"On to "the territory beyond" ..." jojes's Profile

On these pages I would like to take you along our recent and not so recent travels.

I've discovered VT in 2008 when researching for a trip to Iceland.
It took some time before I started to create my own tips on here.
But since I've found so much useful information here, I decided on sharing our own experiences too.

My tips and destinations aren't yet as extended as they could/should be ... But as a mother of 2 kids (aged 7 and 5) it's hard to find the time to put into this.
But I'll certainly try to gradually create more tips and post more pictures ... I hope they'll be useful to some of you !

"The guy in the picture"

I've been asked before here on VT about the statue in my profile picture.
He's Ambiorix, a national hero.
Why this picture? We live in Tongeren, Belgium's oldest town. This statue has a prominent place at our Grand Market. This specific picture was taken by my dad somewhere in the '70's. It was one of the slides we digitalized for him. As I wanted something special as profile pic, I thought of putting the symbol of our town there. And since my dad died in 2011, it stays up there for him, since he was so very proud of his town ...

Some history on Ambiorix
In 57 BC, Julius Caesar's troops were on their way of conquering Gaul. They also invaded Belgica, which is now roughly the area north of France, Belgium, the Netherlands (to the Rhine) and a part of the German Nord Rhein-Westfalen.
There were several tribes in htat area who fought eachother on a regular base. One of the tribes was the Eburons, lead by Ambiorix and Catuvolcus.
When Caesar's troops were in desperate need of food in 54 BC, the tribes were forced to give up their crops and supplies. The Romans - lead by Quintus Titurius Sabinus and Lucius Aurunculeius Cotta - set up camps in the area to make sure they got the supplies they wanted.
That winter, Ambiorix joined forces with Catuvolcus in an uprise against the Roman army.
A small group of Romans was attacked by the Eburons, killing most of them. Some survivors made their way back to the encampement, with Ambiorix chasing them. When they reached the Roman camp, he noticed that the Eburones were outnumbered and decided on another approach. He convinced the Roman leaders he had nothing to do with the attack. Furthermore, he told them they had to leave because a large Germanic army was on the way to attack them. The Romans left ... only to get trapped in an ambush by Ambiorix and his men. Most of the Romans were killed there and then, the others who made it back to the camp killed themselves that night.
About 7.200 Romans were killed by 1 single tribe ...

Upon hearing of this, Caesar swore to rule out all the tribes in Belgica.
Ambiorix united the Belgic tribes.They were able to resist the Romans for a few years, but were wiped out eventually by the 50.000 soldiers Caesar had sent out.
It is said that Ambiorix and a couple of his men have been able to escape and cross the river Rhine ... he was never seen again.

Caesar nevertheless paid tribute to the heroic resistance by Ambiorix ... In his "De Bello Gallico" - the story about his battles in Gaul - he wrote: "...Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae..." - "Of these, the Belgae are the bravest".

National hero
Then everyone forgot about Ambiorix until somewhere in the 19th century.
When Belgium became an independant nation in 1830, the government needed a national hero. They went digging in history and stumbled upon the famous line by Caesar ... and the national hero was found ...

Ambiorix and Tongeren
There is no real physical proof anymore that Ambiorix indeed lived in Tongeren.
Everything historians know is based on the writing by Caesar himself. He referred to the 'scene of the action' as Atuatuca. Since Tongeren was called 'Atuatuca Tungrorum' in Roman times, they deducted this as being the place where Ambiorix llived.

His statue was placed here in Tongeren on September 5th 1866 in the presence of King Leopold II.
The statue is made of bronze and is placed on a pedestal. It weighs 1.100 kilos and is 3,90 metres high (measured from the pedestal).

In 2005 Ambiorix was among the people that were in the running getting the title 'The greatest Belgian' (De Grootste Belg) ... In Flemish edition he ended at the 4th place, in the Walloon one he was 50th.

As a national hero, it's only normal that he and his name are commonly used for all sorts of things in Belgium. He features in comic books and has bars, shops and even a brand of shoes named after him.

There are several other cities claiming Ambiorix to having lived there ... Well, we've got him and we're keeping him ... :-)

Recent/future travels

2015 - so far - took us for a week to Austria (yes, Saalfelden again) over the kids' Easter holidays.
Although it was a last minute decision to go (called on thursday, left on sunday), we had a lovely week. There was still plenty of snow, so the kids took some skiing lessons ...
Further more we have 2 weeks planned in August in ... yes ... again Saalfelden.
And as of last week we are thinking of re-visiting the lovely Iceland again end of October for little over a week ...

Yeah, we've got the flights booked for a trip to Canada next summer ... !
We'll be visiting the western part of the country.
So the 19th visit to Saalfelden will be pushed back for a year, but all for "a good cause" obviously ... ;-)

We returned for a second visit to the wonderful Iceland in march/april of 2013.
An 18th visit to pension Kellerer in Saalfelden am Steinernen Meer took place for 15 days in august.
Furthermore we have visited the Belgian coast for a couple of days in november.

We went on our 17th visit to Saalfelden am Steinernen Meer in Austria.
In 2012 we've also been to the wonderful Iceland ... for the first but certainly not for the last time !
Furhter more we've been to Strasbourg and surroundings for a long weekend.
We've also visited the Belgian coast for a couple of days.

"The territory beyond"

When on holiday - or just driving in our own country - we always like to take roads we have never been/driven on.
By doing so, we often drive a long detour, but we don't mind doing that. That way you often come to places you would otherwise never get to.
Our plan sometimes goes like this: drive in this or that direction ... we'll take the f.i. the 8th exit ... then turning to the left ... and to the right on the next crossing ... and doing this without knowing upfront where it will lead us to ...
We used to jokingly call this "the territory beyond" once ... and this remained stuck with us until today ...

In Iceland my husband regularly asked me to look on the map to find a road we hadn't driven on before ... 80 kms detour: no problem ... We ended up in remote places, but with the most beautiful views ...

So when it comes to driving an extra stretch, we're always up for it !
During our travels, this has taken us to some beautiful/spectacular places ... so we never regretted doing it that way.

  • Intro Updated May 15, 2015
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