Travel is about discovery for me — new cultures, food and architecture…sights, sounds and colors. But who expected to find nature’s take on Donald Trump’s penis in a Belgian forest? 

A splash of color from Mother Nature

It all started on a walk through Tervuren Park in Flanders on a December morning. Out of the corner of her eye, my friend Sarah saw a splash of red in a green field.  At first glance, it looked like a piece of plastic, but closer examination revealed a small mushroom that looked like a Mario video game character. It was what I imagined a certain world leader’s personal parts would look like, after hearing the TMI description shared by Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who claimed a romantic frolic in the sheets with a New York billionaire, which he hotly contested.  

My friend and I had a good giggle and carried on with our walk around the lake, but not before I noticed a “45” signpost indicating a walk or cycling “knooppunt” that guides cyclists through Flanders. Was I the only one who found that amusing?  

a dog sitting in grass

The mystical red mushroom was about the size of Daisy’s front paw.

Hunting in Park van Tervuren 

The next day, I returned to the scene of the crime with my friend’s dog, altering my regular route to get another look at the mystical mushroom. 

Tervuren Park  — a must-see side trip on your trip to Brussels — was once the hunting grounds of the Dukes of Brabant. The irony wasn’t lost on me. Here I was hunting for mushrooms.

On day two, I expected the little red projectile to be trampled by animals in the park, but to my surprise, it was still there in its fire-engine red glory. It had opened a bit, losing its distinctive Trump form. I was captivated and sat on the wet ground to capture a few photos.

a mushroom growing in the grass

By day three, the mushroom had flattened and turned orange.

Obsessed by a Mushroom

It was official. I was obsessed. What would the mushroom look like on day three? I wandered back to the park, walking past a magnificent heron and a raft of ducks swimming across the lake. I was focused on just one thing: the return to the red mushroom. It seemed to be the only one in the park. Was I was the only one to discover it? Ah, serendipity.

Day three presented subtle changes with red fading to burnt orange, the round heat flattening.  I was back on the wet ground with my camera.

“It looks like something out of Alice in Wonderland,” said one friend.  

a red mushroom in the grass

A badly fitting “hairpiece” covered the mushroom’s head.

A Frosty Exit

A few days later, a hard frost left the mushroom with a badly fitting, white ice cap reminding me of 45’s hair. Yet, the mushroom still clung to life, brightening up a small corner of the field. I guess I’ll be back again for another look.