zondag 25 september 2016

Wake from your sleep

We won't forget our very first trip to Flanders' Westhoek back in 2012 in a hurry.

Here we were trundling along the motorway when, just after passing the city of Ghent, our car gave up on us. In the middle of the motorway! Fortunately, Jos had the presence of mind to steer her towards the hard shoulder.

As we have breakdown insurance, we made a phone-call and soon one of their mechanics pulled up in front of us. I remained in the car, and in my mind's eye I can still see him opening the bonnet, taking one look and slowly shaking his head. The verdict, which sealed our car's lot, was that the timing belt had broken.

Back in time: September 2012
The upside was that the insurance covered a replacement car for five days, which was exactly the length of our holiday.

A truck appeared to tow our car, we hitched a ride in the truck's cabin, and were given a replacement car, a brand new Ford Fiesta, which we liked so much that we bought exactly the same one as our next car. After all, we did the ultimate test drive, driving over 500 kilometers on all kinds of roads.

Now, I guess you are wondering what all this has to do with the next stretch of this year's holiday, but please bear with me, I'll get to that!

Back in time: September 2012
During that fateful 2012 trip, we visited the town of Veurne and had a little issue with parking. All inner-town parking in Veurne is with a parking disc, which is free but with a time restriction of two hours. However, our replacement car didn't have a parking disc! A kind parking attendant (they do exist!) allowed us to park and for me to stay with the car while Jos went up to the town hall to get one.

By that time, it was almost noon, so we only had time for a quick walk and some lunch before our two hours were up.

This year, we finally made up for that first visit and thanks to our friends, who often visit Veurne and even have family connections with the town, we found a shady parking spot just outside the town centre, which offered free and unlimited parking.


From there, it was only a short walk to the stunning market square (Grote Markt), where the majority of Veurne’s magnificent buildings are.


In the northwest corner is the town hall (stadhuis), built in Flemish Renaissance style between 1596 and 1612, with a blue-and-gold decorated stone loggia projecting from the brick facade.


Next door is the more austere Viscount Hall (Landshuis), in pure Renaissance style, with symmetrical pillars and long, rectangular windows, which now houses the tourist office.









The attached belfry (Belfort) was completed in 1628, its tower dominating the square's skyline.










Behind the Belfort is St-Walburga's Church. After the original church was burnt to a cinder in 1353 it was rebuilt in early Gothic style, but money ran out and it was never finished. Finally, the church was completed in the early 20th Century when the transepts and a short nave were added.


I was quite bowled over by the interior.


After admiring the square's buildings we paid a visit to the tourist office, where we obtained a leaflet describing a 3,8 kilometer town trail, but before heading off we had lunch at a charming little restaurant we discovered back in 2012.



After lunch, the town trail took us along the sleepy town's back streets, predominantly lined with yellow-bricked houses, taking in the details of the many listed buildings.


In the 14th Century, the town was hit by the decline of the cloth trade and people were leaving the town to look for work in the country, leaving the town in the hands of the retired, elderly people, living of private means, who were nicknamed “slapers” (sleepers). This in time became the nickname for the inhabitants of Veurne in general, hence this post's sleepy title.



The reason why Veurne's architectural beauties have survived the Great War and hardly suffered any damage, is because it was saved by the deliberate flooding of the River Ijzer, which effectively stopped the German progress to the sea.


The walk eventually led us to the canal at the outskirts of the town, where we sat in the shade to cool down and rest our wary feet, although I was wearing my red Clarks shoes, which didn't hurt a bit!


Enough already with the architectural and historical details, this leads me flawlessly to the dress I'm wearing, which for once isn't vintage nor even second hand.


This one is from Amsterdam based brand King Louie and was bought in the sales a couple of years ago. When packing, I threw in this dress, as well as the differently patterned one I was wearing while out cycling, at the last moment.

They both  proved to be very comfortable and practical for any outdoor activities, while looking pretty at the same time, so I think they will be a holiday staple from now on.

