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Berlin and Bruges – 2010/2011

THE SEARCH FOR SAINT SEBASTIAN

CONTINUED, 2010-2011

BERLIN AND BRUGES

By Roy Johnson

LA RICERCA PER SAN SEBASTIANO

CONTINUATO, 2010-2011

BERLINO E BRUGES

 

 

 

The Guild of St Sebastian Archers, Bruges.

La Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges.

 

I am pleased to acknowledge the great help given to me by Elizabeth

and Lawrence Farrugia in ensuring that the Italian text is correct

and to Desmond Reid for his very helpful suggestions.

The Italian photo captions are my work and any errors are my responsibility.

Roy Johnson 2011.

 


BERLIN

Sunday 18 July 2010.

Neither Desmond nor I had previously visited Berlin and when we found that Rowena Loverance was also interested in going, we decided to organise a joint expedition. Desmond wanted to see the many images of Saint Sebastian in the city’s museums and art galleries and particularly wanted to visit the recently reopened and reorganised Bode museum.  Rowena has been commissioned by the Cambridge University Press to write a new book on Byzantine sculpture and felt that a close inspection of the many outstanding examples of Byzantine artefacts held in the Bode museum would further her research.

The trip was offered by Riviera Travel, and included some useful guided tours of Berlin, but left us with adequate spare time to pursue our own interests.

We knew that we could not possibly to justice to Berlin in four days, but felt that it would be a useful reconnaissance in preparation for a later and longer visit.

We left the house at 05.45 and Desmond drove us to Gatwick for an Easyjet flight at 08.50 to Berlin. Although we were late leaving Gatwick, we arrived at Schoenefeld Airport only about 15 minutes late.  The temperature when we arrived was about 32c.

The coach ride to the Hotel Excelsior, HardenbergStrasse 14, 10623 Berlin, which is in the city centre near the Zoo Station, took approximately 30 minutes. As our rooms were not yet ready for us to occupy, we had a short conducted walk to an area where there were a number of restaurants. We had a simple lunch of smoked salmon, toast, fruit and a glass of wine. Then we decided to go to the Bode Museum to see their Byzantine collection; it is only one of many museums located on an island in the river Spree. We had an easy trip across the city on the number 100 bus, which runs from a terminus called Zoo Stop, with Rowena following the journey on her map.

Rowena was delighted with the large quantity of Byzantine sculpture in the museum and she admitted that there was much more of it than her original expectations, so she was really very happy.

Each of the many galleries has an illustrated guide book, secured by a cord to a viewing seat, which makes it very easy to find information about the exhibits in the room.  I quickly discovered two images of St. Sebastian, which I showed to Desmond. I found another one for him in the next room, and he found another three, which I had not noticed in the guide book.  So everyone was pleased with our first visit.

At 18.00, as the museum closed, we returned to the hotel. It was quick and easy journey; on Sunday there was not too much traffic. Tomorrow, being a working day, I expect it will take longer and we may have to take the train instead.

After a shower, we went out to find a restaurant for dinner. Rowena had fish stew, Desmond was enthusiastic about black pudding and had a dessert of apple pie, while I had veal cooked in red wine. We had a bottle of excellent German white wine and it all cost €110 with the tip.

Returning to the hotel we had to pass a small public garden, with a patch of grass in the centre; to call it a park would be an exaggeration. We approached quietly because Desmond had spotted a family of rabbits playing on the grass in the cool of the evening. They were delightful and, as we did not attempt to get too close to them, they were quite content to go about their business. When you think that we were really in the middle of the city, it was a remarkable sight.

 

Domenica 18 Luglio 2010.

Né Desmond, né io abbiamo mai visitato Berlino e quando abbiamo scoperto che Rowena Loverance era interessata ad andarci, abbiamo deciso di organizzare un giro insieme. Desmond desiderava vedere le molte immagini di San Sebastiano nei musei e nelle gallerie della città e in particolare visitare il museo Bode, che recentemente è stato riorganizzato e ristrutturato. Cambridge University Press ha chiesto a Rowena di scrivere un libro sulla scultura bizantina, e lei ha pensato che un‘ispezione dei molti artefatti bizantini nel museo Bode sarebbe stata di aiuto alla sua ricerca.

Il giro era organizzato da Riviera Travel e includeva i giri con la guida di Berlino, ma c’era anche molto tempo a disposizione per visitare da soli la città.

