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Posts from the ‘Belgium’ category

November: I Am Going Home

Brugges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

And when the day arrives I’ll become the sky and I’ll become the sea and the sea will come to kiss me, for I am going home. Nothing can stop me now.

Trent Raznor

To me, November is everything about the home. We are preparing our homes for the shorter days and longer dark nights; settling in so to speak with a good book and a cup of cocoa in front of the fire. November is also all about the family and food and sharing. So through November I will share tidbits about the home and some fascinating photos of homes around the world. Enjoy!

Triple Treat in Belgium

Damme, Belgium

Along the Canal at Damme, Belgium

Doesn’t the picture above just convey what you dreamed the Netherlands would look like? It does to me and I was not disappointed! Today we are having a triple treat! We are taking the “Triple Treat Bus Tour,” offered by Quasimodo Tours. The day is overcast with occasional wind gusts and blowing rain, but nothing dampens our tour out into the countryside of Brugge. The Triple Treat Tour  features several country homes, the village of Damme, the oldest gothic buildings in Flanders at the former monastery at Ter Doest, where we will have lunch, a tour of a chocolate factory, and last stop, a beer brewery! We are in for a day of fun which started when the  Quasimodo Guides picked us up at our B&B and took us to the bus waiting for us in the town square.

The bus takes us out into “Burbs” of Brugge. Then down this narrow lane and deep into the wood, passing the grazing cows we come to the moated castle of Tillegem.

Through the Woods and Down a Narrow Lane!

Through the Woods and Down a Narrow Lane!

The Cows in the Country at Tillegem, Belgium

The Cows in the Country at Tillegem, Belgium

Had to take a picture of the cows! And now for the Castle of Tillegem! Baldwin, the Iron Arm, first count of Flanders, constructed a wooden tower surrounded by battlements where the castle now stands.  Since 1980 the castle and beautiful park has been the property of the province of West Flanders.  I had to take a picture of the castle from every angle!  The castle is not open to visitors.

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

Next we drove to the neo-gothic Chateau of Loppem, full of artwork and other treasures! Built between 1859 and 1862 for Baron Charles Van Caloen and his family, the castle’s original architecture and interior decoration is remarkably well preserved.  The park and castle are owned by the Jean van Caloen Foundation and is open to the public. I took so many pictures inside here, but they were dark, fuzzy and not too good.  Trust me when I say this home was a delight to see.

Chateau of Loppem, Belgium

Chateau of Loppem, Belgium

Chateau of Loppem, Belgium

Chateau of Loppem, Belgium

It’s now pouring and really gusty as we get to Ter Doest!

Lambert, Lord of Lissewege, donated land to the Benedictus friers in 1106, to build a priory. In 1270 the Benedictines left and the Cistercienzers Order, who had ties to the Templer Knights, took over. In 1172, Richard, the Lionheart, one of my relatives, was captured by Leopold of Austria on his return from the Crusades. It is said that the abbot of Ter Doest paid the larger part of the ransom in order to get Richard out of prison. It is assumed he came to Ter Doest for a time after his release. He was in fact in Damme, where we are headed later today.

The gothic barn, built around 1280, is the largest remaining barn of its kind, and was used to store crops. In 1308 the barn and abbey were confiscated during protestant religious wars, so the farm we see today was built from the debris of the destroyed abbey. Today a lovely restaurant and B&B also sit on this site! Let’s go have lunch!

The Restaurant at Ter Doest, Belgium

The Restaurant at Ter Doest, Belgium

The Old Barn at Ter Doest, Belgium

The Old Barn and ArtWork at Ter Doest, Belgium

Artwork at Ter Doest, Belgium

Artwork at Ter Doest, Belgium

After our great lunch at Ter Doest, we made our way to Damme.  Situated right along the river Reie, the river has now been canalized into the long , straight, tree-lined and picturesque Damse Vaart Canal from Brugge, just 6 kilometers away, to the Dutch border in Sluis. This makes a great bike trip from the city. Even though it was raining and windy there were bikers doing just that!  We all met up in Damme! What exquisite scenery!

Picure Perfect Along the Canal in Damme, Belgium

Picture Perfect Along the Canal in Damme, Belgium

A Windmill Along the Canal in Damme, Belgium

A Windmill Along the Canal in Damme, Belgium

The town is a favorite venue for eating and a destination for boat trips. It is also known for being a great “book town” with numerous bookshops and regular book fairs! Just so nice to explore too!

