Local Heart, Global Soul

June 4, 2013

Winching Out the Historical Heavyweights…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Mechelen,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have a few photographs from Mechelen that I didn’t really feel fitted in with any of my posts so far… but I also didn’t want to leave them out.

The first was a photograph on the same information board as the information for the Duivelshuis, Het Paradijs and Sint Joseph’s houses, which depicted a crane. Not a crane in any recognisable form as we might know it today, this “contraption” is clearly both huge and heavy, so I was stunned to read that it was traditionally operated by children. I know that  child labour has a very long and often shameful history throughout centuries past, but surely this one takes the cake?

I only have to think of my own children’s skinny little limbs to shudder at the thought of them being expected to work on docks unloading ships. The text that accompanies the photograph reads:

“Crane Bridge. As the name suggests this was the site of a crane. It was built of wood in the fifteenth century. Operated by the “crane children”, it was used to unload ships. It was demolished in 1887. Before that, in the Middle Ages there had been a footbridge here, followed by a stone bridge. The present-day metal swing bridge dates from 1986.”

Then there are the shoe scrapers… they were used to scrape the mud off your shoes before entering the house and I’ve often seen them in Europe as metal attachments to walls, often in lovely wrought iron forms, but this is the very first time I’ve ever seen one embedded into the wall itself.

Lastly there are the banners, …at first I had no clue who the medieval lady might be, or indeed that it might be a representation of any real person at all, but after my research  it all becomes clear, this is of course the heroine of Mechelen: Margaret of Austria.  I was delighted to read that when the main cities of Belgium were asked to pick someone famous from their history to be their “emblem”  and “representitive” that Mechelen alone chose a woman, and a most eminently noteworthy one at that. Bravo!

(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)

January 23, 2012

Making Wishes, to be the Tallest?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m still taking you with me on our Duck Tour in the city of Singapore.

As we come into the Marina Bay, and cast our eyes toward the famous Singapore Merlion that stands on the other side we are fascinated by the presence of thousands of white balls floating in the water.

They are roped off by a series of buoys (and I think nets) and the Duck Boats don’t venture very close to them but clearly I’m not the only one wondering what all of these balls are for before just as I’m about to ask, another tourist gets in before me and asks the guide if these are artworks or…?

It turns out that before the Chinese New Year (today,  January 23,  2012)  people can pay for one of these balls and on them they write wishes that they hope to come true. It appears that the bigger the ball you purchase the bigger you wish can be.

So, what you see before you are many thousands of wishes that the residents of Singapore have made.  To any of you who celebrate the lunar New Year today, I wish you a very Happy New Year and I hope that  you have some wonderful festive New Year celebrations with your friends and family and that all of your wishes come true.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

So what else is there to see in the bay? Our Duck Tour guide also tells us that  the next building:  the five-star, Swissôtel The Stamford, is the tallest hotel in the world.

There are other buildings that have hotels in them that are taller, but apparently this one is the tallest that houses soley a hotel and where the space is not combined with commercial office premises etc.

At 226 meters (741 feet) I had troubles to get it all into the photograph when we travelled close to it on the road, but when out on the water we got a better view. Wiki tells me that it has 1,261 rooms and suites, 16 restaurants and bars, Raffles City Convention Centre, and one of Asia’s largest Spas.

For me, I find the 11 or so stories of the Rasa Sentosa quite high enough… I’m still making up my mind if I were ever in a room on the upper floors of this hotel, if making up in the morning to the view outside would be a dreamy experience or one of my scariest nighmeres. Jury is out on this one.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There is also an outdoor stadium that seats 20.000 people…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… and something that had Little Mr. pointing and getting all hot and bothered about… the clear highlight of the day for a six year old boy is, naturally:  a crane lifting a boat out of the water… (I was under strict orders to get the photographic evidence and to post the proof of this wondrous event in my blog) He may live to regret this demand when he’s 18 and I’m looking for suitable blackmail material to keep him in line.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Blog at WordPress.com.