It’s always windy here. Of course, there is a difference between a soft summer breeze and a freezing winter wind. But this time I was literally blown away. By the way, have I already told you that during such occasions Lars prefers to stay in the (warm) car?
Anyway, I was impressed by those very dark clouds. I converted some of the pictures to black and white, because it better suited the atmosphere.
What started as a small fishing village, has now become a tourist resort: Wenduine.
Apart from the beach, Wenduine has another place that is worth seeing: the dunes. There aren’t so many of them at the Belgian coast, but these ones happen to be protected. We didn’t get to the dunes though, because the weather was really too bad, so we stayed in the center of the town. There were very few people having a walk on the beach; most were shopping or in a pub.
The Viking and I enjoyed our little escapade to Sweden and Norway very much! We were thrilled to see all these new landscapes, but we were also very happy when we were back on our favorite beach!
We felt emotional about it. It’s hard to explain, but this beach has played an important part in our relationship. We have nothing but good memories here. Even when I had to walk in rain and wind in order to take a picture. Even when I had to struggle through half of meter of snow.
This is our special place. And to make it even more special I made black and white pictures this time. I hope you enjoy them!
The most important cities along the Dyle are (starting from the source) Ottignies, Wavre, Leuven and Mechelen. The latter is often called the ‘Dijlestad’ (Dyle City). The main tributaries of the Dyle are the rivers Demer (in Werchter, Rotselaar municipality), and the Zenne at the Zennegat, on the farthest outskirts of Mechelen, where the canal Leuven-Mechelen also connects. A few hundred metres downstream, the confluence of the Dyle and the Nete at Rumst forms the river Rupel which 12 km further comes into the Scheldt on which the Antwerp seaport is located. The Dyle used to be navigable for small ships from Werchter on, although nowadays commercial and pleasure navigation is limited to Mechelen, the upper locks at Mechelen being closed for navigation.
I have some very good memories of the Dijle in Leuven/Louvain. When I was studying at university, a friend of mine used to live close to the river. I still remember our walks along the Dyle, talking about a lot of stuff, that had nothing to do with our studies! If I am not mistaken, her mother still lives in that same neighborhood. At some point, there is even a watermill, that nowadays has been turned into a pub.
I took some black and white pictures of the Dijle, near the béguinage. I like the contrast between the new life in nature and the old, sometimes abandoned buildings.
I have very fond memories of Louvain, because of my years at its university and because I lived there for about 12 years afterwards. And the béguinage is one of my favorite places there. If you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy town, this is the place to be.
This béguinage is one of the biggest of Belgium and originates from the 13th century. It’s located to the south of the center of Louvain. There are a couple of houses which date from the 16th century, most are from the 17th century; all have been restored in the 20th century. Nowadays, most of the inhabitants are either students or people who work at the university.
Louvain’s béguinage is a perfect example of a mini-town. All the houses are grouped along streets and not around a central square (like the béguinage in Lier). There is also a church and a couple of very small parks. In total, there are about 10 streets here; most of them are cobbled which adds to the charm. The local river, called Dijle, flows through the béguinage as well, but I will dedicate a separate post to it.
The evening before The Viking and I visited Prague, I decided to have a look at our travel guide. We had agreed that The Viking would show me around in the city, but a little bit of extra research doesn’t hurt, does it? That’s how I discovered that there was some truth in this legend about the Golem of Prague.
You see, the rabbi who is mentioned in the legend, was actually a real person. His name was Judah Loew ben Bezalel and he lived in the 16th century. And he wasn’t only a rabbi, but also an important scholar and philosopher as well. Last but not least, he was a prominent mystic and some people even believed he had magical powers and spread stories about them. That’s probably how the legend originated.
And … you can still visit the rabbi’s grave in Prague! He is buried at the Old Jewish cemetery in the Jewish Quarter, not far from Charles Bridge. The only problem is that you can only visit it in combination with a handful of synagogues and a museum. And the ticket for this is not exactly cheap. So, we decided not to disturb the rabbi in his eternal sleep and to take some random shots of the Jewish Quarter. But what an exciting thought that this person was actually real and that after many centuries you can still visit his grave!
Charles Bridge was constructed in the 14th – 15th century and was for a long time the only connection between Prague Castle and the rest of Prague. Its name comes from the person who ordered its construction, King Charles IV. According to Wikipedia:
The bridge is 516 meters long and nearly 10 meters wide, resting on 16 arches shielded by ice guards. It is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side. The Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas.
Despite the big mass of tourists and vendors, I liked it immediately. Correction: I loved it! The Viking had already seen the bridge before and was very happy to be back here. The statues of the saints and the views are simply magnificent!
Photographing the backroads of Europe, exploring beauty and enjoying life at our own pace