The Village of Damme, Belgium

The Village of Damme, Belgium

The Village of Damme, Belgium

The Village of Damme, Belgium

Wrought Iron Sculptured Art in Domme, Belgium

Wrought Iron Sculptured Art in Damme, Belgium

Our next stop was the tour of a Belgium Chocolate factory, but sad to say I was addicted to the Dumon’s Chocolates, and wanted to wait it out until evening to stock up on my favorites. Finally, our last stop back in Brugge, was The Fort Lapin Brewery. There was a variety of Belgium Beers to taste (included in price of tour) but my hand must have been busy holding those pints because I didn’t get any pictures! What a fabulous tour! Be sure to check Quasimodo Tours in Belgium.  Enjoy!

The Begijnhof of Brugge, Belgium

The Meadow Woods of the Begijhof

The Meadow Woods of the Begijnhof

Before 1240 a community of pious women settled in an area of south  Brugge in a low- lying meadow or vineyard. These lay women called Beguines, spent their lives in piety and service without taking the vows that a nun would. Due to war and military fatalities there were more women than men in the medieval low lying countries. The order of Beguines offered women (often single or widowed) a dignified place to live and work.  When the order died out many towns took over the begijnhofs for subsidized housing. Believe me when I say you could be so lucky to live in one of the small subsidized cottages of the Begijnhof of Brugge. Today we are strolling from the town square through the curved portals of buildings delving further and further into the neighborhoods of Brugge. 

Walk Past the Little Market on the Way to the Begijhof

Walk Past the Little Market on the Way to the Begijnhof

I Loved These Trees Along our Walk!

I Loved These Trees Along our Walk!

Beautiful Pots of Hostas Along the Way!

Beautiful Pots of Hostas at the Pink House!

Tiny Statuaries Everywhere Along Our Path

Tiny Statuaries Everywhere Along Our Path

Statuaries in Tiny Courtyards

Headless Statuaries in Tiny Courtyards Along the Way

We get further from the town center! I feel like I’m in the country!

Picturesque Church in Brugge, Belgium

Walking Along Canal to Begijnhof in Brugge, Belgium

A Stroll to Reach the Begijnhof, Brugge, Belgium

A Neigborhood Stroll to Reach the Begijnhof, Brugge, Belgium

We pass over the three-arched stone bridge, the Wijngaard Bridge,  to the main gated entrance. Here is a large beautiful meadow and a complex of thirty white stoned gothic buildings dating from the 16th through the 18th centuries, built around a central yard.

An Image of the Holy Elizabeth of Hungary, Patron Saint of the Beguinages

An Image of the Holy Elizabeth of Hungary, Patron Saint of the Beguinages

The Gardens in Begijnhof

The Gardens in Begijnhof

Garden Courtyards of the Begijnhof

Garden Courtyards of the Begijnhof

Beautiful Artwork for Meditation and Prayer in the Begijnhof

Beautiful Artwork for Meditation and Prayer in the Begijnhof

The Retirement Homes in Begijnhof

The Retirement Homes in Begijnhof

Aren’t these just the cutest places to live?

The Houses of Begijnhof

The Houses of Begijnhof

Just follow the garden paths!

Beautiful Gardens to See, Begijnhof

Beautiful Gardens to See, Begijnhof

A Woman Calls to Us From Her Rooftop Sanctuary, Begijnhof, Brugge

A Woman Calls to Us From Her Rooftop Sanctuary, Begijnhof, Brugge

Notice the sweet little heart above her head? Another memorable day in Brugge! I hope you enjoyed our walk through the Begijnhof!

Another Church Along Our Walk in Brugge

Our Final Church Along Our Walk Home in Brugge

The Best Bits of Eats in Brugge, Belgium

 

Our Morning Stroll Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Our Morning Stroll Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

One of the best experiences when traveling is finding the neighborhood eateries off the beaten path. We like to eat in the neighborhoods we lodge in. It is the best way to meet the locals and enjoy the sit-down-and-focus-on-your-new-friend experience. In our neighborhood, near the B&B Gastenhuis Sint-Andriescruyse, we found two pubs/cafes that we enjoyed very much for their ambiance, simple meals and world-class beers.

First let’s take our morning stroll in the neighborhood!

Our Daily Walk Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

Our Daily Walk Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

The Cafe Terrastje was just the cozy-pub-spot where you could enjoy a meal or drink inside or outside at the terrace overlooking the canal. Isn’t this the quaintest of buildings?  Who could resist coming in here?

