Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beautiful Breda

We visited Breda to inspect a missionary apartment, and couldn't resist exploring a little while we were there.  This is the Breda Castle.  It is a huge complex that takes up about 3 city blocks.  It was once the headquarters of William the Silent, Prince of Orange, who lead the revolt against Spain to regain Holland's independence.

This is part of the original moat that surrounded the castle.  The two large round buildings were gun towers. It is said to be the gate through which a peat barge concealing 70 soldiers, sailed into the city to do battle with the Spaniards.

Crossing the bridge we enter the center of the Old City, established in 1252.

The canal surrounding the old section of town was lined with boats and other watercrafts.

The castle is home to the Dutch Royal Military Academy.  It is only open to visitors if accompanied by a VVV guide - which we didn't have.  We had to content ourselves with views of the perimeter.

As with every Dutch city, there is a Grote Kerk (Great Church) in the 'centrum'.  This church took 150 years to build.  The church tower is one of the most beautiful  in the Netherlands, and also one of its tallest (97 meters).  There are 45 bells in the carillon that ring out over the city on Tuesday and Friday mornings.

It was a cold, rainy day in Breda.  Even with my raincoat on, it was chilly because of the piercing wind.

In the heart of the old city there is a shopping mecca.

Many sidewalk tables were visible, but because of the cool day, they weren't attracting any takers.  Later in the summer this part of the centrum is flooded with visitors.

We loved walking through the narrow, winding streets.  Small shops lined both sides, with apartments above for the owners.

Many of the streets were 'pedestrian only'.  People could walk right down the middle of the road without worrying about cars.  Of course bicycles are permitted everywhere.

We stepped inside the Grote Kerk for a few minutes.  There were huge, stained-glass windows and very high arched ceilings supported by large columns.  It was quite beautiful, but VERY cold.  I can't imagine how they can heat these extremely large buildings.

More vaulted ceilings.  Beautiful....  The ceiling was much lovelier than the ground level of the church.  I can understand why not many Dutchmen attend church regularly.  The small wooden chairs provided in the chapels were not designed for comfort.

Some kind of official government building.  My Dutch isn't good enough to translate the words on the facade.

We found a little sandwich shop to stop for a quick lunch - (inside, of course.)

Our visit to Breda must be drawn to a close.  We have an appointment to meet the sister missionaries in Antwerpen to look at the JoVo centrum in the Antwerpen chapel.  Better hit the road.

AH!  Yes   -   We passed another beautiful windmill along the way. 

"Okay," you ask, "Why would you take a picture of a wall?"  Well, this is actually the stage that has been enclosed by a permanent wall where the front curtain used to be.  It has been turned into a very lovely meeting room for the Young Single Adults.  We're hoping to make the stage in the Amsterdam building look as nice. 

The center from the opposite direction.  It has several comfortable sofas, some tables, and an alcove for the flat screen TV and other things that are used in JoVo activities.

Just one more view.  They have done a lovely job.  If we can create something this nice in Amsterdam the young people will have a very inviting place to hold their FHE and Institute classes.

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