Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Brugge and Gent, Belgium

Brugge has an annual ice sculpture event. This year they had a fantasy theme. We stood in line for probably an hour and a half to get in. The actual 'freezer' where the sculptures are is -6 degrees! Our toes where like ice blocks even with 2 pairs of socks!

To warm our bodies up after being in sub temperatures for about half an hour, we set off to Gent . The sun was setting and Jimmy caught this beautiful sunset.
One of the Catherdrals in Gent, there are 3 or 4 next to each other.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

To all our family and friends all over the world, Merry Christmas! This may be late but we wish you all a blessed year ahead. We spent our Christmas in Belgium with Pa and Ma De Troch and family. We enjoyed a christams dinner on Christmas Eve and then spend Christmas Day in Brugge, Belgium.

Brugge is a flemish town which has similarities to Venice in the sense that it has many canals and bridges. In the Catherdral as seen below is the original marble carving by Michelangelo of the 'Madonna and child', the only marble carving outside of Italy.

That evening we went to the Atonium for a movie, Jimmy took this spectacular photograph.

Friday, 21 December 2007


Monday 16th, we left Charleroi Airport (Begium) at 6am. Our excitement grew when we flew over the Alpes - what a magnificant view! One just marvels at the Lord's creation and imagination! Arrived at Treviso Airport , Italy at around 8am. We bought our return bus tickets to Venice as well as our bus-boat tickets.

We arrived in Venice and took the bus-boat to San Marco, where we found our way to our hotel. Having checked in at 10h30 am (16th), we had the whole day to start exploring. We were provided with a map, showing our hotel's position and all the major attractions that they suggested we try and see. With that we set off...

For those who have never been to Venice, it is devided into 6 ancient districts: Cannaregio, Santa Croce, San Polo, Dorsoduro, San Marco and Castello. These make up central Venice. There are 2 other islands, Burano and Murano. On central Venice, the alley ways are the side access ways for deliveries to the hotels and houses. There are numerous small bridges connecting all the blocks. So one can begina t one point and if you are fit enough you can walk to right around the whole of central Venice.

Canal Grande runs through central Venice and is the main 'highway'.
With us, Tannie Annetjie and Doc (taking the picture), Karen and Charl.
This is the Rialto bridge, the major bridge that connects the districts over the canal grande. It is also the market area, where fresh fruits and vegetables are sold every morning. Just over the bridge on the left are all small shops with curios, masks, glass ornaments etc at very reasonable prices (one must just shop around).

Look out from Rialto bridge.
Let me just say that we had beautiful weather the full 3 days we were there, however, the temperature was between -2 and 0 degrees (with real feel of around -4), so whenever it got just a bit too chilly walking around, we would pop into a coffee shop for a cuppa or hot chocolate (which is melted chocolate!).

Considering Venice is an old city, one can appreciate the beauty of the old buildings and architecture that distinguishes the different eras that it has been influenced by.

The famous Gondals, are very expensive (80 euros), so we took a 50 cent one way crossing over the canal grande!

17th, our hotel arranged a water taxi to the Island of Murano. This island is where the glass factories are. It was great fun, cold but at least we had indoor seating as well.

When we arrived at the factory, they were busy making a vase. We were shown the process from start to finish. Truely amazing and talented. This pic shows the almost finished product...which would be sold for quite a price too.

Who are these 2 senorita's?
There was a distinct difference to the buildings on Murano, mostly 2 storey buildings/houses.

Back to school????
We took the bus-boat out to Burano . A small beautiful island , the oldest of the Venician Islands. This is where lace is hand-made. Unfortuately there were no factories to see how they actually make it, but the small little shops were full of all the varieties of lace one can think of.

The sun set very evening around 16h30, and what beautiful sunsets we experienced every night. Truely romantic.

Our last day was spent at the Bassilica and Lido. Pictures do not justice to the height of the tower.

The famous Bridge of Sighs, a replica of which is found in Oxford, England. This is where the court house is on the left and the prison is n the right. Both are now part of the museum. 'last walk of freedom' so to speak.

Lido is also one of the Venician islands, where one can actually get to a sandy beach. Enjoying the sunshine and slightly warmer temperature of 2 degrees (real free probably 0 or -1).

Tannie Annetjie actually took off her tekkies (trainers) and socks, rolled up her trousers and put her feet in the sea. (typical Transvaaler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Sights from Belgium and Germany

We flew out of Edinburgh Friday morning 7am arrived at heathrow at 8am. Whilst waiting for ou rconecig flight to Brussels we walked around and enjoyed a lovely breakfast. We then flew out to Brussels at 13hoo and arrived at 15h00 Brussels time (i.e and hour behind SA). We went to the Flemish church Sabbath morning as the children had a special christmas program. Below are some photos of the children and the church. The church is in the conference building which also consists of Adra, a French congregation, a Flemish congregation and an International (English) congregation. We attended the Flemish congregation and what an interesting day! See if you can make out what the sermon was about........

Our afternoon walk to the park, Brussels.