Fall in Mechelen
Mechelen Travel Blog› entry 307 of 354 › view all entries
I was back in Belgium for a short visit; it was the birthday party of my friends Sophie and Lieven. I stayed most of the time in Antwerp but Sunday I had made an agreement with Ewelina and Olaf to join them for lunch in Mechelen. I arrived there just after 12 and after a cup of coffee we decided to go for lunch in the Vrijbroekpark as there were two outdoor restaurants there and the weather was magnificent.
It was my first visit in the park which was kind of odd thinking about all the times I had visited the city, but there is a first time for everything. The Vrijbroekpark in Mechelen can be considered as one of the green pearls of Belgium.
The 50 ha park is located on the border of the city Mechelen and my friend has it almost in his backyard. It was nice to have Olaf as a guide walking the park and I was truly amazed by the size of it. The beauty of this park reflects the harmony of nature, recreation facilities and flowers. The Vrijbroekpark is apparently famous worldwide for its Rose Garden which also was honoured in 2003 with the Award of Garden Excellence, distributed by the World Federation of Rose Societies. Well I didn’t know that something like that existed but Olaf said that there were buses coming with Germans walking the garden looking at the roses during the whole summer.
The love for “The Vrijbroekpark” in Mechelen is not only based on beauty; it is a perfect place for walking, jogging, Nordic- walking, fishing, skating and many other sportive activities; it is possible to make a tree-walk.
There are many beautiful and solitaire trees in the attractive avenues of the tree-walk. The highest trees of the Vrijbroekpark measures 44 meters and are relative young, approximately 80 years. You will notice as first the lemon trees; the Tilia platphyllos and the Tilia cordata and both have aromatic flowers which are blooming in June and July. There is a popular belief of the Romans that the lemon tree is a sacrificed tree and protects against lightening, so you now know where to run in case of a thunder storm; if you know how the tree looks like.
The 1,5 km herb walk is worthwhile to do and to discover the culinary and healing power. It may vary from season to season which herbs you can see. The Saponaria officinalis, the Ricinus communis, the Phytolacca Americana, the Glycyrhiza glasra L, the Aegopodium podagraria are some of them. It is impossible to sum up them all and you may even discover some which you have never seen before. The Rose Garden is a highlight in the Vrijbroekpark in Mechelen.
It is really amazing how many kinds of roses you can find in these gardens and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish them. You find them in all kinds of colours; yellow, red, pink, white, pale, peachy and orange. It is important to know the language of roses because every colour has a different meaning. Red is the colour of love and passion, white reflects innocence and purity, yellow is the colour of friendship, pink is an expression of thank, pale symbolizes love at first sight, peachy roses are a sign of appreciation and gratitude and orange roses are a sign of desire and enthusiasm.
Some important roses in this garden are André Brichet roses, the Tiffany roses, the peace roses, the Pascali Roses, the queen Elizabeth Roses, Mme Caroline Testout roses, the Medaillon Roses but you also discover some other flowers like the Dahlia, Papaver, Canna, Pioen and even fruit. The Rose Garden is also divided in different parts, for example the educative rose garden, the Old Garden Roses (for example Rosa Gallica L from Western Asia and Caucasus, Rosa Damascena, Rosa Canina L) and modern roses (for example Rosa Polyantha, the Chinese Rose Roulettii) and a botanical garden. The Vrijbroekpark in Mechelen is really a place where you can enjoy all the time.
There are now two restaurants; one located near the entrance, where you can eat a light meal and drink a cup of coffee or any other beverage you prefer.