Sapevamo già che non era possibile vedere molto in quattro giorni, ma abbiamo deciso che sarebbe stato un esame preliminare per preparare un giro più lungo dopo.

Abbiamo lasciato la casa alle 05.45 e Desmond ci ha portati in macchina fino all’aeroporto di Gatwick per il volo per Berlino delle 08.50 con Easyjet. Benché abbiamo lasciato Gatwick in ritardo, siamo arrivati all’aeroporto Schoenefeld con solo 15 minuti di ritardo. La temperatura a Berlino era 32 gradi.

Abbiamo preso il pullman per un viaggio di cerca 30 minuti fino all’hotel; Excelsior, HardenbergStrasse 14, che è vicino al centro della città e la stazione del Metro, Zoo. Le nostre camere non erano pronte, così siamo andati per una breve passeggiata, nella zona dove c’erano molti ristoranti. Abbiamo pranzato con salmone affumicato, toast, fruita ed un bicchiere di vino. Poi abbiamo deciso di andare fino al museo Bode, per vedere la sua collezione di artefatti bizantini; è solo uno dei musei dell’isola situata sul fiume Spree. Per andarci abbiamo  attraversato la città, sull’autobus numero 100, è stato facile. L’autobus cominciava dal capolinea, Zoo, e Rowena ha seguito il percorso nella sua mappa della città.

Rowena è stata molto contenta con la grande quantità di sculture bizantine nel museo e ha detto che c’è ne erano di più di quanto lei si aspettasse, così è stata felice.

Ogni galleria ha una guida con l’illustrazione, ed è legata ad una sedia con una corda, così è facile trovare le informazioni sugli oggetti in mostra. Ho scoperto, rapidamente, due immagini di San Sebastiano, che ho mostrato a Desmond. Nella sala accanto c’è n’era un’altra, e lui ne ha scoperte tre altre, che io non avevo visto nella guida. Così tutti eravamo molto soddisfatti con la nostra prima visita.

Alle 18.00 il museo chiudeva, e siamo ritornati all’hotel. È stata un viaggio veloce e facile, perché era domenica e il traffico era poco. Suppongo che l’indomani il viaggio sarebbe stato più lento e forse avremmo preso il treno.

Dopo una doccia, siamo andati a cercare un ristorante per la cena. Rowena ha preso stufato di pesce, a Desmond è piaciuto molto il migliaccio e la torta di mele, ed io ho preso il vitello cucinato con vino rosso. Abbiamo bevuto una buona bottiglia di vino bianco tedesco e il conto era €110 incluso il servizio.

Mentre ritornavamo all’hotel siamo passati per un piccolo giardino pubblico, con l’erba nel centro. Ci siamo avvicinati in punta di piedi perché Desmond ha visto una famiglia di conigli che giocavano sull’erba. Eravamo molto contenti e non abbiamo cercato di avvicinarci, così loro hanno continuato a giocare. Era straordinario vederli, siamo veramente nel centro della città.

 

Bode Museum, Berlin in 1930.

Il museo Bode a Berlino nel 1930.

 

 

 

 

Marble panel from a chancel screen, 11 – 12 century, Bode Museum, Berlin.

Panello di marmo dallo schermo del coro, 11 – 12 secolo, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

Marble panel from a chancel screen, 11 – 12 century, Bode Museum, Berlin.

Panello di marmo dallo schermo del coro, 11 – 12 secolo, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

Image of St Sebastian, Bode Museum, Berlin.

Immagine di San Sebastiano, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images of St Sebastian, with St Rocco, Bode Museum, Berlin.

Immagine di San Sebastiano, con San Rocco, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statures of St Sebastian, Bode Museum, Berlin.

Le statue di San Sebastiano, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statures of St Sebastian, Bode Museum, Berlin.

Le statue di San Sebastiano, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The martyrdom of St Sebastian, Bode Museum, Berlin.

Il martirio di San Sebastiano, Muse Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

Statues of St Sebastian and St Florian, Bode Museum, Berlin.

Le statue di San Sebastiano e San Florian, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

Madonna and Child with cherubim by Donatello, Florence 1440, Bode Museum, Berlin.

La Madonna e il Bambino con i cherubini da Donatello, Firenze 1440, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

St Catherine and St Lawrence by Puccio di Simone, 14 century, Bode Museum, Berlin.

