Friday, August 26, 2011

A Trip to Middelburg

We were invited to spend the day with the Andersons traveling through the islands of Zeeland, south and west of Rotterdam.  These  islands were seriously flooded in 1953, about ten years before Elder Beckstrand served his first mission in The Netherlands.  A severe storm broke through a dike and the ocean poured through the breech drowning over 1800 people, and damaging homes and property to the tune of millions of dollars.

As a result of the devastation, the country initiated a huge storm barrier called the Delta Works. These huge concrete slabs close off the ocean's access to the dikes around the islands during storms so that they aren't in danger of being broken through by the waves.  It was an amazing feat, being called one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

The ocean was beautiful on this sunny, August morning.  Almost hard to believe that it can also be a killer.  Many places on these islands are actually below sea level - thus creating the need for dikes to hold back the water.

A beautiful windmill on our route.

We stopped at a small dorp (village) called Veere.  This was originally a fishing port. 

Lots of people were out enjoying the beautiful weather.  The sun hasn't been very friendly this summer.  Mostly it has  hidden behind lots of grey clouds.

This large tower stands on the wharf.  It was originally a fortress to protect the harbor from attack.  Slits in the sides of the walls show the places where those protecting the port could take shelter from invaders.

It was interesting to learn that Veere had exclusive rights to the Scottish wool trade.  The Lord of Veere married Mary, the daughter of James I of Scotland.  This alliance gave Veere special privileges to market wool throughout Europe during the 14th - 18th centuries. 

The typically Dutch architecture is a continual delight.

This building looked like some kind of official government agency. 

We next traveled to Middelburg where we walked to the town square.  The 15th Century Town Hall was prominant on the square.  This building was beautifully decorated with statues of prominent past statesmen. 

Another building on the square.

They certainly build their church buildings LARGE!  I can only assume that at some point there were actually people who went inside to worship.  Today it is mostly tourists who visit them.

It is pretty impressive to see what man was able to create in centuries past with only hand-made tools and equipment.

We walked through the city and enjoyed the ambiance.

This was a very picturesque well.

Another stately church. 

I will always associate this type of roof design with Holland. 

The churches try to outdo each other in size and prominence.

We were standing in front of the Town Hall when this wedding couple arrived to be married here.
Another prominent building on the square.

We looked and looked for the abbey.  After walking all round the center of the city, we finally stumbled onto it.  It was well worth the walk. 

Founded in 1120, this abbey housed the Norbertine religious order until 1574.  Since that time it has been home to the provincial government of Zeeland.

When we walked down this corridor it was like stepping back in time 6 or 7 centuries.  I could almost feel the postulates walking beside me in their long, black robes.

The roof was all constructed of bricks in a very intricate design.  The arches were high and beautifully crafted.

There was a lovely garden totally surrounded by the abbey buildings.

We loved the feeling of antiquity that we felt here. 

Time to say goodbye to Middelburg.  We passed this lovely windmill on our homeward journey.

This beautiful field of sweet peas was a delightful surprise!  We had supposed that all of the flower fields were gone.

One more exquisite windmill.  I can never get enough.

This family has found a way to enjoy a bike ride together.  I've never seen a bike quite like this before.

The Andersons are celebrating their 44th wedding anniversary this week.  Happy Anniversary, you two!

I'm not sure where we are - but there's always a big church in every town.

This is the original gate to the city.  The village was surrounded by a canal, much like a moat in former days.

Isn't this steeple pretty?  It has been a lovely day and a beautiful drive through Zeeland.

No comments:

Post a Comment