Friday, March 31, 2017

Delta Works

Gail and Helen remained on the ship while Tony and I visited the massive engineering works that comprise the Delta Works.
We had visited just 8 months ago but it is such an impressive undertaking!

Just a few photos to remind you of the scale of this engineering masterpiece.

                               This is engineering at a scale that is difficult to comprehend.

                                       The barrier can cut off the entire river from surge tides.

                               When we visited the seas were calm and the tide was going out.

                        This is under the roadway. The moveable barrier is on the right hand side.

This is looking back so that the steel barrier is on the left. The North Sea is on the left of the photo.


In the centre of Ghent you can look in any direction and see wonderful scenes of historic buildings. It is one of the finest cities of Belgium and indeed Europe.
We needed to go from our Industrial dock to the centre. Once there there are just so many sights. The churches and cathedrals, the guild halls and public buildings as well as sculptures and frescos. There are also modern buildings although the locals don't seem to appreciate them.

                                                                  A city of beauty.

The old and the new live happily alongside each other. The locals say why spend all this money on a new building that we don't need! More about this to follow!

Some locals say that this building is just a roof! "What purpose does it serve" they ask. It does provide for an interesting contrast and for debate.

                                 Sometimes the beauty is in the detail such as this fresco.

The Cathedral is not as large as the one in Antwerp and does not have the number of works by Rubens. It does house many art works including the famous Alter piece by Van Eyck.

                                                  Sculpture in the Cathedral


The Van Eyck was closed at the time we visited but we did see it last year.  Check our blog from last July. This is a copy!

Down in the crypt there were displays including some of the lace worn by the Bishops.

                                             Ghent and Bruges are famous for their lace.

We returned in the afternoon and it was like a different city. The sun was out and so were the locals.

Look at the difference in the sky. We climbed this belltower..some of the way in an elevator!

                                          This dragon once lived on the roof of the tower!

The views were what the climb is all about and we had a sunny afternoon.

                                                   Sun worshippers at the Cathedral!

                                 And they also have a castle. What a great place to visit!

These two photas show the same area in the morning and the afternoon. What a contrast.

There is a lot more to this city so just a few contrasting photos to finish.

                                                          You can buy a money dress!

                                                            Drink this beer if you are game!

                                                  possibly at The Hotsy Totsy

                                                                    or the Missy Sippy!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Antwerp Antics

We are back in Antwerp city of diamonds. We loved the old buildings and rich history of this city. In the twelfth century it was the leading world power and head of the Hansiatic league. The riches can still be seen today.
We walked up from our mooring. Spring has arrived and the heavily pruned trees are about to burst into leaf and flower.

The trees and buildings are an interesting contrast. See the detail of the building in the next photo.

We walked up to the old castle. It is called the Steen ( or stone ) as it is the first stone building in the city. Built in the 9th century it is the oldest. Sitting on the Scheldt River it is all that remains of the early fortifications.

At the front of the castle stands a giant called Long Pete who protected the city..sort of!

This is not a church but the butchers guild hall. They were very rich and powerful and enjoyed a trade monopoly.

The main square has the Cathedral, the town hall (pictured) and many guild houses. It had structural work underway as they prepared for the Tour de Flanders. Still it was stunning. Will picture some of the details.

The Flemish name for Antwerp is translated as Throwing the hand. It is a long tale of giants and brave soldiers and hands and heads being cut off and more. This is the severed hand being thrown!

A row of guild houses in the main square. Details of symbols follow.

The Town Hall is the most impressive. A spectacular site.

                                                  Close ups from the front of the building.

The Cathedral is also considered a masterpiece. Its tower dominates the city and the interior is rich in art works by Rubens and others along with stained glass and much more.

Art works in the cathedral. You can check out the four Rubens!

Stained glass.

Masterpiece in timber!

Stained glass window.

and detail.

Checking out the other culture of Belgium.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Nijmegen:The oldest town in The Netherlands

We loved our trip to Nijmegen last year and did not expect to be back so soon. It is a great place to visit with its rich history. It is considered to be the oldest settlement in The Netherlands although some point out that the Romans granted city status to Maastricht before Nijmegen. The sort of rivalry that goes on in most countries!

                                            We travel light so only needed our backpack!

Our first view was across the water to the bridge. Something reminded us of Sydney.

We walked along the pedestrian street with interesting shops and very old buildings.

This is the accommodation that we used previously. We sat in the room that projected over the street to watch the passing parade!

This is the focal point of the main square. The detail on the building was elaborate.

St Stevens church dominates the town and can be seen above the old buildings.

We remembered this old pub and an enjoyable visit. Alas it was closed so Tony and I had a pretend beer. We returned in the afternoon for the real thing including a local beer.

We made do with coffee. The cake is Nijmegenaartje...a Nijmegen hazelnut tart! Delicious.

On the hillside are the remains of the old castle. Originally from Charlemagne and rebuilt by Barbarossa. Only this section of a chapel and the church remain.

It is a most unusual church being octagonal. The only one of its kind in Western Europe.

We had a great day with a few beers in the oldest pub in Nijmegen but the fourth oldest in the country. We sailed a little after 6pm and watched the country side slip by as we enjoyed happy hour and later dinner.