As coming back from dried up African country, I wanted to see wet green with rain dew. Maybe life needs water and green.
So I decided to go to Belgium.
I changed to a local train at Liege and got off at the small station in
the mountains. After 30 more minutes bus ride, I was in the village called
Stavelot in the forest of Ardenne. The village still had a winter landscape
There were another reason why I visited the village. I wanted to see a
circuit of motor race. Spa-Francorchamps was one of the most traditional
circuit with long history in Europe. The 7km length race track which also
includes the public road section repeated up and down, and went through
the highland of Ardenne.
In March, Spa Francorchamp Circuit was obviously off season. I stepped
into the course from main stand area. And I saw the first hill climb section.
It's like a wall. Formula 1 machines climbed up the steep slope called
"Eau rouge" in almost 300km/h speed. I remembered TV image and
walked on the race track with making sure each single corner. I must be
the F1 pilot.
I had walked 6km after all and got to the final section. Then a helicopter
appeared and hovering above me. They said something to me with the microphone.
It meant I could not enter the course.
When I got up next morning, I heard some noise from downstairs. Well, my
room was on the second floor of cafe. So I went to downstairs for figure
it out. What I saw there was full of customers in a white robe and strange
mask with long pointed nose. I felt like I was still in a dream. And they
all drunk even it's in the morning.
So I asked them what's going on there. I heard it's a spring carnival called
"Blancs Moussis" They passed me a pamphlet. It said "The
501th Blancs Moussis". "My God, it's the 501th carnival"
It meant the festival had more than 500 year history.
The woman next to me explained "Well, this is a very traditional carnival
with 500 year history. Long time ago, people drunk in the spring carnival.
The monks in the monastery also wanted to celebrate the carnival with the
folks. But unfortunately, they couldn't drink because they were monk. Then
people got the idea that all the people put the white robes and the strange
masks to cover the faces. So nobody knew who's a monk.
Finally, all the people could celebrate the carnival. It's at the end of
the 15th century. <Blancs Moussis> means white robe" The carnival
had quite logical origin, I thought.
My photo looks like a snap shot this time. Any way ... I asked them what
was their occupation. Everybody said "Monk" Excellent joke.
" Blancs Moussis " Stavelot, Belgium 2002