21 opmerkingen:

  1. It sounds a very interesting trip trough the city, which is very rich in touristic attractions! The church looks amazing, like the beautiful ancient buildings.
    P.s.
    Very often the last clothes that you include before closing the luggage are those...you will be very happy to have with you!!

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    1. Thank you Dan. I always tend to think too long about what to take on holiday, and then end up taking the wrong things anyway, so I guess you are right! xxx

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  2. whats not to love on a blue dress with white dots!!!!! :-)
    you´r a chic traveler!
    flandern looks so great - veurne ist just beautiful! i really can see a trip in this direction.....
    xxxxx

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    1. Oh, thanks Beate! Of course you cannot go wrong with a polka dot dress ... Veurne is a great little place, not visited by too many tourists, unlike Bruges, for instance. But Bruges definitely is a must-see too if you ever visit Flanders. xxx

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  3. Wow, Veurne is a really beautiful looking place. It actually reminds me a bit of Bruges. I'm glad you had a more successful trip than in 2012. I'm really enjoying getting to see Belgium through your eyes. I agree with Beate, you're a very chic traveller. Always so beautifully turned out with the most amazing wardrobe, whether old or new. Xxxx

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    1. Veurne is a quiet backwater compared to Bruges, which tends to be a bit overcrowded, though it is definitely worth a visit. I'm glad you enjoyed joining me on my little sojourns. As I always dress up, even for going to the office, I definitely do so when travelling. It's quite nice to be called a "chic traveller", though. xxx

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  4. what a beautiful place the stained glass is amazing

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    1. I just love stained glass, and always have to photograph some when visiting churches. xxx

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  5. I've seen king Louie's stuff online, they make some great dresses. It's good to know they perform as well as they look.

    Veurne looks incredibly pretty. The market square is so lovely. It looks like a fab place to spend the day.

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    1. I've got quite a few King Louie dresses, which are very comfortable. The fit is great and they've got some stretch, so perfect for travelling. xxx

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  6. Such a beautiful place. I love the church, the interior is incredible xxx

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    1. I could have wandered through that church for hours. It was so cool and quiet and much loftier than I thought it would be. Hard to believe it was only finished in the early 1900s. xxx

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  7. Your dress is perfect for a holiday-cheerful, pretty and matches the sky and water.

    I must say, I'm a recent convert to Ford's vehicles, but the last two we've owned have been durable, and easy to repair when something does go wrong. I'm glad to hear your car behaved on this trip.

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    1. This is our first Ford vehicle, having had French cars before. We're very pleased with it and haven't had any problems so far. I'm still feeling a bit apprehensive whenever we pass that particular spot on the motorway, though ... xxx

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  8. Your dress is perfect for a holiday-cheerful, pretty and matches the sky and water.

    I must say, I'm a recent convert to Ford's vehicles, but the last two we've owned have been durable, and easy to repair when something does go wrong. I'm glad to hear your car behaved on this trip.

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  9. Verne looks beautiful and it looks like you had lovely weather.

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    1. We had the most glorious weather, totally different from the awful weather during our Welsh holiday in June ... xxx

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  10. How great is your polka dot dress! I love dotted garments in dark/navy blue and white, too. It's a fave of my mom's as well and in fact, I largely credit my own passion for spotted garments to her, as she's always really liked them and wore a fair number when I was younger.

    Thank you for sharing this stunning medieval town with us. I so weak in the knees for centuries old locations like this.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

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    1. I can never resist blue and white polka dot dresses either and have quite a few of them. My mum got married in a polka dot dress, although it was pink and white ... xxx

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  11. Veurne looks absolutely gorgeous, I'm glad you didn't have any motor problems this time either!
    Loving the polka dot ensemble, you do make a chic pair of travelers! xxx

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    1. Thank you Vix. I've neglected that dress for a while, but it will definitely be back on rotation next summer! xxx

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