Schapen at De Hoge Rielen

After having heard that the schapen were supposed to be somewhere at the domein of De Hoge Rielen, we were looking out several times for them, but in vain. And even an extra bike tour on a sunday afternoon with the aim to find the „schapen“ was unsuccessful.

What a surprise then, when the „schapen“ were just laying there and blocking our way to the Klimbos on a normal wednesday afternoon! We had to get off our bikes and walk through the herd of sheep


And even during the Klimbos it was really fun to see the „schapen“ eating the grass under the Klimbos and running along the way which leads to the Klimbos, while the shepherd was sitting on a chair next to his sheep.


The sheep stayed for 10 days at the domein, every day at another place, in order to cut the grass „naturally“ and without machines.




First steps in Belgium

DSC_0110The spring is passing and the forest is getting more green and shinning when the weather is good. When that happens the place is colorful and warm and it is perfect for hiking and scouting. These first two months have been running very fast and they have served for getting used to the domein and the different places we work: technical service, kitchen, klimbos, etc…

Specially in klimbos we are starting to have several groups who are ready to enjoy the different lines, because spring season means also the starting season for Klimbos at De Hoge Rielen. Because of this, since our arrival we helped in different tasks for having ready the perfect klimbos for the people and for sure we also checked out the different lines of the parcour with success.


Also, we have had our first contact with the world of the bees through a training with the rest of the crew because in summer there will be a new workshop about how bees live and how to extract the honey.

But for sure, Belgium is more than De Hoge Rielen, so we try to know more about the country. We take advantage of the good transport communications for visiting many cities of this small country but with a big history behind.

In Leuven, which is well known for the universitary life, we visit the oldest library of the country and an incredible gothic style townhall in the main square which is nearby a cosy market on Sundays.

Gent is another universitary city with a medieval city center where the different canals make you feel like in Amsterdam.

DSC_0008 Brussels as the capital not only of Belgium but also of Europe, is cosmopolitan and plenty of life that makes you feel like if you have the world in your pocket while you lose yourself in the narrow stone streets.

 There was time for an express visit to Genk for celebrating in live how Celta de Vigo passed the next round in Europa League.20170420_230935

For sure we can not forget to write about the marvellous and endless offer of beers. We do not exaggerate when we say you can find a thick book as a beer menu in some places.

But it is always good to contrast for taking a good view of everything. Because of this Paris was the next stop, what to say, from the latin quarter to Montmartre there is never enough time for enjoying this beautiful city.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It is time to finish and also time to scout, the summer comes and for sure the sun will bring good news.


A new EVS beginning


Now it’s time to take the relay from Ania and Max. We are Javi and Vanessa, the new volontiers and we hope our experience is as good as theirs last year.

Javi comes from Vigo in the north of Spain, he likes doing all kind of sports and is impatient to start the work at the klimbos. He also likes photography and finds this forest a perfect place for it.


Vanessa is from Germany, from the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) and already speaks french, spanish and english. Now she can’t wait to discover dutch, a language which seems to be very close to high german and other german dialects but nevertheless is very different and will totally be a challenge.


Although both of us had lots of information about this place before we came here, we have been very surprised about how big this place really is and how well everything works here. It’s very nice when you wake up and see all the forest out of your window, especially when the day is sunny.


Now we are here for more than three weeks and every day we feel a little bit more like at home. Everyone welcomes us so warmly and helps us with all kinds of problems. We didn’t only get from the staff of de Hoge Rielen all the necessary information about what is waiting here for us but we also met Ania, the previous volunteer who came back to see some friends. She told us about her experience, gave us many important and very necessary information about what we can do at the week-ends and even invited us to Antwerp, to meet up with her friends and other EVS who are in Belgium right now. Thank you Ania for sharing all your connections with us!

After such a good start at our new home for the next 9 month, we are enthousiastic to see what is coming. We’re looking forward to spend the year at de Hoge Rielen and to experience a new life in nature and a new country: it‘s cities, it‘s landscape, it‘s food, it‘s culture and of course it’s language!

Authors: Javi and Vanessa


It’s passing 8th month of my life in Belgium, time being also the longest period I’ve ever lived abroad. It’s definately enough time for noticing things characteristic for country and people living there, good as well as bad. But today I’ll focus on the best, 8 things I’ll miss after leaving Belgium and which make me finally thinking: ‘It may be not soo bad idea to stay here for longer…’.



When you enter a new environment, doesn’t matter if it’s a new work, group of friends, country or even if you randomly meet new people you have to be always ready for hail of questions… And at the beginning you are of course a bit confused with answering but with time you realize that when you answer you don’t only answer to somebody, but mainly to yourself. Today I’m going to share with you the answer for the most frequently asked question since I decided to become volunteer for almost one year. Why I made this decision? Continue reading “WHY AM I A VOLUNTEER?”


It’s been so long time since I wrote in our blog last time (I leave that honor usually to Ania because she is much inspired  then me to write) but today I decided that I had somethings to say.

I have to complain and make compliments  (the gripes are easier and not to serious !!!)…