Slow Cabins: de-stress in Belgian nature
Updated: Sep 26
Three days of easy living in a Slow Cabin was the perfect escape of hectic everyday life. We love living in the heart of Antwerp but sometimes it is very important to unwind and immerse yourself into the silence of nature.
The eco cabins are mobile and off-the-grid which means they are completely self-sufficient in terms of (rain)water and electricity. They are relocated every once in a while to another unique and secret location. Two weeks before your arrival you will receive the exact location and information about the region with all kinds of tips about hikes and main sights in the area.
The first day
We arrived in the afternoon and immediately felt at ease. In this environment without distractions it is easy to let creativity flow and take time for cherished pastime.
By the way; the picture below was taken from outside, so you see nature reflect in the window :)
To me one of the best summer feelings is eating outside with bare feet in the grass.
Here there is no Wi-Fi, so you'll have plenty of time to consciously enjoy the food on your plate and the tranquil evening ahead.
During dinner we were solely entertained by the changing evening light (and clouds) over the meadow and the surrounding forest.
Right behind the cabin flows the river 'Grote Nete' and from here you can follow a signposted hike of 6 km (3.7 mi) along the riverbank and through the park of 'Hof ter Laken'. After dinner we went to the river to walk through the fields during sunset.
The perfect way to end our first day was sitting at this cozy campfire.
Because; who doesn't love staring at a fire and gazing at the stars?
The second day
After the first night we got up before the crack of dawn to witness sunrise and to enjoy the crisp morning air.
Afterwards we went back to the cabin for breakfast and to make plans for the day. There are some brochures about the area on the coffee table, which will help you to choose activities which matches your interests.
We decided to start with a walk through 'Hof ter Laken' park. As summer comes to an end you could smell the first hints of fall. The first leaves have fallen and you can feel the season is starting to change. I will miss summer for sure but now I am looking forward to the next cozy season :)
In the afternoon we drove to Heist-op-den-Berg which is only 5 km (3.11 mi) from the cabin. Here we walked the easy 6 km (3.73 mi) long 'Monumenten wandeling' (monuments walk) to see the highlights of town.
Nice to know: the word 'Berg' in the cities name means 'mountain' in English.
But in fact, the centre of the city is not built on a mountain, but on a 48 meter (157.48 ft) hill. 15 Million years ago this was a sandbar situated on the coastline. And as the sea pulled back the "mountain" stayed and became mainland. Nowadays the sea is more than 100 km (62.14 mi) away...
If you look closely at the picture of the town hall (dating from 1844) below, you can spot the golden relief of the "Heistse Zwaan" above the entrance. This swan is the coat of arms of the city and is used for over 420 years.
Legend has it that in the Middle Ages the inhabitants of Heist had the nickname "telaatkomers' (people who don't arrive on time) as they once arrived way too late on a very important battlefield. As a countermovement the inhabitants created this coat of arms depicting a swan as a symbol of purity and innocence. No one knows if it's true, but it is at least a nice story for sure!
Around the town hall there are some beautiful old buildings with lots of charm.
The Pandoerenhoeve was built in the 17th century and is situated just outside of Heist-op-den-Berg. To me it felt like a little piece of France in Belgium...
After a day of sightseeing and forest hikes it is great to come back to the cabin to relax and enjoy the silence of nature and its wide views.
The cabin is like a tiny house of 40 m² (430 sq. ft.) and contains a queen size bed, bathroom, small kitchen and living room with a wood-burning stove. There is outdoor seating and a barbecue as well for cozy evenings while reading a book at the campfire. The cabin has got three big windows and everywhere you look you will only see nature.
We were lucky that the weather gods were on our side, because we've got treated with another beautiful sunset.
Pictured below you see our campfire and cabin as seen from the field opposite of the cabin. This shows that there are no neighbours, so you will be surrounded by a forest, meadows and (on a clear night) thousands of stars...
The third day
During our stay the cabin was standing in the 30 hectare (74 acres) lush park of castle domain Hof ter Laken in Booischot in the Belgian province of Antwerp. The history of the castle dates back to the 12th century (it was rebuilt in the 19th century) and the noble family has lived there until recently. Now the park is open to the public for hiking and cycling.
On our last day we woke up early again to be able to walk through the castle park before sunrise, while it was still misty without any other visitor in sight.
A view over the castle around sunrise with the last traces of fog before the day sets in.
Slow living asks for slow mornings...
After our (very) early morning walk we went back to the cabin to warm up in the morning sun with freshly brewed coffee. Happy days for sure!
Here we had some final relaxing moments while reading a book during sunrise.
Afterwards it was unfortunately time to say goodbye to this unique location.
These 3 days were perfect to re-energise because of the absence of city noise (here you'll only hear birds and rustling leaves) and the surrender to a slower pace of living.
It felt good to be able to see sunrise and sunset on a daily basis (something we are not aware of in the heart of the bustling city).
My recommendation is to fill your days here with early (but slow) mornings to feel the powerful energy of the early morning, to read a book, go on hikes, squeeze in a little trip to a neighbouring town for some culture and enjoy cozy evenings at the campfire.
Please note: I was invited by Goodbye Magazine
to experience two nights in this
beautiful Slow Cabin.
(Goodbye Magazine is an online and offline travel magazine)