The difference 60 years makes

Leuven Travel Blog

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From the National Geographic Magazine, May 1948 issue "Belgium Comes Back".

"Everybody works in Belgium - men, women, children, animals. The tempo of city life is brisk.

In the country you will see people going into the fields at dawn, and if, perchance, you return at dusk you will find many of them still there.

Driving in the country at night is made difficult and hazardous by a procession of carts creaking their way home, heavy-laden, from the fields.

Another thing which strikes the visitor is the number of people with bundles on their backs. Everyone seems to be carrying something; those who aren't will probably be pushing bicycles, carts, or wheelbarrows.

A Belgian will carry anything on a bicycle - boxes, bundles, bales. Once, along the Schelde, I saw a man pedaling over the cobblestones with a barrel between his arms.

In addition to bicycles, three- and even four-wheeled carts are operated by foot power.

Animal power is also used widely in Belgium. Belgian horses are noted for their size and stamina. In addition, dogs are used for pulling carts, and you may even see a dog helping to push his master's cycle. Cows are also used as beasts of burden.

Walking near Namur one afternoon, I was startled to see a procession of hay wagons, four in all, moving majestically down the road behind a power plant consisting of two horses and a cow.

Hard work does not seem to prevent the Belgians from living a full life. They like a good time and, somehow or other, they manage to enjoy themselves."

Sometimes I am just completely thrown back when I realise just how much life has changed within living memory.
lamadude says:
I wouldn't mind to see some Belgian (Brabant) horses reappear in the streets and fields though, they are beautiful animals :-)
Posted on: Apr 24, 2009
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photo by: Chokk