Here are a couple of pictures of St. Salvatore in Harelbeke, Flanders, Belgium. Most of this church was built in the late 1700′s and the tower is a carillon with 50 bells. Unfortunately, we did not get to hear it play. We did walk around the church as well.
I thought I would make this picture available for some comedy. We had just climbed off the Eurorail at Gare de Lille-Europe in Lille, France and hauled our luggage down to board a train to take us to Kortrijk, Belgium at Gare de Lille-Flandres. We were off to stay with friends in Oostrozebeke, Belgium. We looked out the window and saw this sign and snapped a picture.
Of course you always look at the picture before you try to decipher the words. Amanda made a comment about, “Danger, beware of people missing a foot.” We laughed for a few moments. We could decipher the “For your Security” portion and knew traverser and voies were cross the way. Kinda like a black cat crossing your path, don’t let disabled people cross your way? This was on 5 June 2008.
Despite also being popular for Guy Fawkes Day which recently passed, Remember, Remember also relates to Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, or as we treat it in the United States, Veterans Day. As an American, the day is more a holiday than a solemn occasion of reflection or remembrance. Nevertheless, I thought I would honor it this week.
Interestingly, we find many people signing up for secession from the United States. I find it interesting that Guy Fawkes Day and Remembrance Day are so close on the calendar and their memorable phrases start with the same repetition of the word “Remembrance”. We seceded from the empire of Great Britain (which used to celebrate Empire Day on 24 May) and won the battle so secession became a legal right in the new colony. Then part of that new colony seceded and lost the battle so secession was no longer a legal right. The battle over secession is 1-1 on our soil but the latest precedent is against it. Our Declaration of Independence is not a legally binding document, but it certainly underlines the presumption of which the nation was founded, and overturned in the Civil War.
Either way, we honor the veterans on both sides of those conflicts in this nation. It just depends on where you live for which side you might feel a little more inclination. Here in the west, we really acceded into the United States rather than won our right to be a part of this nation. The French and Indian, 1812, and Civil War don’t mean much to us in Idaho.
When it comes to the world wars of our century, we have a part to play. Plus it certainly helps to have people we personally know who served and fought in these battles. Most of us know people who lost loved ones in these two wars. Hence these wars and accompanying veterans are more honored at present. In these wars we fought against forced accession into whatever nation was seeking to obtain.
Then we found ourselves during Korea and Vietnam in what is named the Cold War. We fought against forced accession by nations we did not agree with (we ignored the rest) but also sought to help other nations secede and ultimately become free and independent. We helped win that battle with the freedom of nations that were under the control of the United Soviet Socialist Republic. Elsewhere in the world, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and the United Kingdom continued to allow other nations to become independent and we supported that movement.
American policy and law is less than clear on what exactly our position is on secession. The national mood towards our veterans does not even seem to be as clear cut as it has been in times past. A divide continues to build. I am not really sure over what. Whether we are for or against secession, those who are willing to fight for that right, rightly or wrongly, deserve our honor. After all, far too many of them gave the greatest sacrifice a person can give. We find it much more noble when a person voluntarily gives their life (whether they live or die) than those who are not allowed to choose to do so (but not to diminish their sacrifice). I honor our veterans because of what they give and those who give their all. Remember, those who live beyond the conflict still have to live with it the rest of their lives. May we honor all veterans who fight for their cause (are terrorists veterans?).
We are now in Hindley, Lancashire, England. We drove down here today to crash at the home of Hilton and Rhona McCabe. I met them while as a missionary here about 8 years ago. The friendship has continued and we have kept in contact.
We are waiting to hear word from Salt Lake City. We are supposed to be closing on our home in Oklahoma City. Hopefully everything works out. We will find out tomorrow I guess.
Last night we spent our evening in Edinburgh, Scotland. We walked throughout the city, saw the castle, the Holyrood residence, and the cathedral. Amanda got to see her world famous Mary Kings Close. It was very interesting. We got our hostel for the equivalent of $30 which we thought was a gonga deal.
We landed in Prestwick on Thursday after flying out early from Charleroi Airport near Brussels. We then picked up our hired car and drove to Glasgow and on to Edinburgh. It took me a little bit, but I quickly adjusted to getting back on the wrong/left side of the road.
