31 december 2016

Ready to welcome a new year


On this last day of 2016 I would like to thank all of you for visiting my blog so regularly, and for leaving your kind comments each day. I appreciate them a lot. A big bow to you!!

The robin on the photo is a frequent visitor of our garden in every season. I can't tell if it's always the same bird but I like to think so. This photo was taken yesterday and it's my contribution to Saturday's Critters on Eileen's blog.

So, let´s get ready to celebrate New Year´s Eve and welcome 2017 with a smile :)

30 december 2016

Yesterday's sunset

Arriving home at around 5pm yesterday afternoon, this was the view from our back door. I captured it with my mobile.

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday.

29 december 2016

'Water Sword'

This sculpture by Dutch sculptor Adri de Fluiter (1940) is called 'Waterzwaard' or 'Water Sword'. It is placed just outside the village of Coevorden, on the parting of the canals 'Coevorden-Picardië-kanaal' on the right and 'Schoonebeekerdiep' on the left. With his sculpture De Fluiter wants to express that the canals lost their functions as transport ways for vessels; the sword symbolically splits 'then' and 'now'.

The photo was made earlier this month on a sunny and cold Sunday afternoon.

28 december 2016

In the chocolate museum

As you maybe know Belgium is known for it´s high quality chocolate, and during our stay in Bruges we visited the chocolate museum called "Choco-Story". It tells the story of the transformation of cocao into chocolate, the process of making chocolate and why Belgian chocolate is so delicious. In 2013 the Belgian post even created stamps that smell and taste like chocolate.

We witnessed a demonstration of making bonbons, and of course were invited to taste them at the end :) Mmmmmm!!

27 december 2016

Donkey's Gate

Last week I showed you the 'Blacksmith's Gate', this is the 'Ezelpoort' or 'Donkey's Gate'. There are in total 4 medieval city gates left in Bruges. This one was built in 1297, then rebuilt in 1369. Alterations were carried out between the 14th and 17th centuries. The last restoration was in 1991-1993.

This is a view from the other side. Nowadays the gate is only used by pedestrians and cyclists.
If I wouldn't know better I'd say it looks more like a castle! Including it's own swans in the canal :)

26 december 2016

Tweede Kerstdag

December 26 is celebrated here as ´Tweede Kerstdag´ or 'Second Christmas day´, though it's less 'official' as December 25. Many people go out today, either to enjoy a walk and get some fresh air or maybe visit one of the many shopping malls that are opened. Others just stay inside and relax.
We just arrived home from a 12 km walk in windy though sunny weather. Nice! :)

On the photo -taken last evening- is the Christmas crib underneath our Christmas tree.

25 december 2016

Merry Christmas

Photo taken at the Swedish Christmas Fair in Groningen, earlier this month.

24 december 2016

Brainteaser

The 24-December edition of our local newspaper traditionally includes the 'Dr. Denker Kerstpuzzel' ('Dr Thinker Christmas Puzzle'). And it is a real brainteaser! 40 squares with a small drawing or a few letters and/or numbers. Some seem easy to solve but a lot are way (for me anyway haha) too cryptic.  It's the kind of word game that gets into your head, as many times you feel that you are SO close to finding an answer but it just doesn't happen..
This year's theme is 'Dr. Denker goes wild': all answers have something to do with east Africa and/or the animals living there. Wish me luck! ;))

22 december 2016

Where and what?

The facade of this house in Bruges tells passers-by what can be found where..  On the top floor BEDROOM and PING-PONG, then one floor down to the STUDY and BATHROOM + DRESSING, down again to the KITCHEN and LIVING ROOM, and finally the BASEMENT...

21 december 2016

Blacksmith's Gate

From the ring road that surrounds the old city center of Bruges there is a number of roads that enter the city. Closest to our hotel and thus the road we took passed the Smedenpoort ('Blacksmith's Gate'), originally dating from the end of the 13th century. The current gate was built on the remains of the old one in 1367, however throughout the centuries the gate has undergone many changes.

20 december 2016

Walplein

This small cobbled square in the heart of Bruges is called Walplein (Wall Square), a name that is possibly referring to the first city walls that were built nearby in the early 12th century.

19 december 2016

Monday murals

I am following up my blogpost from last Monday (see HERE) with 2 more murals from the walls of the former Groningen Sugar Factory. Isn't this tiger fabulous?

And nice to see it combined with a totally different kind of mural next to it.

I'm linking to Monday Mural.

18 december 2016

Musee Promenade

'Musee Promenade' was part of an outdoor art project along the Belgium coast in the Summer of 2015. The exhibition took on a variety of shapes, such as drawings on the beach, architectural installations, and signs in street scenes.
This somewhat Greek-like design was near the North Sea in 'Het Zwin Nature Park', and close to the Running Hare sculpture I showed you earlier. (see HERE)

17 december 2016

Christmas shop windows

I love to see the creativity of shop owners in this time of year. These are 2 photos from shop windows in Bruges taken at the end of November. Here a display of Santas..

..and here, a bit of reflection included :), a snowman about to collapse as he is being torched by some happy though hungry creatures!    And all are made of chocolate..

Have fun this Saturday!

16 december 2016

Sunset

After a number of gloomy days it was sunny today, though a little bit colder too. I took this photo at 4:15 pm when the sun was beginning to set, and then suddenly realised that Winter solstice is not far away. Time is flying!

