Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BRUSSELS - THE CEMETARY OF LAEKEN

August 19, 2014

When I have visitors from abroad, I try to show them places which are not yet so well known by tourists, but will be in the future as Brussels is in full bloom for renovating and promoting other interesting historical sites of Brussels. 





One of them is the Church of Our Lady of Laeken which was originally built in memory of Queen Louise-Marie, wife of King Leopold I to the design of architect Joseph Poelaert. The first stone was laid by Leopold I in 1854. The church was consecrated in 1872, but not completed until 1909 after a lengthy interruption of the work. The crypt holds the tombs of the all Kings and Queens of Belgium. The Royal Crypt is generally open every Sunday 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Unfortunately the day I was there the church was closed.

The adjacent Laeken Cemetery behind the church is sometimes known as the "Belgian Père Lachaise" (Paris)  because it is the burial place of many famous, rich and nobel people. It is a classified site and which originated in the Middle Ages, and is the oldest cemetery in Brussels still active and the last cemetary in Brussels,  implanted around a church. It owes much of its popularity and its rich heritage because of the funeral burial of Queen Louise-Marie in 1850 in the above mentioned church.

The cemetery houses very fine examples of nineteenth-century funerary art and also features an original bronze cast of Auguste Rodin's Thinker, purchased in 1927 by the antiquarian and art collector Josef Dillen to use as his own memorial. Next to the entrance, there is a small museum dedicated to the sculptor Ernest Salu (1845-1923) and his successors. Many of the monuments that embellish the cemetery are products of the Salu workshop.




The graves look all very impressive !



The ideal place for Halloween pictures ! Fortunately the sun was shining and it didn't look too haunted !









On some of the graves were these beautiful sculptures created by Salu. They look a little dramatical to my taste !

In the cemetary is also a crypt, which was closed for renovation.


photo from Internet

This crypt with many galleries was built in 1878, at least for the first seven galleries. The reason was that the cemetery was sorely lacking space. Built between street artists and the Notre-Dame de Laeken, no extension was possible. The construction of the crypt has led to the vaults on many levels, including an average of five to six instead of two to three. The decision to undertake this work was taken by Emile Bockstael, then maïeur Laeken. The crypt has three main galleries and a dozen cross. It will certainly be open to the public in a near future. 

Virtual tour of the cemetary

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

MOUSEHOLE CORNWALL



During my Cornwall tour we also visited Mousehole a charming little town which had developed around its harbour (and of course the fishing fleet that sustained it). It's name appears in the record books as an important fishing port from as early as 1266, in fact, part of the south quay originates from 1390 - possibly the oldest pier in Cornwall. The fishing industry has declined drastically over the last 100 years, but a few fishing boats maintain the long heritage and tradition of a working harbour, whilst the majority of vessels now lying at anchor are pleasure craft.



We walked along the harbour



It was low tide and the boats were sitting on the ground.





It was a pleasure to see all these old typical houses





lots of flowers and plants



pastel painted houses and the old church tower



and finally we found a very old Pub which had a cute little terrace on the roof, where we had a nice cup of tea to warm us up !

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

BATEMANS - HOME OF RUDYARD KIPLING

July 5, 2014

I had the opportunity to visit Rudyard Kipling's house Bateman's in Burwash, Sussex. He moved into the  house in 1902, and lived there for over thirty years, until his death in 1936, rejoicing in its seclusion under the Sussex downs, and in the evidence all around of thousands of years of English history.

He wrote about his move :

.it was the heartbreaking Locomobile that brought us to the house called 'Bateman's', he wrote in Something of Myself. We had seen an advertisement of her, and we reached her down an enlarged rabbit-hole of a lane. At very first sight the Committee of Ways and Means [Mrs Kipling and himself] said 'That's her! The only She! Make an honest woman of her - quick!'. We entered and felt her Spirit - her Feng Shui - to be good. We went through every room and found no shadow of ancient regrets, stifled miseries, nor any menace though the 'new' end of her was three hundred years old...

If you want to read his biography the link is here.

When I arrived I was impressed by the beauty of this place and it looked so peaceful !



Before the entrance was a nice tea room, where I had a little lunch






and then I saw the house surrounded by this beautiful park with full of benches to sit and rest.





 

The entrance looked very cozy and welcoming. At the mantle piece a little fish was hanging  when he wanted people to stay the fish looked towards the lounges, when he wanted them to leave he turned the fish towards to door !




In each of the lounges was an open fire, but he also had central heating installed.







In his office a wall was covered with books and the waste paper basket was full !



Laying in front of the open fire was this "carpet" which I didn't like.



Just besides the staircase leading to the bedrooms his bust was standing



The bed in the bedroom seemed rather small to me, I wouldn't fit in it.


I couldn't take pictures of all the rooms I visited, because a flash was not allowed and sometimes there was not enough light. His son's room who was killed in the 1st world war still remained untouched with all his belongings.




Outside was the huge park, where you can wander around.

Then I discovered the mill.



The mill from outside, the water running over the huge wheel.



The Park Watermill, stands by the River Dudwell. The mill was part of Batemans before Kipling bought it, having been purchased by a previous owner of Batemans.

The mill is still running and I had the chance to see how the grain was  milled. The mill stone was enormous.It was interesting to watch. There was also a shop in the mill where you could buy the freshly ground flour.

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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