Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The morning fog may chill the air

It was the second day of our little holiday in Zeeland and things didn't look all that bright.

We'd woken up to a foggy, humid morning after having heard the strange and mournful wails of ships' foghorns giving warning in the night.

After all, even in landlocked Middelburg, one is never far from the coast in Zeeland.

By morning, the outside world was still murky and uninviting and, frankly speaking, far better suited to a day spent inside, reading a good book perhaps, or watching some rubbish daytime television. Or we could have browsed and listened to Eveline's extensive and quite excellent CD collection.

I'd already made myself comfortable in that fabulous Art Deco style chair ...

But that's not what we'd come here for! The weather forecast having promised the fog would clear by late morning, we decided to wait it out, but when this still hadn't happened by 11 am, we donned coats, hats and scarves and walked into town.

The pea soup-like conditions had drained the outside world of most of its colour and across the canal the picturesque windmill was doing its best to contrast with the blanket of white obscuring the sky.

Slowly but surely, a misty drizzle was blurring my glasses but using an umbrella would have been too cumbersome.

The rather forlorn view towards the bridge was in sharp contrast with two days earlier, when there was the hustle and bustle of shoppers and day trippers making their way into town, making the most of the exceptionally mild and sunny day.

In the foreground is the landing stage from where open-top canal boat trips take off between April and November. Now, its emptiness added to the desultory atmosphere. I guess nobody in their right mind would have been tempted to take a cruise on the city canals in this weather.

I couldn't help but be charmed by the little vehicle on the bottom right. It belongs to a local brewery and must be the smallest beer delivery van ever!

The town hall's carillon was chiming the hour, its tower, which the people of Middelburg call Malle Betje (Silly Beth), still wearing a thin layer of mist.

The tower earned its nickname from the fact that its clock used to run behind the town's other clock tower, the Lange Jan (Long John).

Speaking of the devil, where exactly is Lange Jan? Middelburg's most visible landmark had clearly decided to play hooky that day!

We picked up some brochures at the tourist office and roamed the streets around the market square, taking in the buildings' delightful details and doing some window shopping.

There was a whole shop window dedicated to Zeeuwse Babbelaars (bottom left), the traditional butterscotch flavoured candy Zeeland is famous for.

The Christmas decorations, which seemed incongruous in the gorgeous weather of two days ago, somehow seemed more appropriate on this most dismal of days. Still way too early for me, though!

Having made such a late start, we were soon faced by hunger pangs so we went in search of a suitable place to eat. Shouldn't be too difficult in a town the size of Middelburg, right?  However, as it was almost 1 pm by now, all the places we liked seemed to be fully booked. In the end, our empty stomachs got the better of us, and we settled for a rather run of the mill café-restaurant. 

Upon leaving the café, we suddenly noticed the sign in front of the shop directly opposite. Yes, we'd discovered a vintage shop! The shop, called Lieve Hemel, was a veritable treasure trove of vintage china, kitchenalia, religious statues, handbags, hats, jewellery, you name it. It didn't take long for me to select these two brooches.

Venturing further into the shop, I found a rail full of vintage frocks! This handmade pink and green one took my fancy. I was holding up another frock and telling Jos that I used to have exactly the same one, when my eyes suddenly clocked two more frocks which looked familiar. This just couldn't be a coincidence: they must have been mine! Thinking back, both Jos and I are certain that the owner was the lady who bought up so much of my stock at last year's flea market. I've even spotted two of the dresses in question on the clothes rail in my post.

By now, it was past 2 pm, and with the afternoon well on its way, we knew our sight-seeing time would be limited.

As we'd already made up our minds to return next year, we decided to continue roaming the streets and following our noses, paying brief visits to some of the town's landmarks along the way.

First up was the abbey complex, which can't be missed if you walk into the direction of Lange Jan. The tower had finally decided to grace us with its presence, even if the fog up there was still quite persistent.

The abbey dates back to the 12th Century and consist of a complex of buildings surrounding a large and picturesque courtyard. Three adjacent, internally connected churches make up one part of the complex and it also houses the Zeeuws Museum, which traces the history of  Zeeland.

We limited ourselves to admiring the courtyard, vowing to return for a more extensive visit.

Leaving the abbey behind, we found ourselves face to face with a picturesque red shuttered building. This former civil guard post is called St-Jorisdoelen and, in spite of  the date proclaimed on its façade (1582), this is actually a reproduction of the original building, as it was destroyed by German bombs in May 1940.

Note the statue of St. Joris (St. George) on top of its scrolled gable.

On the bottom left is a wall fragment of yet another building destroyed in May 1940. Several such fragments, or stumbling stones, were built into the pavement at different locations across Middelburg, and are part of a memorial called The Explosion erected in 1988.

We walked into the direction of the Dam square, which eventually leads to the old dock area, in search of one of Middelburg's hidden gems, the Kuiperspoort.

This picturesque cobbled courtyard, with its historical gabled houses and warehouses, was built by the coopers guild between 1586 and 1642.

Entering the secluded courtyard through a gate leading off the Dam feels like travelling back in time to the Middle Ages. 

Note the change of coat: I was very glad I'd had the presence of mind to bring along this warmer vintage swing coat as well! I was also wearing gloves, albeit fingerless ones which enabled me to take photographs without constantly having to take them off.

Leaving the Kuiperspoort through the gate at the other end of the courtyard, we emerged onto the quayside, close to the marina, where abandoned pleasure-craft were moored and a cold stinging wind was driving us back into the safety of the sheltered town centre streets.