Cafe Terrastje, Brugge, Belgium

Cafe Terrastje, Brugge, Belgium

Herberg Vlissinghe was another pub close by and the oldest pub in town, dating 1515. It has the best old-time tavern feel and the garden for outside dining comes with a boules court. Both of these small pubs served the best simple, but delicious meals.

Herberg Vlissinghe, Brugge, Belgium

Herberg Vlissinghe, Brugge, Belgium

Let’s get back to our walk through Brugge. I just love strolling among the quiet streets and homes! There are always spots of color and flowers tucked in everywhere! So many different textures and styles to admire!

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

I loved this little green door! It must be a girl’s house!

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

As we reached the town center it’s time for a bathroom break. These were the beautifully sculptured, flowering bushes, that were designed to create one long rolling WAVE! Absolutely delightful and right in front of the public restrooms!

The Rolling Wave Flowering Bush, Brugge, Belgium

The Rolling Wave Flowering Bush, Brugge, Belgium

The Artwork in Brugge, Belgium

The Green Lanterns,  Artwork in Brugge, Belgium

The Mermaid, Brugge, Belgium

The Mermaid, Brugge, Belgium

The Sidewalk Cafe, Brugge, Belgium

The Sidewalk Cafe, Brugge, Belgium

Strolling in Brugge, Belgium

Strolling in Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Time for a chocolate break! Dumon Chocolate was our daily pick for treats! Madame Dumon and her children greet you in her tiny, always packed, chocolate shop. They make their chocolates daily and describe their chocolates in person, no labels here! We always left with a little box of assorted out-of-this-world flavors!

Dumons Chocolate Shop, Brugge, Belgium

Dumons Chocolate Shop, Brugge, Belgium

Our favorite restaurant in Old Town was without question, The Flemish Pot. The ambiance of red-cloth table covers and potted flowers everywhere just made you relax and set the mood to truly enjoy your meal. We enjoyed the local recipe for the beef stew pot!

The Flemish Pot, Brugge, Belgium

The Flemish Pot, Brugge, Belgium

I could live in that tiny room at the top!

Another Look at the Flemish Pot, Brugge, Belgium

Another Look at the Flemish Pot, Brugge, Belgium

Artwork Everywhere, Brugge, Belgium

Artwork Everywhere, Brugge, Belgium

A riot of color and texture everywhere!

Close Up of Shop Window, Brugge, Belgium

Close Up of Shop Window, Brugge, Belgium

Quiet Morning Street, Brugge, Belgium

Quiet Morning Street, Brugge, Belgium

Near City Hall, Brugge, Belgium

Near City Hall, Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

One of the Churches in Brugge, Belgium

One of the Churches in Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Strolling Through Brugge, Belgium

Well we’ve made the rounds for today!  Back to the neighborhood pubs! Enjoy your day in Brugge!

Town Square, Brugge, Belgium

Town Square, Brugge, Belgium

The Best Bits of Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

It’s a beautiful day for a walk through Brugge!   We’re starting out from the Huis Sint-Andriescruyse , a traditional gabled B&B in the old town of Brugge.  Situated right along the canal the house is in the long, narrow, dutch design, with the steep, curvy, staircase to the upper rooms overlooking the garden. Our hosts, Luc and Christiane, made us most welcome to their home and I loved being able to lodge inside one of these distinctive homes.  Out the door, just walking along the canal, I was quite content! History abounds in the WWI Flanders Fields nearby and the monuments are easily reachable by car or bus tours from Brugge. I have written extensive posts on these cemeteries and tours so check those out too. But, today we are out for a lovely walk through town. I enjoyed the canals, architecture, gardens, pubs and restaurants! First, we will stroll along the canal. As usual be sure to look up! You don’t want to miss anything! Enjoy!

THE STAIRS in a Traditional Dutch Gable , Brugge Belgium

THE STAIRS in a Traditional Dutch Gable, Brugge, Belgium

The Bear is Huge! What a welcome for guests!

The Canals in Bruge, Belgium

The Canals in Brugge, Belgium

Crow Stepped Gabled House, Brugge, Belgium

Crow Stepped Gabled House, Brugge, Belgium

Crow Stepped Gabled House, Brugge, Belgium

Crow Stepped Gabled House, Brugge, Belgium

Crow-stepped gabled houses are staircase designed projections above roof lines used as decoration and an easy way to finish off the brick of the house. This extensive architecture was quite common in medieval Belgium. Most of the homes in the Old Town are of this design. I like the artwork at the tippy tops!

