Recent Pictures - Feldore McHugh

  • I See EU

    London

  • A little cafe in the centre of Ghent served this delicious Flemish beef stew with frites. Even the mayonnaise was fantastic. And the dark beer was great, too.

  • Back in Ghent - this pub, Dulle Griet (named after a nearby 15th Century canon), apparently serves 500 types of beer. One type comes in a special glass - you have to give one of your shoes to order it, and don't get it back until the glass is returned. Just don't try and order drinks at the bar - not the done thing here, apparently (I got totally ignored and, judging from reviews on TripAdvisor, it's not an uncommon experience).

  • This was the apartment I'd rented out; it was beautifully done inside and looked out on one of the canals. Everything was very minimalistic - none of the cupboards had any handles, you had to push them to get them to open. In fact it was a bit too minimalistic - it took me a while to track down the fridge, then I couldn't find any cutlery! A text to the owner eventually established that they were hidden away in a drawer within a cupboard. D'oh! I was delighted to find that, for some reason, BBC1 was one of the channels on the television, so I could watch the Wednesday night episode of The Apprentice and not have to avoid seeing who got fired for a week. “Allo, Allo” seemed to be on permanently on one of the other channels.

  • How I felt after one frite too many! Waffles, beer and frites do not make for a healthy diet! I absolutely loved my stay in Ghent. I thought it was such a brilliant city, beautiful architecture and with a really laidback atmosphere (nicer than Bruges, I thought). I hope to be back again some day soon.

  • Yes, it’s Brussels! I stopped off on my way back from Ghent (quite sad to be leaving).

  • W B Yeats (or someone who looks like him) really seems to be enjoying whatever it is he’s doing here; a stone carving in the Grand Place in Brussels.

  • Everyone zips about on bicycles in Ghent. In fact it’s quite dangerous - you had to keep looking out for approaching bikes and trams.

  • Keeping an eye on the baked goods.

  • In the Patershoi area of Ghent - this used to be a bit of a slum area but has now been revitalised. It was a great place to wander around. And of course there’s a bicycle propped up in just the right place.

  • On Sunday morning I was awoken from my peaceful slumbers by the mysterious sound of many birds squawking somewhere nearby. I had no idea where it was coming from until I looked out the window and could see that there was a bird market in the square across the road (it’s only there on Sundays). The geese in the cage made me think of a painting by Bruegel; the man in the picture has just put one in the cardboard box for a buyer.

  • The Last Post at the Menin Gate, a very moving event. The town has been doing this every evening since the 1920s, apart from the German occupation during the Second World War. There was a substantial crowd for the ceremony, approaching a thousand people, I would guess.

  • The Menin Gate at dusk. The Last Post was at 8pm so I retired to a little bar right beside the Menin Gate and read through a book of World War One poetry that I'd just bought in the war museum here. Reading the words of the soldiers ("We are the Dead...") here made it all the more poignant.

  • A war cemetery near the Menin Gate. This cemetery had a section where Maori soldiers were buried. It was striking how the dead had come from all four corners of the planet, to die in this one place.

  • “They Shall Not Grow Old”. The drops of rain reminded me of tears.

  • So many names - over 50,000 in fact. What a complete waste.

  • As my brother Declan said, seeing an actual picture of one of the soldiers made it feel very real.

  • The inscription - composed by Rudyard Kipling- reads: “To the armies of the British Empire who stood here from 1914 to 1918 and to those of their dead who have no known grave”

  • The peaceful scene today is a sharp contrast to how the town would have looked 100 years ago. Photographs from the time show complete and utter devastation. Click on 2 below to continue...

  • A road runs right though the Menin Gate.

  • Shot at dawn; someone had left this at the Menin Gate. Herbert Burden was shot for desertion in July 1915, at the age of 17, the youngest soldier to be executed by the British Army. In 2006 he was given a posthumous pardon by the British government.

  • On Saturday I took the train to Ypres, to see the Menin Gate, the war memorial to British and Commonwealth soldiers killed here during the First World War (the Ypres salient was the scene of three major battles during the war, including Passchendaele). This shop was near the memorial. Ypres was completely destroyed in the First World War, with hardly a building standing at the end. Everything there today had to be rebuilt.

  • This seemed to be another Belgian thing; cushions with vaguely unsettling pictures of animals.

  • The Ghent version of Big Ben.

  • The Groot Vleeshuis, a market used in the Middle Ages to sell meat, and now a delicatessen. Those are real joints hanging from the ceiling.

  • And more!

  • More reflections....

  • The brooding castle in the centre of Ghent, Het Gravensteen; even the name sounded sinister.

  • All ages take to their bicycles in Ghent.

  • As someone said, bicycles always seem to be left in the most photogenic locations.

  • Lovely Autumnal light in the afternoon, walking by one of the canals.

  • This was in a very eclectic antiques shop, which seemed to sell a bit of everything. Not quite sure what you would do with this.

  • In the window of an antiques shop. These shops seemed to have a lot of religious items.

  • Ornately decorated houses in the Kraanlei area of Ghent. The house on the left has panels illustrating various acts of mercy (visiting the sick, burying the dead, and so on). The house on the right has panels illustrating the five senses.

  • Back in Ghent the following day I enjoyed potteriing around the atmospheric streets. I loved the reflections of the buildings in the canals.

  • Medieval paintings in the crypt of the cathedral. Otherwise the crypt seemed to be filled with a rather random collection of ecclesiastical junk (some great paintings, though).

  • Inside the cathedral, Saint Baafskathedraal. The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb was in a little side chapel (no photographs allowed, unfortunately). There was an impressive painting by Rubens in a chapel on the left.

  • St. Bonifaciusburg bridge again, by night. With slightly fewer tourists taking selfies, thankfully.

  • Bruges by night. Like Ghent, when dusk fell and the lights came on the town took on another ethereal kind of beauty.

  • Colourful buildings in the centre of Bruges; Christmas decorations were starting to go up.

  • I was surprised how many religious statues I saw in Bruges and other Belgian cities; Belgium is a very Catholic country (the breakdown of Christian religions is something like 99% Catholic, 1% Protestant).

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