Flanders Journals

In Flanders' Fields

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A January 2003 trip to Flanders by zabelle

Bruges Photo, Flanders, Belgium More Photos
Quote: Flanders is the northern Flemish-speaking part of Belgium. It includes the art cities of Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp. "IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row" Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders' Fields

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Overview

Bruges Photo, Flanders, Belgium
Quote:
To understand Flanders, you need to understand a little about its history. History here began in the 9th century, when the First Count of Flanders Baldwin Iron Arm built a castle at the junction of the Leie and Lieve Rivers as a defense against the marauding Norsemen. Flanders became an independent fief owing fealty to the King of France. France was much too busy with its own internal problems to pay much attention to Flanders. It thrived on its independence in the north. The cloth that was produced in Flanders was highly valued all over Europe. This very wealth brought it back to the attention of the French. A strategic marriage between Phillipa of Hainault and Edward III of England turne...Read More

Van Hercke Cottages

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Hotel | "Van Hercke Cottages"

Van Hercke Cottages Photo, Flanders, Belgium
Quote:
Plan to fall in love with this bed-and-breakfast. You won’t be the first to do so, as the journals in each of the cottages attest. Ingrid came out to greet us as soon as we pulled into the driveway. For first-time visitors, this may be a little hard to find, but look for the wrought-iron sign with the water witch. Accommodations are provided in typical Flemish cottages. One is attached to the back of Ingrid and Daniel’s house, and the other is free-standing. We had the Blue cottage, and Joe and Bob had the Green cottage. The cottages have an open floor plan, with tile floors and beautiful wall hangings as headboards. Each of the king-size beds can be separated into tw...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 19, 2005

Van Hercke Cottages
Meerskant 18
Laarne, Belgium
+32 (0)92304128

Cafe Rouge

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Restaurant | "Café Rouge-Kortrijk"

Cafe Rouge Photo, Kortrijk, Belgium
Quote:
There is something about stopping for a cup of warm tea on a cold winter’s afternoon that leaves an indelible impression on your psyche. I can still remember the wonderful ambiance of this delightful café. Everything is bright, crisp and modern. This is not your soft pastel cafe; this is black, white and red used to the best advantage. Everything is beautifully presented. The tea comes slices of cake and chocolates. The teacups had strainers for the loose tea and covers to keep the tea warm. We were immediately enchanted. Around us were groups of all different ages, seniors, families wit...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 19, 2005

Cafe Rouge
Sint-Maartenskerkhof, 6A
Kortrijk, Belgium 8500
+32 (56) 25 86 03

GLORIOUS GHENT

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Story/Tip

Canal in Ghent Photo, Flanders, Belgium
Quote:
As an English-history buff, I longed to visit Ghent, the birthplace of one of my favorite Plantagenets, John of Gaunt. This was my second visit and I was still fascinated. Though often overshadowed by its more-famous and romantic neighbor Bruges, Ghent has much to offer in its own right. Ghent is second to none in the area of art. If you long to see some of the best art that the Low Countries have to offer, Ghent is a must-stop. ARTS The first stop of any art lover has to be Sint Bafe’s (Bavo) Cathedral. Van Eykes’ "The Mystic Lamb" has to be classified as a national treasure. It draws thousands to Ghent every year. It is perhaps the finest piece of...Read More

Magnificent Mechelen

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Story/Tip

Walking the street Photo, Flanders, Belgium
Quote:
We chose Mechelen to visit because of the wonderful art that is on display in their churches. While doing my research I came across the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance and I have to admit that it was one of the most moving and gut wrenching places I have ever visited. if you can only visit one place in Mechelen make it this museum.MUSEUMS Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance Goswin de Stassartstraat 153 May 10, 1940, is a day that will remain in the Belgian psyche forever; it is the day Hitler invaded Belgium. Beyond the obvious trauma this caused was the Nazi obsession with the final solution. This museum documents the course that this phil...Read More

Kortrijk-FLANDERS FRIENDLIEST CITY

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Story/Tip

Belfry Photo, Flanders, Belgium
Quote:
Kortrijk/Coutrai will always have a place in the hearts of all the Flemish. It was here in July of 1302 that the impossible happened; the French army made up of knights was defeated by the townspeople. This was the first time that this had ever happened anywhere. It was called The Battle of the Golden Spurs. After the battle, the Flemish, unaware of the usual policy of ransoming the survivors, killed any knights who hadn’t already died. After collecting all the Golden Spurs, they hung them in the Church of Our Lady. Reports vary from 500 to 900 pairs but obviously many very importa...Read More

BREATHTAKING BRUGES

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Story/Tip

Holy Blood Basilica Photo, Flanders, Belgium
Quote:
Saint John Hospital This is not just an art museum, but rather a history museum; the atmosphere of the former hospital adds a lot of historic appeal. The hospital is named for St. John the Evangelist, but St. John the Baptist is included in most of the art references to the hospital from the 12th century on. Water still runs beneath the building today, as it was needed to clear the waste and to wash the clothing of the patients, as well as to water the animals that were kept. St. John has always been a municipal institution, unlike most others of its kind that were attach...Read More

Lovely Leuven

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Story/Tip

Father Damien Photo, Flanders, Belgium
Quote:
Though not technically in Flanders, I chose to include it anyway since it certainly is the epitome of the duality of the Belgian culture with it’s two distinctive universities. Leuven/Louvain is a very typical university town and we watch in delight as the hordes of students gathered for a rally on the Stadhuis steps. We had arrived on a college holiday, and it appeared that the students were on a quest. From what we could gather, they were on a massive scavenger hunt, since we were asked if we were in our thirties (we loved these kids immediately) because they had to find some one of that age to bring in. Too bad we were all old fogies. CULTURE Vander Kelen Museum Sav...Read More

Tres Belle Tournai

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Story/Tip

Parking Photo, Flanders, Belgium
Quote:
When you get to Tournai/Doornik, you will need to hone your French skills. Though bordering on Flanders and Hainault, Tournai is a French city. Much of its history has placed it under the control of the French. Tournai was the first Belgian city freed by British Troops in 1944. Native sons Rogier Van der Weyden and Robert Campin have brought fame to their hometown, and the marble quarried in Tournai graces many of the cathedrals in England. The Calvinists destroyed many of the monuments produced in marble by the sculptures of Tournai in the 16th century. The French soldiers finished the job in the 18th century. Cathedral of Notre Dame: We were very disappointed to find that the cathe...Read More

About the Writer

zabelle

zabelle
Portland, Connecticut