Tuesday, 18 February 2020

A medieval marvel

It was the morning of our first full day in Beernem near Bruges, and we were about to have breakfast at our lovely B&B. Oh dear, that's rather a lot of B's in one sentence, isn't it?

But before our host, Veronique, arrived bearing fresh fruit juice and coffee, we took a couple of minutes to take some outfit photos, as I was desperate to show you one of my latest Think Twice finds.

For once, I didn't wait for the next of their famous sales to roll along. Still, it may come as a surprise that I didn't buy the dress the first time I clapped eyes on it. I took it from the rail, noting its utter perfectness, then thought of all the long-sleeved dresses which were still waiting in the wings of my wardrobe for their turn to be worn. So I put it back and left the shop empty handed.


But once back at the office, my thoughts kept returning to that perfect harmony of navy and white houndstooth and plain navy collar, placket and pocket tabs, the latter two accented by pearly white buttons. A true classic, both in colour and in style.

Nevertheless, I didn't return to the shop until the next week when, much to my surprise, I found the dress still waiting for me. It must have been fate so, needless to say, this time I made sure not to leave the shop without it.



Who doesn't love a blue, white and red outfit? I certainly do, so accessorizing the dress was a doddle. I added red opaques, a red and white beaded necklace and a red plastic ring. More red appeared in some of the flowers on my carved wooden brooch. 

Finally, my red King Louie cardigan completed my outfit.


So, breakfast! We were certainly spoiled for choice. Starting with fresh fruit salad and yummy, creamy yogurt, we then indulged in freshly baked bread and a choice of rolls, accompanied by smoked salmon, a selection of cheeses and meats and, of course, Veronique's delicious home made jams, which came in tiny glass jars.

For those with a sweet tooth, there were croissants and chocolate buns, and there were a range of cereals to choose from if one was so inclined. 

In fact, there was such a glut of delicacies, that we had to decline Veronique's offer of boiled, fried or scrambled eggs.



After breakfast, it was time to start the day's adventure, so we instructed Marie-Jeanne, our long-suffering satnav, to take us to Bruges by way of her much-loved country lanes. Needless to say, she was happy enough to oblige!

After parking our car, we decided to walk into the direction of the main square, avoiding the shortest route which would take us along Bruges' main shopping street. Our route took us along a parallel street, which seemed to be home to the town's more exclusive shops. However, we soon veered off, arriving in a peaceful, small tree-lined square where modern and ancient architecture seemed to be living happily side by side.

The equestrian statue is called Flandria Nostra - the horse-riding lady is said to represent Mary of Burgundy (1457-1482) - and was designed by sculptor Jules Lagae in 1901. 



From the square, a narrow street lead down to a canal, the Speelmansrei, which was crossed by a humpbacked stone bridge guarded by a pair of haughty lions.

As crossing the canal would have taken us too far from our intended destination, we retraced our steps and meandered through a maze of streets, taking in the abundant and often quirky architectural details until we spotted the tower of  the St. Jacobskerk (St. James Church). Having already visited the church itself on a previous visit, we skirted this until we arrived at the eponymous St. Jacobsstraat (St. James Street). 

At the end of this street, the market square, where we planned to have lunch, beckoned, but we met with one or two distractions, the first one being Think Twice, whose Bruges shop is about half-way down this street. 



It almost goes without saying that the shop couldn't be passed without going in for a little browse. And yes, I might even have made a purchase, which I'll be showing you later in this post.

By then it was noon and a faint rumble in our stomachs told us it was time for lunch.


Afterwards, we crossed the market square and made our way along a pedestrianized street lined with the inevitable tourist trap shops selling waffles, chocolates and all manner of lace, towards the Burg, undoubtedly Bruges' most impressive square.

Even the road works obstructing one side of the square couldn't detract from the splendour offered by the Brugse Vrije (Liberty of Bruges), the City Hall and the Basilica of the Holy Blood. 

As I've already blogged about these on a previous visit, I just snapped some of the details which caught my eye and made them into a collage.



