Church of our Lady Hanswidj

Mechelen is a city of many historic churches, eight are promoted as places worthy a visit. We each picked a church of our wish list, for Mr C it was Church of our Lady Hanswidj and for me it was Beguinage Church and between us we decided to include Church of Our Lady Across the Dyle.

After breakfast our first port of call was Church of our Lady Hanswidj.  From the outside it doesn’t look much because it is surrounded by buildings.   The inside is spectacular  and we felt blessed that we were able to visit.  The church is closing for restoration at the beginning of April.  It will be closed for four years!

We then strolled through the botanic garden and saw the church from the other side.  We gradually made our way back to the town so that we could visit a chocolate shop to buy some gifts.

Church of our Lady Hanswidj

The lady in the chocolate shop was very helpful and she guided us through the differences between the boxes and chocolates within them.  All the boxes looked beautiful but the ones described as gift boxes held less chocolates.  She also helped us to choose a bespoke box of chocolates for someone who has nut allergies.

She asked how long we were staying and if we had seen the carnival which she explained was a local custom (mainly for the children).  She then went on to tell us about an excellent magazine (just published) that covered the places of interest and the history of Mechelen.  She regretted not being able to give us a copy because they had all been taken during the carnival.  She showed us her copy and it was the magazine I had picked up from the toy museum the previous day.

After dropping the chocolates off at the hotel we had lunch and then walked to the Beguinage church.  It is currently covered with scaffolding and not very inviting from the outside but inside it is full of amazing artworks and treasures.  As in the previous church the custodian was very proud of the church and keen to explain a few features in English. The literature only comes in Dutch (Flemish) and French.  We got by with the French version.  In both cases they were pleased to see us, they don’t get many English (British) visitors.

Beguinage Church

We then visited Church of Our Lady Across the Dyle.  We picked up a French leaflet to guide us round the church and I asked the custodian (who didn’t speak much English) if it was alright to take photographs.  He said yes and then rushed me across the whole length of the church at great speed.  I wondered where he was taking me…  A nice view perhaps? No… he took me to a place where I should not use flash and then he indicated that flash photography was allowable everywhere else.  For various reasons I never use flash for my photographs in churches and cathedrals.

Church of Our Lady Across the Dyle

We then made our way back to the hotel to freshen up before dinner, visiting a book shop along the way.  When I was back at the hotel I packed my case ready for departure the following morning. As I left the hotel for my evening meal a small bear hitched a ride in my bag…

Artuus (Arty)

After our evening meal we had the obligatory nightcap before retiring to bed.

8 Comments CherryPie on Apr 3rd 2014

8 Responses to “Mechelen – Day Four”

  1. Ginnie says:

    You are a bit like us, Cherry, choosing churches as your places of interest to see. We love seeing them!

  2. ubermouth says:

    I note that once in awhile a bear makes it’s appearance on your blog. Do you have a thing for bears? I do!

    Without a flash, how do you get such great ,detailed pics inside churches,Cherie?

    • CherryPie says:

      Bears have character ;-) I see them as a muse…

      This little one has picked up a tale from a previous holiday…

      http://www.cheriesplace.me.uk/blog/index.php/2010/11/12/a-room-with-a-bear/

      On that occasion there were no bear takers for travelling.

      On my recent visit to Mechelen one of the bears was not too happy about his residence in the hotel reception draw… He thought it might be fun to go travelling!

      You will have to ask Arty if travelling and adventure are fun ;-)

      Photos in churches depend upon the natural lighting. A sunny day is needed for perfect photos. I don’t use a tripod either so a steady is needed… The photos are me with my lens connecting with the day and the light. Most of my church photos work, but some of them don’t. The few that don’t leave me with the feeling… I need to go back to that place…

  3. This cathedral actually reminded me of Berliner Dom!?
    Not sure whether it’s the dome or the river around it or both. Ha ha :D

  4. james higham says:

    Classic opening line:

    The lady in the chocolate shop was very helpful …

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