It is late and I am too tired to write more of our travels today or of what we did in Edinburgh. We did stop to visit Downham, Clitheroe in Lancashire today where the entire town joined the church and later emigrated to Zion. Now we are back in the old mission. My second visit since being released. It is good to be back.
We did not have internet in Paris, so there has been a long silence. Perhaps that is a good thing.
As a note, I did upload some photos on the blog. They were the ones from Dresden. Well, a few. I hit my limit for the month for how many photos I can upload. As soon as July 1st hits, I will start uploading again. Sorry. There are some great pictures from Dresden and Meissen.
We left Bern and started making our way to Paris. We were planning on hitting the temple in Bern but after trying to figure out the buses, taxis, or trains with attendant costs, backpacks, and traveling all day in our church clothes, we threw in the towel. We just started out for Paris.
We made stops in Lausanne and Geneva. Lausanne was beautiful. The view coming in over Lake Geneva was amazing. Some of the Alps between Bern and Lausanne were breathtaking, much like the Alps we passed through in Northern Italy. We were supposed to catch a train directly from Lausanne to Paris, but it was fully booked. We were able to book a train from Geneva so we knew our time in Lausanne was limited. We decided to hike up to the Lausanne Notre-Dame. We stopped at some church on the way, St. Michaels or whatever. We heard an Oomp Pah Pah (who knows what they are really called) in a park near the cathedral. It was so hot, the sun was killing us, and we were wearing our backpacks climbing an asphalt mountain made for a welcome arrival at the top. We enjoyed the hike back down to the station to head off for Geneva.
We had limited time at Geneva as well. We walked over and saw the famous Jet d’Eau and enjoyed what little comfort the breeze brought to us from it. It just made us want to jump into the water for some salvation from the heat. We walked through the park to see the flower clock, which all these watch-makers got together to show their prowess. This massive clock set in a flower bed. However, it was more than 6 hours off, not one of the hands was on the right time. Watch making prowess must have been a think of the past. We then walked up to Saint Peter’s Cathedral where we toured where John Calvin taught. The University of Geneva is right next door. It was all very fascinating. We then had to make our way back down to the train station so we could head off to Paris.
The ride to Paris could have been better. We ended up in an assigned seat going backwards. Plus this train was going much faster than the other trains we have been riding on it and it swayed back and forth. I got sea sick on a train! Boy was I glad when we got to land. I wasn’t feeling well.
The next few days in Paris were a blur. It was miserably hot, again, for the first two days. We walked loads and both of us ended up with blisters on our feet. Probably more from the swelling of our feet rubbing. I was fortunate enough to get blisters between my big and index toes on both feet. Amanda got them on top from her flip flops. But it was quite the couple of days in Paris. We hit all the big sites, except the Pantheon. Arc de Triumphe, Place de la Concorde, Place de la Bastille, Champs-Elysees, Montmarte, L’Opera, Saint Denis Cathedral, Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, Louvre, Tuileries Gardens, Invalides, Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame de Paris, and Palais Versailles. I am sure that is not even a full list. But we saw them, and much of Paris in between.
Since it is late here, only a few highlights. Amanda got to see the sun set from the top of the Eiffel Tower on the longest day of the year. I was there too. How romantic is that? We had a fancy, full french meal before ascending the Eiffel’s nearly 700 steps to the second state. Mine included deep fried turkey and marinated (basically pickled) red peppers. I probably could have done without the peppers. My baklava was amazing!
We climbed more than 1000 steps between Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower in one day. On other days we climbed mont marte and a whole list of other stairs. Add to that the oppressive heat, and some days we were about as good as dead when we got back to our hotel room. Our hotel had no air conditioning!
We enjoyed French pastries every morning and every time Amanda would let us.
We did see the Venis d’ Milo and Mona Lisa, along with scores too many of other artworks.
The Metro of Paris is wonderful. We could get to nearly anywhere in relative comfort. However, some of them were hot and the air hung with a motor oil smell and greasiness.
We are glad to be back Oostrozebeke, Belgium for a day of laundry and relaxing. Thursday we fly out for Glasgow. Britain, here we come!
We have uploaded all our pictures for the past few dazs! Go on over and take a peek! The photos from Brugge, Amsterdam, The Hague, Dresden, Meißen, Roßwein, and Leipzig are all now available. We are especiallz glad to have them online and saved at another location.
