Tuesday, July 25, 2017

BELFAST


Expat tours

If you do a 7 day tour around a country of course you can't see everything in details. It just gives you an overview of things to see or to do if you want to come back later.

Our tour started in Belfast, and I really liked the city. We had a local guide who walked with us through the city center and explained Belfast history.



He was a very funny guy with a charming Irish accent and ever since I call a battlefield a bottlefield.



The highlight of the walking tour was the City Hall, a beautiful building !





from the inside



and beautiful stained glasses which for once had no religious themes.

In front of the city hall was a nice park full of people who relaxed there in the sunshine. 









From the city hall he took us for a walk through Belfast.




I liked the colored houses





He showed us the first Presbytarian Church, also from inside, unfortunately it was too dark to take pictures.



We continued our stroll and I discovered a restaurant where you could eat fresh garbage !





There were lots of Pubs and Restaurants





Narrow cute little streets, where you also could eat and drink



A lot of graffiti or mural art



The music hall



and a nice sculpture near the City Hall.



The buses in Belfast were pink, which gave the streets a cheerful look







I was glad that there were so many old buildings left and not replaced by ugly new built.



A little coffee kiosk, I would have loved to take a cup here, but unfortunately we had no time.

We ended our walk here and got in the coach again to the famous murals.

Belfast city has a unique past after coming out of 35 years of conflict. Northern Ireland has become famous for the murals painted in almost every area of the country. These pictures of murals are often flashed around the world on news bulletins or used as a backdrop when interviewing people. They often depict the history and political views of both traditions and are a way of marking territory. These wall paintings often look intimidating



Our bus found a parking space and I saw the long wall with the murals.




Each of us got a pen to leave a text or a design for the eternity.




There were so many !

This ended our tour in Belfast, which I had enjoyed very much !



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

DERRY OR LONDONDERRY

The names of the city and county of Derry or Londonderry in Northern Ireland are still the subject of a naming dispute between Irish nationalists (mostly Catholics) and unionists (mostly protestants). Generally, nationalists favour using the name Derry, and unionists using Londonderry. Legally, the city's name is Derry. But apparently the dispute about the name is still not finished because both names are used. To me it always had been Londonderry as the UK calls it and now I learned something new, but it is still confusing, even Wikipedia is not sure, if you ask for Londonderry, you get "Derry".

From Londonderry or Derry we haven't seen very much during my tour around Ireland. It was raining and the town looked even sad without rain. There were many wall paintings full of hatred, still concerning the "Bloody Sunday". On Sunday 30 January 1972, 13 unarmed civilians were shot dead by British paratroopers during a civil rights. Another 13 were wounded and one further man later died of his wounds. This event came to be known as Bloody Sunday.

In the 70th I remember that we discussed everyday the situation in my office. But I had thought that it was over now. Indeed it is or at least it seems so, but I had the impression that the city is like a volcano and the lava is still boiling. I thought how sad it is that people fight against each other. Now we have the Muslims extremists ! They are all the same and fight in the name of God !

Despite the rain we stopped at the Walls of Derry. Derry/Londonderry is the last remaining completely walled city in Ireland. The Walls were built during the period 1613-1618.

We climbed up the steps and had a wonderful view over whole Derry or Londonderry you have the choice. 




















Monuments in honour of the victims of the Bloody Sunday




"Free Derry Corner" at the corner of Lecky Road and Fahan Street in the Bogside.






and there are more ! Due to the rain I had to "steal" these photos from Google images



If you want to read the whole history of Derry/Londonderry it is here



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

THE "NEW" ABBEY OF VILLERS LA VILLE

There was a medical flower exhibition in the Abbey of Villers la Ville . It was a beautiful day and my friend who is very interested in these kind of flowers wanted to see this exhibition.

To my surprise the Abbey entrance which had been a door, leading into a little room to buy the entrance tickets and then immediately into the ruins, had completely changed. Since June 14, 2016 there is a new one very interesting, click here New entrance and pathway




The view over the abbey which you never had before unless you would have taken an helicopter, is now there just in front of you and it is indeed very impressive 



I couldn't take pictures of the little shop and counter it was too dark, but this thick book in Latin was displayed at the entrance.

We took the lift and went to the 3rd floor where the wooden path started over the water for the mill



as you can see here



and the mill over the street down into the ruins.



A view from the path



Then we entered the













There was also a photo exhibition from about fifteen professional photographers, European (including Belgian) and African photographers. These photographers - plastic artists and / or photojournalists - tell the stories and the stakes of regions of the world unknown by their objectives.



This was my favourite picture !







It was wonderful to walk through the ruins which seem to whisper their secrets. On large grass spaces there were picnic tables for people who want to spend the whole day here.



There was also an exhibition of dolls, always the same but painted by different painters, for hospitalized children in the world.



I choose the pirate and Ilona loved this doll

After nearly 2 hours of walking around, we left and had a beer in the Brasserie opposite of the Abbey.




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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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