Santa Caterina e San Lorenzo da Pucci di Simone, 14 secolo, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Virus in a kettle, Tyrol c1490, Bode Museum, Berlin.

San Vito sul paiolo, Tirolo c 1490, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The good thief and the bad thief from the Cricifixion of Christ by Georg Petel, 1625/26, Bode Museum, Berlin.

Il ladro buono e il ladro cattivo dalla Crocifissione di Cristo da Georg Petel, 1625/26, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

Dying Adonis, Vincenzo dè Rossi, Florence c 1560, Bode Museum, Berlin.

Adone morendo da Vincenzo dè Rossi, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 


Monday 19 July 2010.

We met for breakfast at 07.45.  We found an impressive buffet, with everything that one would expect from a first class hotel. With such a varied selection it was difficult to avoid eating too much.

Our coach left the hotel just before 09.00 and we had a two hour tour of the centre of Berlin. I was very impressed with the huge amount of open space in the famous and beautiful Tiergarten. We were told that, at the end of the Second World War in 1945, it was a wasteland with not one tree left standing. They had all been cut down and used as fuel for cooking. Now it has been recreated as a really a very beautiful natural park, where people come to have picnics in the summer. This year, because it has been so very dry, bar-b-cues are forbidden and the park police are alert for any sign of smoke.

The Brandenburg Gate is most impressive and, of course, famous for it’s inclusion in the many photos of Berlin, which have been taken since photography was invented. It is as iconic for Berlin as Big Ben is for London. It is the last remaining gate to the old walled city. We also saw the last piece of the grim Berlin Wall, which the communists built in August 1961 to divide the city and to prevent the East Germans from escaping to the west. There is also a memorial to those who were shot and killed trying to reach freedom in the west.  It is thought that more than 5000 people tried to escape over the wall and that about 200 were killed in the attempt.  Most of the wall was knocked down in 1990.

In the nearby square, called the Opernplatz, we were shown the spot where, under Nazi rule, the infamous “burning of the books” took place on May 10 1933. A bronze plaque marks the spot and nearby we could also see a glass panel in the pavement. Under it there is a small white room lined with book shelves, but no books, as a salutary reminder of that ostentatious display of malign and barbaric vandalism. Especially notable among those works burned were the writings of the nineteenth-century German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine, who wrote in his 1820-1821 play Almansor the famous admonition, “Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen”: “Where they burn books, they will also burn people.” However, we should remember that book burning has not been restricted to the Germans. The early Christians destroyed many works, the Irish burned “lewd” works, Tyndale’s bible translation into English was destroyed by the public hangman and the Inquisition burned people wholesale as well as books. Recently The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie, also had a warm reception. Desmond said he hopes there is special place in Hell reserved for book burners.

The Reichstag is again the seat of the German government and I particularly like its new glass dome. There are still reminders of the places of the Nazi government and the people are no longer embarrassed to recall that terrible period of their history.  They have moved on.

We did not want to return to the hotel with the rest of the group so we left them and walked to the Bode Museum for another inspection of its collections. On Sunday we had only saw a small part of it and we still had many more rooms to visit. But first we had to have a compulsory browse in the museum book shop, where we managed to find more images of St. Sebastian. Both Rowena and Desmond admit that they find books irresistible.

We had lunch in the museum restaurant. Rowena had grilled aubergine with a cuscus salad; Desmond had a plate of small dishes like meze, which he seemed to enjoy and I had two sausages with potato salad. My sausages were Frankfurters, which I find particularly boring, but the glass of white wine helped to make them more palatable.

Rowena devoted her time to the Byzantine sculptures, studying them closely, and taking many photos, in preparation for her next book.

We found two monumental gilded statues that greatly impressed us. We were surprised to find that one was of St. Sebastian, portrayed as a sixteenth century knight wearing armour and a military cloak. The Sebastian figure originally held an arrow in its left hand, which is now missing. That is our excuse for not realising that it was a representation of St Sebastian. Desmond said that this was by far the oddest image of Saint Sebastian he had yet recorded. The guide book says that the Sebastian figure has the features of the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand III, while the other figure, of St. Florian, resembles the Elector Maximilian I of Bavaria.

At 16.00, I needed a rest, and I took the bus back to the hotel. Whilst I was having my much needed sleep, Desmond and Rowena went on to explore the nearby Pergamon museum, which has an entire Greek temple, dating from the second century B.C., containing the Pergamon Altar.

