Fri., Sep. 7, 2007 - Villers Abbey, Belgium farm land, + Beer & Dinning

The main destination for this day was the ruins of the ancient abbey that we found near the town of Villers-la-Ville a short drive southeast of Brussels.  Their web site of seems to be down, but if you would like more information, check out Wikipedia's site for them.


A nice little welcome at a place we happened upon serendipitously -- The Villers Abbey southeast of Brussels on the way to Namur.

Walking up to the entrance, our first view of the stone ruins turned out to be the prison walls.  A prison at an abbey? 

A different take on a “vine covered cottage” this was the monk's refectory. The ancient grandeur still remains.

Inside is no less striking and imagining life here in the 13th century is etherial and inspiring to the soul.

Centuries of Cistercian monks walked and prayed in these Brabantine halls for nearly 650 years.

Villers Abbey is unique in that much of it has been preserved well enough to offer shadowed clues to the way of cloistered life before the monks were expelled during the French Revolution in 1796.

Gothic arches line the vaulted tomb of Gobert d'Aspremont as well as the cloister walk.

Patrick plays behind the stone tracery & Gobert for the camera. It's great to be able to wander around these magnificent ruins.

The play of shadow and light lend a peacefulness even now, different perhaps, but still of a spiritual tone.

Karen and Patrick enjoy the sunlight streams through the chevet (rounded choir end) of the church interior.

This exterior of the same chevet is seriously covered with vines. We wonder at their long-term potential for damaging the integrity of the stone wall.

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We all marvel at the construction. How many hands and how many years must it have taken.

What a nice place to spend a few hours on a sunny day in early fall in the south of Belgium.

The garden behind the abbot's palace is elegant and impressive. The vine-covered arches support the rail line that serves Belgium so well.

A nice example of an old farm house complex catches our eye as we venture further afield.

Taking a picture of a Belgian horse for our friend Cyndi, we failed to notice this fellow's unique number of legs.

A different camera angle reveals the truth

Back in Brussels we venture out to explore another nearby neighborhood and end at this Martin Pêcheur restaurant for a fun evening meal.

Exploring the various famed Belgian beers was high on our "to do" list.  This is a good beginning. [e.g., see this Tongerlo beer web site.]

Taking a stab at a menu in French, we ended up with this happy result. (we weren't always so fortunate)

Keith and Patrick toast to our good fortunes at being here - he as an expat resident and we as visitors. [Keith was drinking a Westmalle Trappist beer this night.]

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