Sunday, October 19, 2008


I wrote already about Ostende here on this blog two years ago, but the weather hasn't been nice at that time and the pictures are rather dull. This time it was very surprising. It was October 11 and we had around 20°C (70 F) ! Miracles happen ! --------------------------------------------------

We took the train in Hal, near Brussels. It is so easy to go by train, it only takes 1 1/2 h. You don't risk to sit in a traffic jam and don't have to spent money on expensive parking places. When the weather is nice, the highway to the sea is always fully packed. -------------------------------------------------


Rather funny is, when you step out of the train, you can find yourself besides a ferry boat to England ! That's what happened to us. In our train were a lot of british people going home by ferry boat. ------------------------------------------------


The view out of the station. There was just a ship going through a canal and the bridge had to be lifted up.



Everybody had to wait and observed the ship in the canal.



There was a fair in Ostend, behind in the back you see the Sint Petrus en Paulus church -------------------------------------------


A lot of seagulls are looking for food


The ferry boat is leaving to cross the channel


It is quite big


We saw these pipelines going through the beach, it looked quite ugly, I hope they will take them away for summer !


Appartments, appartments in summer they are all rented and sometimes it is hard to get one if you don't book in time


With around 20° (70 F) people sat on the beach and enjoyed the sunshine


some of them even went in the water !


Here is the Casino of Ostende, where you can play day and night if you want !


a new sculpture on the seafront


Seagull meeting


A carriage takes you through the town


The bridge which is lifted up when a boat wants to go through


at the end of our walk we had a coffee here. The yellow canary bird is my friend Ilona, we had a wonderful day.

Here is a link to Wikipedia Ostende history

Saturday, September 20, 2008


September 20, 2008

As the weather was nice (for once) I thought about visiting the Abbey of Villers la Ville. I had seen it once, but at least 40 years ago and didn't remember anything.

It is not very far from Brussels and even less from Waterloo. What I discovered then was absolutely beautiful !

The Villers Abbey (Abbaye de Villers) is an ancient Cistercian abbey located near the town of Villers-la-Ville in the Brabant province of Belgium. Founded in 1146, the abbey was abandoned in 1796. The site today contents only the ruins.

But contemporary accounts suggest that roughly 100 monks and 300 lay brothers resided in the abbey ! The lands attached to it were reaching some 100 km² of woods, fields and pasturages. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the abbey's fortunes diminished. The number of monks and the abbey's wealth disappeared and it was finally abandoned in 1796 in the wake of the French Revolution.

The Belgian state purchased the site in 1893 and launched a conservation effort. It was classed as an official historic site in 1973. The remains of the abbey can still be seen, including the cloister, refectory, kitchens, dormitories, and brewing house. I am sure the brewing house was the most important place for all these monks, they loved to drink beer.

The church, although in ruins, is an outstanding example of Cistercian architecture, with imposing vaulting, arches and rose windows.

You can read more here.

A little card showing you where the Abbey is located, between Brussels and Namur

The original Abbey as you can see it is very big.

The ruins of the church are covered with ivy.

The walls are very thick

The ceiling is very high

The construction of a railroad had also damaged they abbey.

An airplane picture of the abbey.

I think I don't have to describe more. The pictures speak by themselves.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


When I am on holidays I always visit the most interesting things in this place but at home I don't even think about visiting something ! I wanted to take some pictures of a castle and went to one I had been last time maybe 35 years ago ! I didn't remember anything when I rediscovered the Castle of Beersel.

It is located in the Belgian town of Beersel, south of Brussels. It has 3 ponderous watchtowers, and is surrounded by a wide moat.

The castle was built between 1300 and 1310 as a defense base for Brussels and was damaged during the war of succession of Brabant (1356-57), but was repaired just after that. In 1489 during a rebellion against Maximilian of Austria, the castle was sieged, taken and plundered by the Brusselians. It burnt down and was partially destroyed, but restored after the war.

A tiled roof was added in the 17th century, but the castle became unoccupied from the 18th century. In 1818, a cotton factory occupied the site of the fortress. The property passed by a series of owners until the last one donated the castle to the League of Friends of the Castle of Beersel in 1928, which restored it. In 1948, it passed to the Royal Association of Historic Residences in Belgium.

A drawing shows how it looked before

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and when I visited it. The moat was empty because of renovation work. I couldn't take any pictures of the parc surrounding the castle, because that day the city of Beersel had organized a barbecue there.

The very heavy entrance door of the castle

embrasures all around

The stairs are terrible, like a screw taking you up to the towers !

In one quite nice preserved room there still was the chimney and the tiles

The ceiling

you can walk around these narrow ways all around the castle

but it is not very comfortable

Even early morning tourists where already there

I didn't take these steps, the staircase was so narrow !

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On this old picture you can see how it should look like. The moat filled with water to keep the enemy away.

But it had been dried out for renovation

Before arriving at the castle you will find this nice restaurant/café just before the entrance.

on the patio was an old wine press

I had a coffee here before I returned home.


About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are 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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