Have you ever stood on a railway station concourse and stared longingly at destinations on the Departures Board that were not printed on your tickets? Have you ever found yourself on the road somewhere and found that the you were travelling along one of the world’s more famous long distance routes and felt the urge to keep on going? Have you ever stood at the bottom of a valley and felt an irresistible pull towards the summit high up above? I suffer from all of these afflictions and then some.
Long distance footpaths can also be found there in the mix saying “Come on! I dare you to walk me and find out where I go through and end up”. My gaze is always arrested by the waymark stickers for the Camino de Santiago and get I exited just by seeing the white and red horizontal bars signifying a GR (Grand Randonée – a European long distance trail). These markers are as valuable as SatNav for anyone hiking on these trails. Perhaps I’ll post again to explain how they’re used for navigation and how they vary across Europe. I’ll certainly post extracts from some of my hikes on these walking routes.
So when I’m out shopping in Brussels and come across a litter bin with a white and red bar painted on it, I stop and sometimes even take a photograph, but each time I’m wondering where the trail leads. In fact the one in this photograph is for GR126, which starts in Brussels, crosses GR12 in Grand Place then heads off south through Namur, Dinant and finishes at Membre-sur-Semois by the border of the French and Belgian Ardennes, where it joins GR16, which in turn has followed the River Semois from by Arlon in South East Belgium. This then rejoins GR12 on its way from Amsterdam to Paris via Brussels.
It is amazing where two painted bars on a litter bin can lead.