Time to get warm and rest our weary feet, while having a cup of cappuccino and an indulgent piece of white chocolate cheese cake!

On our way back through town, I spotted a pair of green booties in a shoe shop. I'd been looking for a a pair that ticked all my boxes for many a year, so I couldn't believe my luck, even if they weren't the deep shade of forest green I'd had in mind. Their heels are just the right height for me.

After this purchase, it was straight back home for a quiet, relaxing evening by the fire. As you can see, someone was quite exhausted ...

Linking to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style as usual, and to Nancy's Fancy Friday!


  1. In Sync!!!
    Even shrouded in mist, Zeeland is gorgeous. I absolutely love the fairytale architecture and red shutters of St-Jorisdoelen and those olde world cobbled streets!
    I think that's an Ape delivering the beer - it's built on the chassis of a Vespa.
    Your finds are fabulous especially those boots, I love those block heels and that shade of green. xxx

    1. Thank you Vix. I'd no idea it was called an Ape! Those boots are certainly going to see a lot of wear, they're so comfortable. xxx

  2. Oh a foggy day! Middleburg looks so empty ;) I love your pictures and you explore streets we never seen. Thank you for these wonderful pictures.
    What a luck you got green boots :)
    A huge hug Tina

    1. You're welcome Tina. I guess Middelburg, and the rest of Zeeland, would be quite crowded in High Season. You should really check out the Kuiperspoort next time you're there! xxx

  3. good that you packed the warm coat!
    middleburg is a gem of a town, even i thick fog. how fun is the episode with the shop owner who bought your clothes!!!! :-D
    and GREEN booties! cool!
    would like to see the scale of this brooches.......
    shipload of hugs! xxxxx

    1. Yes, it was quite funny to see my former dresses hanging in that shop ;-) Outfits with brooches coming up soon! xxx

  4. Don't you just hate that misty, dreary fog? It's been like that here today...

    Zeeland is a truly lovely place. I just love the buildings and all the quirky details. You take very interesting photos.

    What fab brooches you found and the green booties are spot on! I'd snap up a pair like that. I can't wear high heels so the heel on this boot is perfect for me.

    Loved your outfit in the Art Deco chair; so well coordinated and colourful

    Hope your week is going well.

    1. Thank you Veronica! Wearing heels is getting difficult for me as well. These are just the perfect height! Oh, and I would have loved to take that chair home! xxx

  5. Even if it wasn't the best weather, the fog is so wonderful! How funny that you found a stash of your own old dresses in a shop! I have spotted old items of mine many times, but never multiple pieces at a time.

    Loving your fabulous dress in the first picture - you're perfectly accessorized as always!

    Hope you are having a fabulous week!

    1. I quite liked having fog, it made everything look quite different but no less beautiful. That first dress was bought retail in the sales many years ago. I have a blouse in the same print, found at a flea market! xxx

  6. What a hoot seeing your own items on the rail of a vintage shop! Would have been funny if you'd re-purchased something before realising it.

    I always enjoy walking around in a fog, but I admit it isn't the best for sightseeing. Beautiful brooches you found.

    1. Now that would have been funny indeed. I do sometimes come across a dress I've donated to charity, and have been tempted to buy it again ;-) xxx

  7. Despite the weather the architecture is stunning and as for that frock and those tights, don’t even get me started, they are so me. But now I know there’s no chance of them fitting me. You look fantastic xxx

    1. Thank you so much Lynn. It's a frock I've bought retail in the sales many years ago. If I ever come across it in your size, I'll buy it for you! xxx

  8. I love the foggy photos, Ann! I know in real life it's less than ideal, but it gives the photos an eerie quality that's really cool! I love your outfit and those tights are such a gorgeous colour! Hope you're having a great week, Ann! XXX

    1. Thank you Sasha. I didn't mind the fog much. Even though it was cold, it wasn't raining, so I could live with that. xxx

  9. Lovely place even in the fog!, the buildings are amazing (I love particularly Kuiperspoort!) and you look cozy and adorable in your coat and boots (and matchy tights!) and fingerless gloves are so useful. I do love your striped cardigan too.
    And what an amazing thing to find your own dresses in the vintage shop!.

    1. Thank you Monica! I'm all for matchy tights ;-) Fingerless gloves are a must if you're forever taking photographs like me ... xxx

  10. That is too funny that you stumbled upon your old dresses in that vintage shop.

    The weather did look very lugubrious. I'm happy you still managed to squeeze lots into your day.


    1. Lugubrious is the right word, but it did make for some great photo opportunities. At least it didn't rain! Seeing my old dresses in that shop was quite the experience. xxx

  11. Who needs colors or a bright landscape when you have this fabulous new frock and beautiful brooches ! Jewel tones! In fact I love the photos that you took. The mist adds a forlorn quality but a rather poetic one . Very lovely.
    How smart to visit the Tourists offices and get the opportunity to explore that lovely Destiination.

    1. Thank you so much Elle. Mist and fog can be quite atmospheric. We once braved arctic conditions just to take photographs of a snowy park with swirling mist banks! xxx

  12. Oooh, I enjoyed seeing your photos of Zeeland. You have such amazing language skills- your pea soup comment made me giggle- haven't heard that phrase Peasouper for ages! it's such a good phrase! How funny to see your dresses in that shop! Loving the brooches- they are so nice. Your apartment looks so cosy!

    1. Thank you so much Kezzie. I'm quite chuffed that you think my language skills are amazing. That means a lot! xxx