May 20, 2013

Grand Place and a Cathedral

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I—I took the one less traveled by.”  Robert Frost

Carol writes:  To date our European RV adventure has covered a lot of ground, and it has become more and more obvious to us that we must be even more selective in what we choose to visit and where we would like to go.  At first we had elected to skip Brussels. However, it is the headquarters of the European Union in addition to being the capital of Belgium, and we had read that the central market square with its incredibly ornate guild halls has been given World Heritage status, so, since we were in the neighborhood…

As we turned the corner to enter Grand Place Grote Market, I was stunned by the beauty of the guild halls with incredible gold accents on many of the buildings.

One of the most well-known sites in Brussels is Manniken Pis, an endearing tourist-favorite statue of a little boy who is peeing.  He has several hundred sets of clothing that are changed on a regular basis.  On our visit he was dressed in an adorable black and white outfit, and was peeing for the crowd, in all his glory.

Our walking tour of Brussels finished up with a visit to The Cathedral, another European Gothic beauty inside and out.

As we headed south from Brussels, we enjoyed the beauty and change of pace of the Belgium countryside, and we eagerly anticipated our first entry into France where we knew our language challenges would lessen and we could practice a little of the French we both learned in school many years ago.  Our first stop for the night in France was on the Meuse River, literally only a few feet from the shoreline in a little parking lot set aside for RVs --thus far, our favorite “informal campsite” in terms of beauty and ambience…

 Our next stop was in Reims, France, to visit Reims Cathedral, which certainly ranks very high on the list of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world.  The first thing that I noticed was how lovely the exterior sections of stone were that had recently been cleaned.  It seemed to be a constant battle with Mother Nature to preserve this gem of Gothic medieval architecture.

 Inside, it was difficult for the camera to capture the full magnificence of the incredible Rose windows.  Thankfully, these magnificent irreplaceable creations were able to be restored after damage from the bombing in WWI.

The spiritual presence of Our Lady of Reims was eerily captured in the background of this photo of burning candles.

This set of 3 windows was created by Marc Chagall, who brought back into production techniques used in the 13th century to produce the special blue that forms the backdrop of the windows.

Finally, two happy travelers who were thoroughly impressed with their visit to Reims Cathedral…

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.”  Albert Einstein


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