Tucked away in a little knob in the curious puzzle piece-like border between Belgium and the Netherlands is the delightful Postel Abbey. Started in 1138 and experiencing all the ups and downs that have come with being an abbey in Northern Europe, Postel Abbey has risen from the ashes of the French Revolution to become a cozy wooded paradise for hikers, bikers, and local tourists. With three nearby restaurants, a bakery, frituur, and the abbey’s own abdijwinkel selling it’s cheese, herbal liquor, and honey, there is something here to tempt anyone’s appetite while wiling away the warm, pleasant spring and summer afternoons surrounded by lush green.
However, I managed to show up on Sunday, June 7, 2020, one day before Belgium officially allowed cafes and restaurants to reopen during the COVID crisis. So I was left to wile away my warm, pleasant spring afternoon only surrounded by lush green.
I previously visited Postel as part of my Beer & Bike: Postel & Corsendonk ride back in 2016 so I already knew a bit about having an uitsmijter and Postel beer at the Gasthof de Beiaard which is part of the abbey complex.
The hike consists of a 21.2 km loop done clockwise, about half of which is in the Netherlands. The hike consists of three varieties of scenery. Forest, heather, and vast picturesque farmland. There is a 500m stretch along a busy road which is necessary to cross over the E34, but otherwise, the hike is a peaceful blend of the three.
- Starting Point: Postel Abbey
- Ending Point: Roundtrip
- Distance: 21.2 km
- My Moving Time: 4 hrs 19 mins
- Eating Place: Gastof de Beiaard
- Komoot Link: Postel Loop
There is some variation in trail scenery.
Some beautiful foliage.
Towards the end, the trail runs right along the border, or “Grens”.
There are several beautiful farmland vistas, including these two:
June 7. Well, just so happens that the day was also my 48th birthday. I suppose a hike alone on one’s birthday may not seem like the ideal way to spend a birthday. It took some convincing of my daughter that I was ok with it. If the last couple months hasn’t taught us how short our lives are, then I am not sure what will. We need to embrace every opportunity, especially when we have the health to do something, like take a 21km hike. I admit though, that I could have used the pitter patter sound of a second pair of feet. Though, hiking for me is an activity best suited for contemplation. Unspoken words. Letting the eyes and facial expressions do all the speaking, and letting the birds, wind, and the crunch of grass and dirt do all the talking.
This hike around Postel was the fourth in a string of recent Abbey hikes which leaves me appreciative of how Belgium and Netherlands in all their flatness can have a richness and depth of natural grace. Even though I was one day too early to enjoy a Postel in Postel, I find that a minor trifle. I am not sure I am ready to roll the dice and tempt the COVID fate by congregating in cafes and bars. So for now, I will enjoy a Postel on my terrace at home. Feeling blessed and looking forward to what the next year of my life has in store.