Local Heart, Global Soul

December 15, 2017

They Seem To Have Their Heads In The Clouds…

Filed under: BELGIUM,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It seems to be my lucky day for new finds, wierd and wonderful sights. Driving through just a few short kilometres of Belgium on our way back to the area around Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, I come accross one of the strangest things I have ever seen.

I mean a real, mouth open “what the heck is going on here?” kind of moment.

Even looking at the photographs later on I still can’t even begin to answer this question.

This is what I looked up to see on the roof of somebody’s home.

I was keeping an eye out for decorative weather vanes to photograph, but this doesn’t appear to be one at all, then again, what on earth is it?

Does a metorologist live here perhaps?

Do the inhabitants have their heads in the clouds? or walk around on cloud nine? There has to be some sort of story behind this getting made. A joke? A pun? So many questions. I took several photographs as we passed by, hoping to see something that might solve this mystery. I still have no clue at all.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 13, 2017

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread? …

Filed under: BELGIUM,FOOD,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Still inside the supermarket of yesterday’s post I now see a second thing I have never seen before: a machine where customers can slice their own bread.

A different form of the slicer is less unusual, most Dutch barkeries have them, you select your whole loaf and if you don’t want to slice it yourself at home, then you ask the bakery staff to cut it for you on the machine behind the counter.

What is completely different about these two machines is that customers slice their bread themselves: it even has adjustments where you can choose various thicknesses, you choose which setting you want, slice the loaf and then the bag slips over the metal bar that the bread is standing on and everything slides into the bag in one smooth go.

Perfect! I love this idea, the fact that there are two machines and not one must also mean that these get plenty of use.

It would also save time, no need to stand in a queue waiting to have your bread sliced. I think that the main reason bread is only sliced at point of sale is: some people prefer to cut their loaf at home, others not so this saves having two uncut when maybe one customer wants cut the other not, and the uncut bread stay fresher for longer since less air gets around the bread to dry it out. If a household uses less bread they may prefer to slice it as they need it. It’s a way to save waste too, you stock the bread in a form where it can be sold either way then let the customer choose their preference.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 12, 2017

Supermarket Traffic Lights…

Filed under: BAARLE Hertog/Nassau,BELGIUM,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whenever Himself and I cross borders into a different country, we are agreed on one shopping destination: the local supermarket so that we can avail ourselves of some of that countries culinary delights.

This was therefore on our wish list when we went to Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog earlier in the year.

This should be easy since Baarle-Hertog is Belgian territory inside the Netherlands, they should have a supermarket, right? Wrong.

We looked but saw only Dutch supermarket names, so we asked and were greeted with a laugh and the answer: “A Belgian supermarket in Baarle-Hertog? … it would go out of business rather quickly … the Dutch supermarket prices are far better than the Belgian ones, everyone on the other side of the border comes here to Baarle to do their weekly grocery shopping!

It’s logical of course, and very Flemish! (but then, who doesn’t like a bargain?). Luckily whilst en route to our next destination we found that we had crossed the border by accident (yes, lost again) and passed this supermarket. Knowing that it’s hard to even find a petrol station or a bakery open on a Sunday in Belgium and that shops would be shutting earlier than usual on the Saturday afternoon, we said OK, let’s get in there quick before they start shutting up shop for the day.

This is the first thing that greeted once past the supermarket trolley collection area by the entrance; swing doors that lit up like traffic signals! The reason is simple: this is both the entrance and exit door and this is a good way to direct customers with their trolleys coming in and out. Ingenious!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 11, 2017

Architectural Detail All Over Town…

Himself and I continue our car tour of the area around Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog. I take lots of photographs for my “architectural detail” archive files.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 10, 2017

Charm, Character And Differences…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During our driving tour around the district of Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, I spotted quite a few interesting looking churches.

Traffic in some areas prevented us pulling over so that I could get some more agreeable compositions, so I did my best from out of the window.

A strange sort of canopy adorned the bottom section of one of the town churches, I can’t quite make out if it’s temporary and there whilst renovations are done or if it’s been added to the tower as a permanent safety measure (falling bits??).

It certainly makes for an interesting and memorable feature.

The brickwork and styles of the churches I saw were many and varied: the steeples different and each with a charm and character of their own.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 2, 2017

Chickens In The Park And Maybe A Rude Statue…

Close to the large brick building in yesterday’s post we come across a small park. Two things catch my attention right away; first the fact that there are chickens pecking away on the grass, and secondly, the statue there. Either I have an unusually dirty mind or is it that there is a phallic resemblance to this? This is the second statue/ piece of ornament in Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog to draw this resemblance, What is it with this town and phallic looking items? Or has modern art taken a strange new twist?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 1, 2017

Brick Is Beautiful.

Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, where I discover a building where brick is beautiful.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 25, 2017

Eighteenth Century Buildings And Internet Connections…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Finding a building a few centuries old is far from difficult in The Netherlands, and when old and new buildings need to be connected it’s also not unusual for the connecting section to be of modern materials and style.

Old buildings are generally protected by special regulations, ones that stipulate that renovations and repairs must be done with period specific materials so for instance: walls are patched with the same type of mortar or as close to it, that the original builders would have used.

It’s therefore very much out of the ordinary to find and old building that had some extremely modern windows installed, which is what I found when I rounded the corner of the old building across the street from our hotel in Baarle-Nassau earlier this year.

Clearly this building is attached to the complex that consists of the new “Stadhuis” (Town Hall) but this is only visible from the rear. I have therefore stumbled upon the new Town Hall entrance, drawn here by curiosity to see the other end of the building I admired in yesterdays post. It’s hard to believe from looking at this end that it is even the same building. I was also drawn by the statue in front of the building, a modern piece, maybe not my style but interesting just the same.

Luckily it was so close I got photographs of it on different days, especially since my first photos in the rain were a tad dark. I tried to figure out what this statue might represent but found no obvious answer. Someone has added a little smiley face on one side of the piece, I thought it gave the idea of a happy little stingray, but again this piece could be any form that your imagination could fancy. Next to the new Town Hall entrance is an other new building, my guess is that it needed to be built because; putting new windows into an old building is one thing, trailing wires around it to hook up your internet was probably a step too far.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 21, 2017

Baarle’s Old Town Hall, And Sails Through The Air…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On the corner of the “T” intersection opposite the “Den Engel” (The Angel) Hotel, stands the old ‘Stadhuis’ (Town Hall).

Since I have a small obsession with weather vanes, I photographed this one quite a lot (please endulge me) after all what’s not to like when wrought iron and art come together?

This weather vane depicts a little sailing vessel navigating a rough sea, the black ironwork supplemented with gold highlights.

Not only is the building an imposing structure, I find the tower to be a wonderful piece of architecture too.

Both were difficult at first to photograph from close by and I only the next day found a better vantage point from across the street when we approached from the other direction.

An information board on the side of the Stadhuis tells us: “Baarle is one village. Baarle-Hertog is part of Belgium and is 748 hectares in area. This consists of a village centered around a church called Zondereigen and 21 enclaves surrounded by Dutch soil.  Baarle-Nassau is Dutch and has a total area of 7.638 hectares. This consists of the core of Baarle-Nassau with seven counter-enclaves (an enclave within an enclave) and one enclave surrounded by Belgian soil, the hamlet of Castelre  and the church village of Ulicoten. And finally there is a little piece of no-mans land of about 1.18 hectares. Baarle has grown from a settlement that already existed in 54 A.D. when Caesar came here. The  the name of Baarle appears for the first time in a deed in which Countess Hilsondis bequeathed all of her possessions on the 1st June 992 to the Abby of Thorn.”

The weather varied considerably even throughout the length of one day, but we were lucky most of the time and kept more or less dry. Taking the wheelchair we went back and forth around the center of town so these are a compilation of photos taken during our stay.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)[/

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 20, 2017

A Sure Sign That Simple Things Amuse Simple Minds…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There’s a well known expression: “Simple things amuse simple minds“, and if that is true, then it means that I am very simple indeed.

I take pleasure in everyday thing, utilitarian things.

Sometimes it’s just a shadow,  texture, colour or form, I can find beauty in some of the most simple objects.

In yesterdays post it was a stack of cloth serviettes and the style of the seats by the bar that caught my eye, but regular readers will know that I find even the decorations on humble man-hole covers in the street fascinating.

Todays post is also about something simple: street signs, and especially one in particular.

The hotel we are staying at in located on one of the corners of  a “T” shaped intersection.

At the center of this intersection are signs giving directions to other places. Modern intersections would have placed three separate signs around the location, one for each direction leading towards this point and each of those would have directions for the other two locations.  This sign fascinates me because it has the feel of an old sign post, the sort that wayfarers on foot or horseback would have found a century or more ago. The  added bonus is a small decoration on the top: a wheel with wings either side. It’s not a local emblem that I can find (emblems here feature a Bishop with a mitre and staff, and the coat of arms features three golden bales). I don’t know where this winged wheel comes from but I like it. Maybe it means “safe travels” ? Who knows. As the saying goes, “Simple things amuse simple minds”. Consider me amused.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This sign is a “no entry” sign, but says there is an exemption for bikes and broomers (moped).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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