Monday, January 13, 2014

MAASEIK, Belgium

Sometimes it's the little towns in between that can totally make my day, if you know what I mean?

In between our stop at Lanaken to see the Jo Myns sculptures (last post) and Thorn, to see the "white village" (coming up), we stopped in Maaseik, still in Belgium.  If I told you it had a shipload of gable stones, you'd immediately know why I loved it.

Remember, this was the last weekend in November before Sinterklaasdag on February 5.
So the jute Sinterklaas sacks were hanging everywhere as decoration.

Maaseik has a population of circa 25K but the inner city is like any other town square
where we spend most of our time.  See that curch steeple in the center image above...?

That's the Saint Catherine church, not far away from city hall (top-right and middle-left).
The steeples stand out like sore thumbs and always direct us.
The bottom-middle statue is of Maaseik's two favorite sons, the Van Eyck brothers,
painters from the 15th century.

Thankfully, the Saint Catherine church, from 1840, was open.

Do you know the significance of walnuts at the front of the church at Advent time?

How many times have we said these churches are the "museums" we visit.
Even if they are all varaitions on a theme, we try to see them all.

Remember, this is Roman Catholic country with lots of niches.
We don't see them where we live in middle Holland.

The one church we really wanted to enter was the Minderbroederskerk from the 1620s.
It was a Friar monastery in its day but was being refurbished while we were there.
That didn't keep us from walking around it, enjoying the autumn weather.

There were two interesting sculptures we saw, this one near the market square.
De Vloeëjekuning, The Flea King, is by Jan Praet from 1994, a carnival society initiative.
Don't you wonder what that is all about, especially with the tiny people/fleas climbing him???

 The other sculpture, Bokkenrijder, on the market square, is by Roland Rens from 2001, near the Maaseik library.  It reminds me of Don Quixote, tilting at windmills, except he's riding a bok (male goat).

But it was the gable stones of Maaseik that captured me the most:

As you know by now, some things for me never the joy of finding gable stones!

After Maaseik, we drove to Thorn, 5 miles away back into the Netherlands,
(to be continued...)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

On another note, it's my turn at Vision and Verb today, talking about a Dutch word
used to describe what happens at the New Year:  jaarwisseling.

Jaarwisseling means "turning the year" in Dutch.
See what that has to do with this burned-out church from Bolsward!


  1. This is just an “in between” stop as your say and see how many picturesque photos you have taken! I just think about an in between town before Cartersville around here, like White, Georgia, and the only interesting building might be a new McDonald or gas station – OK I am being mean (but true, no?)
    The sculptures are really sophisticated for such a small town like Maaseik. You truly have found your niche in Holland and surrounding countries – so many enchanting places to visit.

    1. I would miss find such interesting architecture, Vagabonde, if I were back in America, I'm afraid. I'd have to find new things to "collect," without gable stones or windmills in reach. Well, I guess there ARE wind vanes, which I do love there. But yes, there is definitely a niche here that I just love,. I know you "get" it. Thank you.

  2. Ahh...the little towns in-between are the best! Love your additions to your gable stone collection!

    1. Exactly, Robin...and thank you. Finding gable stones is like finding money, and sometimes even better. :)

  3. Beautiful, beautiful gable stones ... I even spotted a pelican! And statues, sculptures, & steeples! But I'm a fool for the niches, some really nice ones here. Thanks, girls!

    1. I always like hearing what others like, Susan. Someone else also likes the niches, which is one of the reasons why I keep showing them. The farther south we go, the more we see!

  4. Charming, charming. I especially love that building with the ivy growing so lustrously in the 2nd collage. And that chap DOES look like Don Quixote!

    1. You'd love all these towns, Ruth. In fact, I often say to Astrid how much I wish you and Don could see what we see everywhere we go. Some day! Some day!

  5. I must say, I am far more charmed by the gable stones than the statues…. I too wonder the story behind them. All your collected gables and windmills and water towers would make a lovely coffee table book!

    1. You know me well by now, Margaret, because I love the gable stones MORE too! And if you add weathervanes to them, plus the windmills and water towers, I think you're right about a very nice coffee-table book. That would be fun...if I thought it would sell! Actually, it would be fun even if it didn't sell. :)

  6. I would buy one. I know that my iPhoto has an awesome "do it yourself" hard or soft cover book that one can make. I've made two versions of my photos and poetry and gave them to the grandparents. I think they were around $40 hardcover and EXCELLENT quality.

    1. Well, then! You are such a sweetheart, Margaret. I have made 3 photo books thus far, all via Shutterfly, and all three were quite expensive. I would consider another option for an art book, like Blurb. I'll have to check out iPhoto. Thanks for the tip...AND the vote of confidence. You humble me.