We briefly entered the town hall, where I sat down beneath one of the huge portraits in the picture gallery which can be visited free of charge.

Then, with one backward glance towards the Belfry tower, we continued on our way to our ultimate destination for the day.


We strolled along the cobbled Groenerei (Green Quay), marvelling at the view, at this time of year unobstructed by the exuberant foliage of the trees and the throngs of people taking their turn at being photographed on the one of the bridges crossing this most picturesque of canals.

At the end of the canal, we emerged onto a busy street, which we needed to cross. Here, there was another distraction in the form of a second-hand clothing shop where I confess to having made another purchase.

Consulting our map to make sure we were on the right track, we rounded a corner and found ourselves in a quiet, back-of-beyond street, where time seemed to have come to a halt.



On and on we walked, with side turnings offering a glimpse of a wide canal running parallel to the street we were walking on.

Then, after a bend in the street, we could finally spot the eye-catching tower of the Jerusalem Chapel. Modelled after Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre, it is topped by the cross of Jerusalem, in its turn placed on top of a sphere representing the world.

The chapel is part of  the Adornes domain, an authentic medieval estate comprising a mansion and almshouses, where you can step into the world of one of the most prominent families of 15th Century Bruges. 


The Adornes family originates from the Italian city of Genoa, but came to Flanders in the 13th Century. 

Its best-known descendant is Anselm Adornes, who became an influential businessman, diplomat and knight in the 15th Century, when the estate was built. The chapel was consecrated in 1429

Anselm Adornes and his wife, Margareta van der Banck, are buried in the black marble tomb in the chapel, although in the case of Anselm Adornes, it is supposedly only his heart which is enshrined here, as these are the only remains that were able to be returned to Bruges after he was murdered in Scotland in 1483.



The architecture and layout of the chapel and its extraordinary relics are illustrations of the great reverence of the Adornes family for Jerusalem. 

It is, in fact, quite a macabre monument, with a gruesome altarpiece covered in skull motifs, as well as a rather creepy effigy of Christ’s corpse tucked away inside a miniature, low-ceilinged chapel at the rear.


The estate is still owned by the family today, which makes it quite exceptional. 

The family has always been very hospitable and the current descendants, who opened the domain to the public, are delighted to continue this tradition.



You can have coffee or tea and cakes in the so-called Scottish Lounge, a cosy room where you can rest your wary feet and reflect on your visit. Payment of any refreshments is by way of an honesty box.



It was well after 3 pm when we were finally able to tear ourselves away from those comfortable chesterfields, by which time a blanket of grey had done away with the blue skies which had accompanied us earlier that day.

Without the sun to aid their reflection, the monumental merchants' houses lining the Hansa Quarter's wide canals, seemed to be gazing out forlornly at their counterparts across the steel grey water.

It started raining lightly, and as we'd rather optimistically set out without our umbrellas, we thought it was time to call it a day. But not before ducking into a shop on our way back to the car park to purchase some prepared sandwiches for our evening meal, which we would have at our B&B.



Again, our way home was a lengthy one, courtesy of our satnav. Although we'd given her clear instructions before leaving the car park, the lack of satellite reception underground seemed to completely confuse her when we surfaced. Enough said!

I'm ending this post by showing you my purchases as promised. The Swiss made maxi skirt came from Think Twice, while the second hand shop we passed along the way to the Jerusalem chapel provided the salmon pink cardigan. I'd already taken off my make-up and Jos omitted to tell me that my hair was sticking up, so just look at the clothes please!



40 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful city - I love the architecture, the history and the beautiful collage of little details.

    You look fab in your red, white and blue outfit and your purchases are smashing. Gorgeous skirt and the cardigan is so feminine. They are a perfect match together aren't they?

    Satnavs and weather cannot be relied on - they always let you down!

