon has a small but picturesque historic centre (I have to add that the cars hadn’t really bothered me in Sint-Truiden, but that Borgloon really seemed to be crammed full of them, and that in a town centre that is barely 600 meters in diameter). It surrounds two main squares.

1. Speelhof

2. The tenth century Church of Sint-Odulfus

3. The 17th century Kanunnikenhuis (something to do with the church) in the regional Mosan style of architecture (which you can also see in nearby  Liège, Maastricht and Aachen)

4. Markt

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6. The 15th century town hall, which is also in the Mosan style. I don’t have a good picture of the front because of the strong sunlight

7. Leaving town the way I came in, on Tongersesteenweg, which is the longest urban street in Borgloon. A Sunday flee market seemed to have just finished when I arrived

Some art-deco buildings on Tongersesteenweg

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10. A side street

11. A last view of Borgloon before we head south

12. The 18th century Drie-Morenkerk in Gutschoven

13. There are a lot fortified farms in this region (this one is near the church in the last picture). I really like them and would often photograph them all, but that would have taken me all evening here

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15. A very neat and tidy part of the Hesbaye shortly before we cross the border into Wallonia

Now in Wallonia, we have arrived at my second destination for the day: the valley of the Jeker (FR: Geer) river, which extends from Waremme to Maastricht

16. Another old Mosan-style building in Oreye, Province of Liège

17. The other side of the building

18. Church of Oreye

19. An old house

20. Another fortified farm (I saw many more)

21. We have now crossed the border back into Flemish Limburg. It’s difficult to know which language to greet people in in this region

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23. The Jeker valley (the river is below the trees)

24. The village of Lauw (Tongeren municipality) in the Jeker valley. Lauw is a strange name because it means ‘lukewarm’ in Dutch

25. Another half-timbered house in Lauw

26. A transformer house

27. The transformer house and the church of Lauw

28. View down a side street

29. Crossing the N614, which was the Roman road from Tongeren to Huy, and we’re in Herstappe, which has about a 100 inhabitants, making it the smallest municipality in Belgium

30. Herstappe is in Flanders, but is a so-called ‘facility municipality’, meaning that everything has to be bilingual because a large minority (probably 46 people ) speaks the other language – which is French in this case

31. A few hundred meters down the road, and we’ve passed back into Wallonia. The first two signs I saw in the village of Villers L’Eveque (Awans municipality) were also bilingual, but this time French and Walloon (for some reason, these were the only French-Walloon street signs I saw in Awans)

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33. Viller L’Eveque …

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… which is not far from home. As I had never previously visited any of the places after Tongeren, it was strange suddenly arriving in a place I know pretty well shortly after Villers L’Eveque. A true short holiday!

This entry was posted in Awans, Belgium, Borgloon, Flanders, Herstappe, Limburg (Belgium), Oreye, Province of Liège, Tongeren, Wallonia

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