Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sad feelings on a wonderful day

If you see Val and me shrivel up a bit, that is a sure sign: Belgium deficiency!
We are the lucky owners of a Toyota van, so we put dog in van and off we go.
Where shall we go today?
Well, I saw an internet site about a place called Eeklo in Belgium, where they have a disused railway's lifting bridge over a hardly used canal, and there seems to be a lock there as well.
So Eeklo (Balgerhoeke) is where we'll go.
We have this strong determination, no getting sidetracked. But then, after passing through Antwerp there is the roadsign saying "Doel".

I say sorry and off we go to a place that will be sacrificed to Antwerp's compulsion for expansion.
Doel is a place behind a protecting dyke and under the steam of a nuclear power station, which in turn is conveniently located next to the Belgian/Dutch border, so if anything goes wrong. . .
In my newspaper I read that the village Doel is about to disappear, so maybe this is our last chance to have a look.
It is a peaceful village where nothing much seems to be happening.
No wonder, most of the inhabitants have given up their resistance and left.

The local pub/restaurant "De Jagersrust" (The Hunter's Rest) reflects the resulting general decay: no more wining and dining here.
At the same time a village like this attracts a species that was thought long extinguished: The Hippie!

On the dyke we find them, having set up theatre tents and some contraptions the purpose of which we can't fathom.
Oh I wish I could play the piano, because a pianist is what one of the tiny theatres is looking for. If you fit the job description, maybe you should apply. The place to go for as long as it lasts is here.

In one of the buildings an informal radio station has been set up.
The bus in front of it says: out of service.
Look at these images, my friends, before long this place will exist no more, at least not in this form.

On one side the container cranes seem to be marching in.

On the other side the nuclear power station.

And how about the lifting railway bridge over the hardly-used canal?
See Val's blogpages for a report.


Erik-Jan said...

Hi koos,
I really think it is a pity...

gypsy noir said...

the power station is ugly it looks like a ghost town now..must say i love the gypsy caravan in the pic though...looks like it was a lovely place at one time ...sad...

Anne-Marie said...

Hi Koos,
Amazing that you can put a dog and two people in a van and just go off to another country. It does bring back some recent fond memories. :)

How sad about the village disappearing, though.

Glad to see you enjoyed the weekend.


jodie said...

Ah yes, the rumblings of the machine of Progress... its a sad sight to see but sometimes it is also kinder to breathe new life into something that no longer serves its purpose or let nature take it over but if there is no one to live in a town then there is not really much point in having a town.

A very poignant post though Koosje.


Barry said...

I swear I was looking for tumbleweed!

Murphy's Ghost said...

Hi Koos - I'm blogging from the other side of my Canada right now.
A four hour plane ride away from home... after a three hour drive to the airport...

It is always so sad to see towns being swallowed up all in the name of progress.
There is a small farming community not far from my parents home where most of the populations land was expropriated in order to build a new international airport to serve Montreal.

It is now a huge "white elelphant" sitting almost abandoned - it is only used for courier flights now.

The rich farmland where families once worked and thrived now sits vacant and unused... wasted.

I can empathise with your sadness in seeing the village of Doel facing a similar fate.

Before long, I'll know Belgium and The Netherlands very well.

Love the pic of the hippie house!


Murphy's Ghost said...

BTW does the canal downstream from the power plant glow green at night?

Metalchick said...

Hi Koos,
How sad! I didn't think that villages and towns disappearing can still happen. What happened? Is there a large town nearby sucking all the businesses and residents toward it?

Koos F said...

Well, the last inhabitants are moving out, I suppose people are ready to get on with their lives.

Yes Gypsy, those ugly power stations. France built one practically in Belgium, Ukraine built theirs (Chernobyl) almost in Belarus and this is only the beginning of a list.

Yesterday around 4 p.m. Iwanted to go for a ride on my motor scooter. After some roaming I ended up in Turnhout, Belgium, and around 9 p.m. I was back in Rotterdam. "Went to have a cappuccino in Belgium". The neighbours were amazed, because in spite of its proximity, we still look upon a trip to Belgium as a journey abroad.

Barry, the houses that are still in use have special signs on them to say so.
The rest are for finders keepers for until the demolition.

Dale, what a waste of good land for a white, mostly dead elephant!
And what a distance you can travel and still find yourself in the same country. A similar journey would get me to Africa or Asia: different continents!
Luckily the river Scheldt only lights up from plankton now and then - a natural thing...

Koos F said...

Thanks for seeing the poignancy of this post, Jodie.

Mary Beth said...

Hi Koos,

I read both your and Val's blogs on your trip. How awful for a little town to get swallowed up by industries! It's so sobering to ponder over how many lives have lived there, births, deaths, good times, bad, a place many people called home, a place they loved or thought was beautiful, etc. Time goes by, I guess, and in the same way that some ancient Roman towns, for instance, faded away into time, so too will this little town. Maybe someone will rediscover it 500 years from now.

elena said...

Hi koos,

This is really sad...I'm from a very small village near Salamanca and I want it to be there forever!!!...You and your wonderful photos, very good ones!!!

I'm leaving to Russia tomorrow and I'll be back in a week, just wanted to say bye....I will post some photos when I come back...


bookworm said...

Good evening Koos,
thank you for looking and writing on my blog. My Canon A1 I bought some month before the Who concert in Nürnberg. The heart from my camera is the zoom-objective from Canon (80-200 mm) with a light intensity 1:4. Most I work with a 50 mm with 1:1.4. I made some pics in Ulm. One you can see on the blog from my daughter crazycharly, but only the pictures from Pete are good. It was to dark.
I think I comming back to visiting your blog.
All the best

Renate said...

Great post, Koos.. Nice pictures.. sad to see all that machinery dominating a street, but unfortunately our growing population has need of it..

X R.