Post-Christmas Break


Veronica and Dave had a few days away in Lille and Brussels in January 2019. We visited a few churches, including Lille Cathedral – dedicated to Notre Dame de la Treille. The Cathedral takes its name from a 12th-century figure of the Virgin that has been long revered in the city. The cathedral was built by wealthy inhabitants of the city, starting in the late 19th century; building didn’t finish until the 1990s! Sadly, the Virgin is no longer inhabiting the cathedral – she was stolen in 1959, and her church now gets by with a replica. [Treille means trellis – presumably the item the statue is sitting behind!]

Altar screen at Lille cathedral

We arrived just before Epiphany, so the Shepherds were still present…

By Sunday morning the Kings had arrived. (The figures are near life-size.)

At St Nicholas’s church in Brussels, the alignment of the chancel does not match that of the nave. This is not because of an incompetent architect, but is intended to represent Christ’s head leaning to one side on the Cross.

Church of St Nicholas, Brussels

The Cathedral at Brussels is dedicated to St Michael the Archangel and St Gudula of Brabant. Wikipedia tells us that “Gudula was educated in the abbey of Nivelles by her godmother, Gertrude of Nivelles. When Gertrude died, she moved back to her home at Moorsel, spending her time in good works and religious devotion. She frequently visited the church of Moorsel, situated about two miles from her parents’ house.”

The organ in Brussels Cathedral is quite spectacular.

It sounds good too – we attended a concert on a previous visit.

The organ console is on the balcony of the central section.

There is an ornithological theme in the side chapel, with “pious pelicans” supporting the glass altar table.


In between visiting churches and museums, attending concerts and riding the trams we found time to eat and drink.

We found a suitable wine to have with our lunch one day…

As we were arriving back at St Pancras we found that our Eurostar driver was about to retire after 38 years’ service…

Venice 2016

A Room with a View

Yes, I know that was set in Florence, but this room is in Venice with a view out across the lagoon. It’s in the apartment where Veronica has been staying for the first part of her sabbatical.

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Another room with a view

The little bakery close to the apartment where you can also get an ice-cream, or even sit and watch the traffic on the Giudecca Canal while you sip a gin and tonic…

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Torcello

TorcelloThe bell tower is finally free of scaffolding, after several years of restoration.

Below is a more distant view on a different day, with the snow-capped Alps behind.

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Saint Mark’s Cathedral

The mosaic above where we sat on Sunday morning shows (at the centre) the angel showing the women the empty tomb on the first Easter Day.

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Views across the Guidecca Canal
The part of Venice where Veronica has been staying is more residential, less “touristy” than many other areas. These views are looking across to the main part of the city. The Giudecca Canal is a bit like a bypass for the Grand Canal, which is behind the buildings on the opposite bank.

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Holiday in Venice 2014

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A few holiday snaps from Veronica and Dave’s recent trip to Venice…

 


 

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Torcello…
…is a sparsely populated island at the northern end of the Venetian lagoon. It was probably the first of the islands to be populated following the fall of the Roman Empire. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta contains a 12th Century mosaic of the Last Judgement. The 11th century bell tower has been under repair for the last couple of years.


The Devil’s Bridge at Torcello, and some more godly symbols on houses nearby.


Burano
According to legend, the houses at Burano were brightly coloured so that the fishermen could more easily find their own homes after celebrating a successful day’s work.

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St Mark’s Basilica
Some of the gold mosaic ceilings date from about 1070, but about two thirds were “restored” in the 18th and 19th century.