Canal Walk of Brugge, Belgium

Canal Walk of Brugge, Belgium

Brugge Architecture

Brugge Architecture Along the Canal

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Picture Perfect Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

 

Canal Running Right Through the Middle of the Old Town, Brugge, Belgium

Canal Running Right Through the Middle of the Old Town, Brugge, Belgium

Look Up and in Between Walls!

Look Up and in Between Walls!

This Home is Mapped Out on the Wall

This Home is Mapped Out on the Wall

The Artist Studio, Brugge, Belgium

The Artist Studio, Brugge, Belgium

Old Lanterns, Brugge, Belgium

Old Lantern, Brugge, Belgium

Iron Works, Brugge, Belgium

Iron Works, Brugge, Belgium

Iron Works, Brugge, Belgium

Iron Works, Brugge, Belgium

The Swann Hotel, Brugge, Belgium

The Swann Hotel, Brugge, Belgium

The Gardens Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

The Gardens Along the Canal, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Right Under the House, Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

What a Lovely Garden Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

Along the Canals, Brugge, Belgium

The Swans Aswimming in Bruge, Belgium

The Swans Aswimming in Brugge, Belgium

Tomorrow we will go in a different direction through Old Town.  See you there!

Photography 101: Day 12, Architecture

I LOVE ARCHITECTURE! I am always amazed by texture, shapes, curves, color, and style. These are my pictures for today, all taken in Bruges, Belgium, a great city for architecture!

Part of our assignment was to convert a picture to black and white to bring out the features of the architecture.

Stonework in Black and White, Bruges, Belgium

Stonework in Black and White, Bruges, Belgium

I always look for unusual ironwork and lighting fixtures when I travel. It can be very intricate, as shown here.

Fancy Lighting, Bruges, Belgium

Fancy Ironwork , Bruges, Belgium

This picture reveals great architecture in the buildings, stonework and ironwork. I was lucky to get all three in one shot! First the picture in color, and following, the same picture in black and white.

Buildings, Stonework, and Lighting, in Bruges Belgium

Buildings, Stonework, and Lighting, in Bruges Belgium

Black and White, Buildings, Stonework, and Lighting, in Bruges Belgium

Black and White, Buildings, Stonework, and Lighting, in Bruges Belgium

I particularly like to photograph unusual buildings arranged at odd angles. This was the beautiful restaurant called the Vlaamsche Pot. The architecture drew me to it, but in addition, the food was fabulous! Notice the lighting sconce?  The pops of color?  Throw in foliage and bicycles! Perfect!

Vlaamsche Pot Restaurant, Bruges, Belgium

Vlaamsche Pot Restaurant, Bruges, Belgium

Photography 101: Day 11, Pop of Color

I love RED! So here is the Pop of Color for today’s challenge. Enjoy!

Old Windmill, Bruges, Belgium

Old Windmill, Bruges, Belgium

Old Barn at Ter Doest Monastery, Belgium

Old Barn at Ter Doest Monastery, Belgium

Photography 101: Day 8, The Natural World

Natural Beauty at it’s finest! I love the colors, texture, shapes and design of God’s handiwork! Enjoy!

The Natural World, Flora in Bruges, Belgium

The Natural World, Flora in Bruges, Belgium

Photography 101, Day 6, Connect; In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields

“The “Soldiers” graves are the greatest preacher of Peace” (Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)

Thanks to a fellow blogger I met on WordPress, I was introduced to online courses from FutureLearns and Open University. I was very interested in the course WWI: Trauma and Memory, which I started lasted week. The course is free and includes videos, lectures, pictures and stories of what the men endured in WWI. The course has been a real eye opener and one of the best aspects of the course has been the interaction with other students through their comments after every session. I have gleaned even more information from the students’ comments. As a Critical Care Registered Nurse, myself, this course has been significant in studying how the term  “Shell Shock” has  progressed to now what we know as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. We are learning how mental trauma was defined and treated in WWI and the lasting effects it had on the men and their families after returning home from the war. The millions of lives that were lost in the war was just one part of it. The men returning with severe injuries and mental trauma were another. The effect on the general population of all countries involved was another. 