We met again at 20.00 and went out to explore the local restaurants for our dinner.  Our guide had mentioned a restaurant called Dicke Wirtin, “The Fat Landlady”; Somehow Rowena already knew exactly where it was and that was where we went this evening. Rowena had fish, Desmond had a slice of beef, rolled up and cooked in wine, and I had snizel, breaded fried pork fillet. We had an excellent bottle of Riesling wine and then an extra three glasses. It was a most enjoyable meal, but, for me, rather too much.

 

Lunedì 19 Luglio 2010.

Ci siamo incontrati alle 07.45 per la colazione. Abbiamo trovato un buffet abbondante, con tutto ciò che uno si aspetta di trovare in un hotel di prima classe. Con una selezione così buona che era difficile non mangiare di più.

Il nostro pullman lasciava l’hotel un po’ prima delle 09.00 ed abbiamo fatto un giro di due ore nel centro di Berlino. Sono stato molto impressionato dal grande parco nel famoso e bel Tiergarten. Ci hanno informato che dopo la Seconda Guerra Mondiale nel 1945, quest’area era una terra incolta senza alberi. Hanno usato tutto come combustibile per cucinare e scaldarsi. Adesso hanno ricreato un bel parco naturale, dove la gente, d’estate, va per fare il picnic. Quest’anno, perché era più arido, i barbecue sono proibiti e la polizia del parco controllava bene per incendi.

La porta, Brandenburg, è molto imponente e, naturalmente, famosa e ci sono molte foto, che hanno preso dopo l’invenzione della fotografia. Per Berlino è un’icona, come Big Ben a Londra. È l’ultima porta della vecchia città. Abbiamo visto l’ultimo pezzo delle mura macabre di Berlino, che i comunisti hanno costruito nell’agosto del 1961 per dividere la città e impedire alla gente della Germania dell’Est di fuggire verso l’ovest. Si pensa che più di 5000 persone abbiano tentato di saltare le mura e che circa 200 siano state uccise durante il tentativo. La maggiore parte delle mura è stata distrutta nel 1990.

Nella piazza vicina, Opernplatz, abbiamo visto il luogo dove il 10 Maggio 1933 hanno bruciato libri durante il governo fascista. Sul posto c’è una placca di bronzo e vicino sul marciapiede c’è un pannello di vetro. Sotto c’è una piccola camera bianca con scaffali per libri, ma senza libri, è un ricordo di quella mostra di vandalismo, che è stato malefico ed appariscente. Tra le opere che ardevano c’erano quelle di Henrich Heine, un poeta tedesco ed ebreo, che ha scritto un dramma, Almansor, l’ammonimento famoso, “Quando incendiano i libri, incendiano anche la gente”. Comunque dovremmo ricordarci che il bruciare libri non è solo limitato ai tedeschi. I paleocristiani hanno distrutto molte opere, gli irlandesi hanno incenerito le opere lascive, la bibbia in inglese di Tyndale fu distrutta dal carnefice pubblico e l’inquisizione ha incenerito gente ed anche i libri. Recentemente il libro “Satanic Verses”, di Salmon Rushdie, ha avuto “una calda accoglienza”. Desmond ha detto che spera che ci sia un luogo in inferno prenotato specialmente per le persone che incendiano libri.

Il Reichstag è ancora la sedia del governo tedesco e mi piace specialmente la sua cupola nuova di vetro. Ci sono tuttora ricordi dei luoghi del governo nazista e la gente non è imbarazzata nel ricordare e rammentare quel periodo terribile.

Non siamo voluti ritornare all’hotel con il gruppo, così abbiamo camminato fino al museo Bode. La domenica abbiamo visto solo una piccola sezione delle collezioni e c’erano molte stanze da vedere. Ma prima era necessario visitare la libreria del museo per la fermata obbligatoria, dove abbiamo cercato immagini di San Sebastiano. Entrambi Rowena e Desmond ammettono che trovano i libri irresistibili.

Abbiamo pranzato al ristorante del museo. Rowena ha preso melanzane grigliate con insalata di cuscus, Desmond un piatto di piccoli piattini come meze, che evidentemente gli piaceva, ed io due salsicce con insalata di patate. Le salsicce erano frankfurters che ho trovato molto noiose, ma il bicchiere di vino bianco ha aiutata a renderle più gradevoli.

