Tag Archives: cathedral

Awesome Aachen – Part 1

After a 2-hour drive, Lars and I arrived in Aachen last Monday. After a bit of rest in our hotel, we went to the centre of town, to have some dinner. We chose a restaurant quite close to the Aachen Cathedral, called Rose am Dom.

We felt quite at home in the rustic but cosy interior. The menu features mainly regional specialties, which are reasonably priced.

I have to admit that don’t like pork, but I will make an exception for a well-prepared schnitzel, which is fried breaded pork filet. Lars, on the other hand, went for a Wienerschnitzel, which is fried breaded pork or veal filet, traditionally served with lemon and anchovy.

It was still raining when we left the restaurant and the somber clouds didn’t predict any good weather.

We first visited one of Aachen’s most important landmarks, Aachen Cathedral.

This was actually the first site in Germany to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. According to Wikipedia,

Aachen Cathedral (German: Aachener Dom), traditionally known in English as the Cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle, is a Roman Catholic church in Aachen, western Germany. It is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe and was constructed by order of the emperor Charlemagne, who was buried there after his death in 814. For 595 years, from 936 to 1531, the Aachen chapel was the church of coronation for thirty German kings and twelve queens. The church has been the mother church of the Diocese of Aachen since 1802.[1]

The Palatine Chapel has the shape of an octagon and its decorations are breathtaking.

It was our first visit to this cathedral; Lars had never been to Aachen before and I had only visited its Christmas market. We are so happy that we could finally admire this astonishing piece of religious architecture.

Finally, we were back outside, where it was still wet and gloomy.

If you like exploring religious buildings, the nearby Pfarrkirche is also worth a visit, although it lacks the grandeur of its bigger neighbour.

A nearby candy-shop caught our eye…

The shop specialises in the so-called “printen”, a local delicacy, we will talk about in the next part!

An Afternoon in Paris – Photo Essay 1

It should have been a day in Paris, but we had made a terrible mistake when we left our apartment to go to the train station: we hadn’t taken Lars’ passport with us. So, he had to come back home, fetch the document and hurry back to the station. Luckily, we could take a train to Paris an hour later.

Since we arrived around lunchtime and we were both hungry, Lars and I decided to go to a restaurant and have a bite. In Brussels, we seldom go out to eat, because we fully want to enjoy local food and drinks during our travels.

In case you are wondering what we had for lunch, it was smoked buck breast salad with foie gras on toast on top. Foie gras? But isn’t it barbaric how they treat those beautiful birds? Yes, we know, and although we both love animals, I guess Lars and I love food a little bit more.

Anyway, around 1 pm, we left the restaurant.

Now, Lars and I usually don’t visit touristic places. But we make an exception when it concerns a really beautiful, stunning or exceptional landmark, building or monument. And I think that the Notre Dame de Paris is such an exception, especially since Lars had never visited it.

By the way, we had actually planned a completely different excursion. But the evening before we left I found out that that particular venue was closed on Mondays. Of course, this is just an excuse for another trip to Paris, hopefully later this year!

If you want to know all about the history of this medieval cathedral, just click on the link above.

I was immediately attracted by the vivid colours of the stained glass around me. So, I kept on looking up and photographing.

More eye candy coming up in part 2!

Religious Splendour in Alba Iulia

Highly recommended by our travel guide and by the hotel owners, was the city of Alba Iulia. This town used to be the capital of Transylvania in the 16th and 17th century, a glorious past that has left its traces in the citadel, a huge fortress with lots of religious and administrative buildings. If you only have a few hours in Alba Iulia – like we did, better head over there. This is what you see upon your arrival.

We limited our visit to two buildings. The first one is the Orthodox Cathedral, built in the beginning of the 20th century for the coronation of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie. Look up and admire the decorations; the frescoes, paintings and statues are stunning!

The second building we visited was the Roman Catholic cathedral, which originates from the 11th – 13th century. The style is a transition between Romanesque and Gothic.

In general, Lars and I preferred the Orthodox cathedral, probably because it is so different from Belgian and Danish churches and cathedrals. If you like religious architecture, by the way, keep on following the website! Lots more coming up the next weeks!