    Hope your week is going well.
    xxxx

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    1. Thank you Vronni, and wasn't it serendipitous the skirt and cardie are such a perfect match? xxx

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  2. :-D
    pretty cardigan and gorgeous maxi skirt :-DDDD
    love to go sightseeing with you! very interesting and beautiful sites.... stunning to a history nerd like me.
    we never use our sat-nav - i´m the navigator with good old maps and my good path finder skills.
    the blue&white dress is super sweet - maybe you can give away 1 or 2 other dresses that are not that perfect on you?
    hugsies! xxxxxx

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    1. Thank you Beate! I have, in the meantime, sold not just 1 or 2 dresses :-) We usually combine our Satnav with my navigational skills, but we tend to rely on it for getting around in town centres. But we got it right in the end, and didn't get lost on our third day :-) xxx

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  3. Think Twice clothes are made for you I mean. You look amazing Ann. I love discovering this stunning locations with you. Your pictures are amazing. Thank you so much Ann.😃
    Kisses and a huge hug from Thailand, Tina

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    1. Thank you, Tina, and that's exactly what Jos keeps telling me too. But they do have clothes in all sizes! xxx

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  4. Happy to see the city through your photos, it looks rich of touristic attractions.
    Isn't it great how blogging let us know new places all around the world?

    A hug

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    1. Thank you Dan! And yes, it definitely is! I love seeing Italy through your eyes too! xxx

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  5. Oh, that makes me want to go to Bruges! It's so beautiful, and I love seeing it through your eyes, Ann. You have such a great capacity to see the details, which I just adore.

    Love that navy and white dress - I agree, when a garment calls to you like that, you have to just get it, screw that price tag! I'm so in love with that new maxi, how gorgeous is that! And your shoulders have wings! (and these husbands, they never mention when our hair is sticking out, or our tummies, SIGH. Good thing they are well-behaved, lol).

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    1. Thank you so much, Sheila. You're right, if a garments speaks to you and the price tag is not exorbitant, then why not buy it? And Think Twice's prices are low, even when they haven't got a sale. xxx

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  6. How good that dress was still waiting for you when you went back, it looks lovely on you! And I really like the maxi skirt you picked up :)

    Hubby always got annoyed when I reviewed the photos he took and pointed out things he hadn't seen and made him retake, ha! So he got me a camera with a remote so I could do it myself! Cheeky man!

    Hope that your week is going well :)

    Away From Blue

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    1. Thank you Mica, and that's quite cheeky indeed. As Jos is reading my blog and the comments, I just hope you haven't given him ideas now :-)) xxx

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  7. I always love your Bruges photos, it looks like a beautiful place and is high on my wish list of places to visit.
    The breakfast at your b&b looks like it set you up for the day! Xxx

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    1. Thank you Sally! We're lucky to live nearby, as there's so much to see. Just one visit doesn't nearly cover it all. xxx

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  8. Hello Ann. Love your navy/white houndstooth dress. She was waiting for you. The red accessories go so well with it. Am also loving your salmon cardigan with wings. Looks lovely over the maxi skirt.

    I'm a fan of a big breakfast, and yours looks scrumptious.

    Thankyou for the lovely tour. The Jerusalem Chapel looks amazing and it's quite remarkable that the estate still remains within the same family.

    I've learnt to not be completely dependant on satnavs. While we were evacuating out of Eden, N.S.W., because of the bushfires, ours instructed us to take the road straight into another bushfire zone. Luckily, our instincts took over and we reversed, otherwise we may very well have been trapped.

    Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. Thank you Suzy! We usualy aren't completely dependent on satnav either, but they are - usually - a great help in getting one out of town centres! xxx

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  9. Oh, another trip to Bruges! How lovely. Gorgeous photos, the story behind the Jerusalem Chapel is fascinating, such unusual and memorable decor.
    The skies don't look at ominous as they did on your last trip, what a relief!
    Liking the navy blue dress, no wonder it haunted you when you left the shop without it. It's unusual to see you without your trademark belt but I'm loving the style on you. xxx

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    1. Thank you Vix! The trip to Bruges was a last minute decision to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We loved every minute of it, winter is by far the best season to visit Bruges. xxx

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  10. Dearest Ann, what an extraordinary lovely travel post. I honestly got goosebumps and (good!) chills up my spine from some of the stunning architecture you shared with us. Thank you very for this inspiring travel post. It was great fun to experience.

