08-Apr-2000 -- I first discovered this project while looking for
something else. (I wanted precise info on the location of my home in order
to be able to track satellite passes with the
NASA Liftoff site.)
I found this idea intriguing. I pulled out the
Michelin roadmaps and located the four
Belgian confluences. I realized later there are officially two, because of the
correction for the poles bias problem. Anyway, since none had been visited
yet, I talked my sweetheart Michèle into filling the blanks for our country. A
friend whom we had talked to about the project lent me his GPS (Thanks
again Pierre!) and off we went on a nice Saturday.
Getting there looked easy enough on the map, but a little bit more
challenging near the spot. GPS was indicating that we were close so we
went on foot on a little farm road and across a field until we were blocked
at about 150m from the goal by a creek we could not cross. We had to
get back and search some for the little road that lead us to the confluence.
51N 03E is located in the tiny hamlet of Luikhoek in the West Flanders
province countryside. It is on the edge of the road and a pasture. The last
digit of the GPS reading kept changing so Michèle stayed on the spot where
it (too briefly) read the integer to take its picture.
As we were there, cows gathered across the fence. With a couple of
exceptions they were still all looking at the confluence when I took the picture.
To the north, there was a quaint house, whose landlady briefly showed up at
the gate but turned back when I said Hello. Also, there was... yet another cow.
(Gary "The Far Side" Larson was probably right: cows are an essential
part of the Universe.)
Looking east, the lines of a neatly plowed field mark the parallels leading
to the 51st (and more cows!). Finally, to the south were some greenhouses, the
kind used around here to grow produce.
Delighted with our success, we went on to attempt a visit at 51N 04E.