Guy Voets

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Traveling is a passion.

When they were kids, my grandparents spent a week or so at St. Anneke Plage. A small ferry linked both sides of the river, and the town of Antwerp only existed on the right bank in those days. They crossed the Schelde and stayed there a few days. Or they took the tramway, in that time pulled by horses, that brought them to St. Job-in-'t-Goor or Gooreind, in the heather of the Kempen region north of town.

When I was a kid, our family always went to the same seaside resort, Oostduinkerke, famous for its shrimpers on horseback (photo), at the North Sea shore. We stayed at the same villa, Mes Amis, halfway between the beach and the fishermen's village. You could normally find us there at the summer holidays, July and August, but also at Easter, and sometimes at weekends in Spring or Autumn. After a week or two, I invariably got itching bubbles on my hands, feet and sometimes ears, an allergy to the healthy sea air (probably the iodium in it). It only happens to me at the Belgian North Sea coast... or maybe I didn't stay long enough at other shores. Fortunately, every other year, our parents took my sister and me on a trip to France, Spain, Italy or Yugoslavia.

The youth organisation for nature study and conservation that I was active in (now called JNM*), brought me to places of natural interest all over Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as the Lüneburger Heide in Germany or the region of Oxford in England. We stayed in a farmer's barn, slept in the straw and cooked our own food: porridge, bread and tea in the morning, mashed patatoes with vegetables and hashed meat in the evening, and some hot chocolate at night. During the day we went on excursions -sometimes as much as 30 km- on foot, or also on bike, to inventarise plants, birds and other animals. After dinner, there was folk dancing and singing, accompanied by recorder (flute) and guitar. Romantic, isn't it?

As an adult, I spent many holidays in different European countries - with my family, with Mieke & Jo, with friends, but also alone. These vacations brought me all over France, to Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Yougoslavia,...

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