Todaz we said good-bze to our hostel in Dresden and made our waz to Augsburg. Since were so close to the Andra-Schneider familz area, we made a special trip to Roßwein where several generations of mz familz are from. Unfortunatelz the church was locked the whole time we were there, nobodz at town hall spoke English, and the cemeteries in Germanz do not keep the burial location for those whose familz do not paz for it. Other than having been there, I have nothing more.
We found our waz to Leipzig where we took a quick 1 hour whirlwind tour. We went to the church where Bach was organ master and also the church where his remains are presentlz located (the original church was destrozed in WWII).
We are now in Augsburg, Deutschland. We will be here for the next three dazs. Here we will make visits to Neuschwanstein, Munich, Dachau, Stuttgart, and other little towns with relatives on the Wanner and Nuffer families. I am definitelz looking forward to all. We will be traveling quite a bit on trains, but nothing we are not accustomed to zet!
Second, we stopped in town to buz ourselves some sauerkraut and a wiener. Amanda went to the counter and asked two. The ladz seemed verz surprised. I was waiting, so I did not see this. Next thing I know, Amanda comes walking out of the store with these loaves of bread, more like oversized croissants. Each must have weighed at least 3 pounds! It was bread with the sauerkraut and wieners baked into the loaf. This was to be our breakfast and turned out to be our breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What is more? We still have half of one left!!!! But hez, for onlz 3€ ($5) it was a prettz good buz. Amanda’s first trz at sauerkraut is going to be a verz memorable moment!
On to the daz. We decided to sleep in to the ripe time of 7:30 this morning. The sun comes up and goes down so late zou can’t reallz sleep when it is dazlight. Great for touring and traveling, bad for sleeping in. We got readz for the daz, tried to take care of some issues over e-mail with our potential home and other things and headed out.
We went to Meißen. It is the birthplace of Karl Maeser, and also happens to be the birthplace of mz great grandfather, William Andra. I had to paz a visit. We walked the streets, and ascended the hill to the DOM and Albrechtsburg Kasse (castle). Fascinating. We also walked around and paid a visit to the Porcelain Factorz. The first porcelain in Europe. Some of mz Andra ancestors are supposed to be some of those locked into the basement of the Albrechtsburg Castle to not let the secret of porcelain out to the world. I cannot link mzself with a hard paperwork, but since mz line are Andrä’s in Meißen and since some of them were Andrä’s in Meißen, whz not? (It is reallz cool I can spell the Andrä name with the umlaut!)
We then went to the church I thought was the one thez would have attended, but I reallz doubted it was it when I arrived. I have a picture, and in mz mind thez did not match up.
The porcelain factorz was amaying! Zou will have to see pictures to believe it. There were table pieces larger than Amanda in height! There were vases from the 1700′s larger than me! Onlz something to be seen to believe.
Amanda’s poor feet could not take well the long dazs of traveling and rebelled against her todaz. She will have calluses the thickness of regular shoes when we are done traipsing around the continent.
There was a highlight, we bought an e’clair at the train station. Tomorrow we are headed to Augsburg, near Munich. We will also hit Dachau.
As I sit in an internet cafe in the middle of Amsterdam, my entry will have to be short and sweet.
This morning we found ourselves wandering around Brugge, Belgium. We snapped a few photos, and caught a train back to Antwerp. Then we jumped trains and headed to Nederlands.
We found ourselves a hostel this morning and checked in this evening about 6 PM. We walked all the way from the station to our little hostel up near a quaint little eating district. I cannot remember the street we are on nor how to spell it so you will just have to take our word for it. Our ventures here took us through the Red Light District! Who would have thought? It wasn’t that bad, I don’t think we were in the heart of it. Just a few naughty souvenirs in the store fronts, oh, and a few leather stores.
After checking in we went for a walk around the city. We found the Anne Frank house, which happens to be under construction, or the facade is. We got a picture of the sign and that was about it. There was a Holland Footie game tonight against an unknown opponent. Don’t know if they won or not but there is a party going on in the streets.
We stopped on a quiet little street to enjoy an Indian meal. Who would have thought I would be sitting at a sidewalk cafe with my wife in Amsterdam eating khorma with the bellows of the crowds from the bars at every little quirk of the game. Then again, my life has always been enchanted. What next?