I am not fond of bus excursions. However, during our trip to Bruges, Belgium my husband really wanted to tour Flanders Fields and our best option was a group tour on a bus with Quasimodo Tours. It was the best bus tour we have ever taken. It concentrated on the Battlefields of the Ypres Salient. We toured German and Allied Cemeteries, the Hooge Crater Museum, (a must if you are in the area), bunkers and craters, and the field dressing station of John McCrae, author of the famous poem, In Flanders Fields, the reason why the poppy is so revered. The tour ended at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, memorial to 55,000 missing soldiers and the sacrifice they made. It is also possible to visit an ancestor’s grave if advanced preparations are made. The tour was a very moving experience. I have come full circle with the visit to Flanders Fields and the class. Here are pictures to compare. May we all remember our brave soldiers on this Veteran’s Day!

Chateau Wood Ypres 1917

Flanders Fields, Chateau Wood, Ypres, 1917

Poppy Memorial at a German Cemetery, Flanders Fields

Poppy Memorial at a German Cemetery, Langemark, Flanders Fields

German Cemetery, Flanders Fields

Langemark Cemetery, Flanders Fields

The Front bogged down in Flanders Fields on November 11, 1914 until the end of the war in 1918. One  22 day battle was fought with German troops made up of poorly trained volunteers, students, and apprentices, many as young as 13.  The Volkbund, (The German War Graves Commission), was created after the war to lay out and construct Langemark Cemetery, just one of the German Cemeteries, collecting funds by grants from Germany and relient on donations to maintain this special site. In Germany the site became known as the Students Cemetery. To this day, it is still maintained by students  from several countries, who volunteer to maintain it. 44,304 victims lie here.

Memorial at Passchendale, Flanders Fields

Allied Memorial at Passchendale, Flanders Fields

Hooge Crater 1915, Flanders Fields

Hooge Crater 1915, Flanders Fields

Miles and miles of tunnels were built in order to blow up opposing sides. This crater was the aftermath of blowing up the village of Hooge.

Shell Casings are Still Dug up from the Farm Fields

Shell Casings are Still Dug up from the Farm Fields of Flanders

Shell casings and explosives are still found 100 years after the war. They are left by the roadside for ordinance men to pick up after the explosives are determined safe to do so.

Memorial at Hooge Crater, Flanders Fields

Memorial at Hooge Crater, Flanders Fields

The Hooge Crater Museum was opened by Roger and Rosita de Smul in 1994 in a renovated chapel and small school on the Ypres-Menin Road. Since then the museum has expanded several times and now holds many of the finest WWI collections in the area. It contains a unique collection of First World War uniforms, displays and military artefacts.

Since Roger’s retirement in 2008 the museum is under the management of Nick and Ilse. The museum and café have undergone redevelopment and it is one of the finest museums for remembrance of the First World War in the Flanders area.

Decorative Shell Casings in the Hooge crater Museum, Flanders Fields

Decorative Shell Casing Art in the Hooge Crater Museum, Flanders Fields

Graves, Flanders Fields

Graves, Flanders Fields

Rows and Rows of Graves, Flanders Fields

Rows and Rows of Graves, Flanders Fields

Australian Infantry, Small Box Respirators, Ypres 1917

Australian Infantry, Small Box Respirators, Ypres 1917

Hill 60, Flanders Fields

Hill 60, Flanders Fields

 

Memorial at Hill 60, Flanders Fields

Memorial at Hill 60, Flanders Fields

Hill 60, Flanders Fields, Belgium

Walk to Hill 60, Flanders Fields, Belgium

Bunker, Flanders Fields

Bunker, Flanders Fields

Trenches in Flanders Fields 31July1917

Trenches in Flanders Fields, 31 July 1917

Field Dressing Bunkers, Flanders Fields

Field Dressing Bunkers, Flanders Fields

 

Bunker, Flanders Fields

Bunker, Flanders Fields

Battle of Menin Road, Wounded at Side of the Road

Battle of Menin Road, Wounded at Side of the Road

The Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium

The final stop of the tour is The Menin Gate Memorial, located at the eastern exit of the town of Ypres and marks the starting point for one of the main roads out of the town that led Allied soldiers to the front line. The Last Post Ceremony is held under the gate everyday at 8pm. It is a ceremony you will never forget.

Photography 101, Day 5, Solitary

Solitary, one grave among thousands in Belgium. This was taken near Ypres, Belgium. For the story of Flanders Fields and the Red Poppy look here. As Veteran’s Day approaches let us Remember our veterans.

Photography 101: Solitary; A Solitary Grave in Flanders Fields, Ypres, Belgium

Photography 101: Solitary; A Solitary Grave in Flanders Fields, Ypres, Belgium

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