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday.

15 december 2016

At no.9

I couldn't pass this door belonging to no.9 (somewhere) in the city of Bruges without taking a photo.

I think it was the combination of angels, the reflection in the glass, and the faded blue/green tile picturing a sheep..

14 december 2016

Dinner and Bed

During one of our strolls through the city of Bruges I photographed this sign of ´La SUiTE SAnS CRAvATE´. It's a Bed & Breakfast, and, because they own a restaurant as well according to their website, they also call themselves a Dinner & Bed.
The text on the elegant sign says 'La Suite Sans Cravate' which is French for 'Room Without a Tie', and the Dutch words 'Tafel en Bed' stand for 'Table and Bed'.

I'm linking to signs, signs.

13 december 2016

Balcony view


Still not done with showing you impressions from our city trip to Bruges in November :) This photo was made while standing on the 'panorama-view balcony' of the Beer Museum, located at the market square. Zooming in to the other end of the square we looked right into one of the shopping streets that was nicely decorated for Christmas. The white tree on the left was in the centre of the ice-rink.

I'm linking to All Seasons

12 december 2016

Sugar Factory murals

A real street art gallery has appeared on the side wall of the former Groningen Suger Factory. Street artists are invited to create a mural, as written here on the left.

And this is another fine example of the murals I photographed there. More to follow next Monday!

I'm linking to Monday Mural.

11 december 2016

Swedish Christmas Fair

 We visited the Swedish Christmas Fair today, held this weekend at the former site of the Groningen Sugar Factory. "The fair that takes care of the Christmas spirit with a fine industrial edge and a Scandinavian touch", that's what we read on their website. And it was so nice to see so many items made from wood and felt.

A very special location indeed! The processing of sugar beets into sugar ended at this site in 2008. In 2011 the municipality of Groningen became the new owner of the Sugar Factory, or 'Suiker Unie' as we know it here. The site is not expected to be developed for housing for 15 or 20 years, and in the meantime it is used as a venue for a variety of activities. Like a nice Swedish Christmas Fair!

10 december 2016

Hairy

These are two of the large herbivores on the grass lands in nature area Het Zwin on the border of Belgium and The Netherlands, see also yesterday's post. Lots of hair here!

Besides Highland cattle there was also a large number of horses. Isn't this a beauty?

I'm linking to Eileen's Saturday's Critters. Happy weekend!

9 december 2016

Running Hare

This remarkable sculpture of a running hare stands at the Belgium coast in a nature area called ´Het Zwin´, that we visited during our stay in Bruges at the end of November. It´s me standing there next to it (how about the size of the sculpture!), and I was about to take..

..this photo of the hare with the North Sea in the background! :)
The name of the bronze sculpture is ´Hospitality´; the animal stands for liberty, independence, dynamics, fertility, strength and individuality. It was made by Barry Flanagan (1941-2009), a Welsh sculptor who is best known for his bronze statues of hares and other animals.

7 december 2016

Bicycle Street sign

Discovering all of Bruges we spotted this sign saying 'Fietsstraat' ('Bicycle Street') and wondered what it meant, as it's not a sign we'd seen before. According to the internet, in a Bicycle Street motor vehicles are allowed (obviously), however they may not overtake cyclists -however there isn't much space left for that-, and the speed limit is 30 km/u (about 18 mph).

Well, the only vehicles we saw in this street were cars parked at both sides, and cars passing us, no bicycles..

I'm linking to signs, signs.

6 december 2016

After a cold night

 We have this small sculpture in our garden of 2 balancing frogs underneath a small umbrella and both wearing crowns haha. This morning they were frozen white! At 9 a.m. it was still -6,5°C (20°F) and they made a pretty picture with the sun shining on the trees at the back.

5 december 2016

Dinner with a view

 We were happy to be in this restaurant for dinner on one of the evenings in Bruges; we got a window table with this gorgeous view at the market square and the Belfort Tower!

I'm linking to All Seasons.

4 december 2016

Bruges mills

 On the remains of the old city fortifications of Bruges, that date from 1297, 4 wooden mills can be found at a section called 'Kruisvest'. It's part of a lovely walking route of about 9 km at which you also pass the old city gates. (more about those later). I loved this Autumn view with the sunlight on the leaves.

Watching from one mill to the next with the sun on our backs.

To see a full view of the St Janshuis Mill from a previous stay in Bruges click HERE.

I'm linking to Shadow Shot Sunday 2.

3 december 2016

The swans of Bruges

Swans in the canal near the beguinage in Bruges.

There is a story about the swans in Bruges, dating from the time of Maximilan (1832-1867). This man, who married princes Charlotte of Belgium in 1857, had a confident named ´Longneck´. When Longneck was sentenced to death, Maximilian put a curse on the city for killing the man who meant a lot to him. He compelled the people of Bruges to keep swans (or 'longnecks') in the canals forever and ever.
There are about 50 swans in the city, and whenever one of them dies, a new swan is bought..

I'm linking to Saturday's Critters.

2 december 2016

Ice rink

The ice rink at the Bruges central market square opened in the week we were there.

 In the evening there seemed to be a ghost on skates..can you spot it?  ;)

1 december 2016

Sightseeing

Sightseeing by segway in the streets of Bruges.
It looks so very easy! IF I would ever decide to try it I would need a large and empty market square, before going out on the streets...haha. But it does look like fun!
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