Lunch in Plzen

A freezing wind welcomes us in Plzen, the place where pilsener beer was born. And since it was almost noon, Lars and I headed to the first restaurant that we saw. We had a refreshing Gambrinus with our tasty meal.

Afterwards, we paid a visit to one of the city’s most important sights, the Gothic St. Bartholomew Cathedral. Founded in the 13th century, it has the highest church tower (102 meters) in the Czech Republic.

The square, where the cathedral stands is also worth a look.

If the weather had been better – especially less cold, Lars and I would have done a lot more exploring, because Plzen is really a charming town. To be revisited!

Photo Essay – The Gem of Reims

 

Ingrid and I have been in this area before, so this time we visited places we somehow ignored the first time. Like the Notre-Dame cathedral of Reims.

The cathedral is one of the most important Gothic buildings in Europe. The interior is overwhelming; the cathedral is 138 m long and 38 m high in the center.

The rose windows – in all the colors of the rainbow – are a real treat for the eyes.

The rose windows were a good occasion for Ingrid to test her new 75 – 300 mm lens. Anyway, this cathedral was built in the 13th century and was the place where many French kings were crowned. Nowadays, it’s one of the most popular touristic attractions of Reims. You can visit the cathedral 7 days a week, from 7.30 to 19.30, except during masses. There is no entrance fee.

A Photographic Walk in Tallinn – Part 1

We loved Lithuania. We loved Latvia. What about Estonia? Would we be lucky a third time? The answer is simple. We fell in love with Estonia immediately.

To be honest, Ingrid and I had a bit of luck. The apartment we had rented in Tallinn, wasn’t available at the time of our arrival, but the owner proposed a more luxurious apartment for the same price. Of course, we accepted. And thus, we found ourselves in the center of the Estonian capital and right opposite one of its best restaurants (but more about that later).

And let’s face it, we could not help but fall in love with the narrow (cobbled) streets and the buildings in pastel colors.

Quite a discovery was the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It dates from the late 19th century and has a richly decorated interior. Ingrid thought it was forbidden to photograph without a flash, but it turned out it was forbidden to take any pictures at all.

After our visit to the Russian Orthodox cathedral, we stumbled upon this viewing platform. I couldn’t handle my fear of heights, luckily Ingrid could.

Even in black and white this city looks so beautiful!

Later this week, I will publish the second part. And yes, the best is yet to come!

Riga and Surroundings: Looking up, The Angry Lady and Some Peace and Quiet

With 700.000 inhabitants, Riga is not only the biggest city of Latvia, but also of the three Baltic countries. Its historical center belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage List, because of all its Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture. The best thing to do while walking around in the city is to … look up and admire the details!

Don’t forget to visit the Dome Square, Riga’s largest square with the best restaurants and bars of town.

And explore the streets around the Dome Square… You never know what you may stumble upon.

Like this beautiful cathedral…

Want to see something completely different in Riga? Go to the Central Market and experience everyday Latvian life. According to the tourist information office of Riga,

The Central Market is one of the largest and oldest in Europe with five food pavilions located inside vast converted Zeppelin hangars. Around and between them, stalls sell everything from clothes to flowers (…).

We were not sure if we were supposed to ask permission to take pictures here, but one of the female owners of the stall did not like it at all!

Afterwards, Ingrid and I wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle – and the heat – in Riga. So, we first went to the coast, to a place called Jürmala, which has a white sandy beach of 33 (!) kilometers long.

Next stop, the parish of Zemite. We stopped here, because the landscape was simply so pretty.

What about Irlava and its Penki Health Spring? According to the tourist information office of Riga:

 The clear water of the Penki Health Spring has high concentration of iron; lime sediments and iron salts are deposited in it, thus the water is nor particularly tasty, but it has been still used for healing purposes since ancient times.

Note: the spring is also used as the local swimming pool.

And the best was yet to come …

 

An Hour in Riga Cathedral

It is one of the landmarks of the Latvian capital and one of the biggest medieval buildings in the Baltic States.

Riga Cathedral is a fine example of Gothic architecture and dates from the beginning of the 13th century. It has one of the biggest pipe organs in the world, which is now undergoing renovation.

Have a look in the courtyard and travel back in time with all the archaeological finds.