    Autumn Zenith 🎃 Witchcrafted Life

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    1. Thank you Autumn! I love writing these travel posts, which make me relive our holidays. xxx

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  11. Your navy and white dress is perfectly ‘you’! How lucky it was still there when you returned to Think Twice.
    You breakfast looks so delicious – certainly worth photographing.

    The last line of your blog post gave me a chuckle! X

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    1. You're right, it IS perfectly me. Don't understand myself sometimes. And it's not that it was super expensive. Even outside of their sales, dresses at Think Twice are usually under € 20! xxx

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  12. Satnav is useless in rural Nebraska where roads are mostly unpaved and frequently impassable in bad weather. If we veer too far off the main highways, I need local directions. Glad you made it back without too much delay.

    That blue and white dress is definitely your style, and I'm so happy you were able to grab it.

    That blue and white dress is definitely your style,

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    1. Thank you Goody! We should have learned our lesson with satnav by now ... xxx

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  13. That navy and white shirt dress looks as it was made for you. It is definitely a wonderful classic. I sometimes resist buying something knowing I have a similiar piece but some things are just too good to pass by and that dress is one of them for sure. So great this dress was waiting for you when you returned to Think Twice shop after a week. I love the way you.styled it as well. You picked the perfect accessories. I also really like that bright red cardi you have styled with it. Such a great outfit!

    I love the second outfit as well. That salmon top is so lovely and the maxi is really pretty as well. You look great with or without make up.

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    1. Thank you so much Ivana, and yes, I was really lucky the dress was still there. xxx

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  14. So great you were able to visit Bruges again. It really is a beautiful city. Thank you for sharing more of it with us. Jerusalem chapel looks like a great place to visit. It was fascinating to learn that Adornes family still owns part of their properties as well as to learn more about this family that moved from Genoa to Bruges and became so successful.

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    1. Thank you Ivana, the Jerusalem chapel and the Adornes domain was a fascinating place to visit, and a little bit off the beaten track as well. xxx

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  15. Glad that this dress was waiting for you, as it's totally fabulous and fits you like a dream!, love its white and navy houndstooth motive and the cute collar and pocket tabs, and also love how you styled it with red accents!. Gorgeous!
    And so fabulous pictures of Bruges, those architectural details which I enjoy so much and the amazing buildings (the Jerusalem Chapel looks really interesting!).
    Loving your new finds, the colors and details on both pieces are stunning!
    besos

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    1. Thank you so much Monica! The dress just called for adding red, I think. The Jerusalem chapel was quite fascinating! xxx

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  16. Mmm... that breakfast sounds quite nice. Glad your dress was still waiting for you at Think Twice. I typically have to grab things when I first see them because, with my luck, the item gets quickly sold if I want the luxury of thinking twice about it. Nice pics.

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting and leaving a comment. I agree you do have to act quickly sometimes, especially when buying second hand! xxx

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  17. Haha, I am laughing at your hair sticking up (only because I was trying to take some photos earlier and the wind kept making my hair attack my face!!!! I like your second hand purchases! The final destination is so atmospheric!!!

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    1. Thank you Kezzie, and I had to laugh as well when I saw the photo. Why oh why didn't Jos tell me :-) xxx

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  18. I don't know which one I like more: the dress or the floor. ...
    I'm a bit behind it seems ... Regula

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    1. No worries, Regula :-) I love those floor tiles too, I wish we had them in our kitchen! xxx

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  19. That navy and white dress is a real winner. I'm amazed no-one else snapped it up - clearly it was meant to be yours and was waiting for you.

    I am now very intrigued by Anselm Adornes!

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    1. It seems he was one of James III's close companions and although he survived the rebellion against the king in 1482, he was murdered in the following year in circumstances which remain obscure! xxx

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