Rowena ha usato il suo tempo libero per le sculture bizantine, le ha studiate con grande attenzione, ed ha preso molte fotografie, per preparare il suo nuovo libro.

Abbiamo cercato le due statue grandi e dorate, che erano molto imponenti. Siamo stati sorpresi che una era di San Sebastiano, come un cavaliere del sedicesimo secolo che porta armatura e mantello militare. La statua di San Sebastiano originalmente aveva una freccia nella mano sinistra, ma adesso è perduta; quella era la nostra scusa perché non abbiamo capito che era il Santo. Desmond mi ha detto che l’immagine era la più insolita che ha mai registrato. La guida dice che la figura di San Sebastiano ha i lineamenti dell’Imperatore Federico III d’Asburgo, mentre l’altra, di San Floriano, somiglia a Massimiliano I Principe Elettore di Baviera.

Alle 16.00 ho voluto un riposo, e ho preso l’autobus per ritornare all’hotel. Mentre Rowena e Desmond sono andati a vedere il museo Pergamo che era vicino, e ha un tempio greco completo del secondo secolo a.C., e che ha l’altare di Pergamo.

Alle 20.00 ci siamo rincontrati per esplorare i ristoranti locali per la nostra cena. La guida ha parlato di un ristorante “Dicke Wirtin”, “La Proprietaria Grassa”. In qualche modo Rowena sapeva esattamente dove era situato e là abbiamo cenato. Rowena ha preso pesce, Desmond un taglio di manzo, arrotolato e cucinato con vino, ed io uno snizel, filetto di maiale fritto con pane grattugiato. Abbiamo preso una bottiglia di vino Riesling che era prelibato; poi tre altri bicchieri. La cena era molto piacevole. Ma, per me, un po’ troppo.

 

The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin 1930.

La porta Brandenburg, Berlino 1930.

 

 

 

 

The last section of the Berlin Wall still standing.

L’ultimo pezzo delle mura di Berlino.

 

 

 

 

This building was used by the Nazi government before 1945.

Quest’edificio ha usato del governo fascista prima 1945.

 

 

 

 

Pergamon museum, Berlin.

Il museo Pergamo, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

The bronze plaque in the Opernplatz, which marks the spot where books were burn on May 10 1933, Berlin.

La placca di bronzo nella piazza Opernplatz, dove il 10 Maggio 1933 hanno bruciato libri, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

Burning books on May 10 1933, Berlin.

Il 10 Maggio 1933 hanno bruciato libri.

 

 

 

 

 

The new glass dome of the Reichstag, Berlin.

La cupola nuova di vetro sul Reichstag, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Greek temple in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin.

Il tempio greco, il museo Pergamo, Berlino.

 

Altes Museum in the Lustgarten, Berlin 1870.

Il museo Altes nel Lustgarten, Berlino 1870.

 

 

 

Statue of St Sebastian, Bode Museum, Berlin.

La statua di San Sebastiano, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hand which originally held an arrow, Bode Museum, Berlin.

La mano che originale ha portato una freccia, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

Head of St Sebastian by Agostino di Fondulis c.1500, Bode Museum, Berlin.

La testa di San Sebastiano da Agostino di Pondulis c.1500, Museo Bode, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Glienicke Bridge which was one of the crossing points between East and West during the Cold War.

Il ponte Glienicke, che era alla frontiera tra la Germania dell’Est e dell’Ovest ed è un simbolo della guerra fredda.

 


Tuesday 20 July 2010.

We departed by coach, at 09.30, to go to the nearby town of Potsdam and to visit Sans Souci, the palace created by Frederick the Great, nicknamed “Old Fritz”. On the route to the palace we passed over the Glienicke Bridge which was one of the crossing points between East and West. The bridge continually hit the headlines when it was used as a site to exchange agents and spies, becoming a symbol of the Cold War.

Sans Souci is a small palace, which Frederick built for his personal use, and where he could relax away from the cares of state. His wife was never allowed to visit him there. He only saw her when he was at their palace in Berlin. I do not know what she thought of that arrangement. To my mind, it is a rather fanciful, out of this world place, where he could relax with his friends and his books. He usually spoke only in French, the language of diplomacy, poetry and literature. Desmond said he was known to consider French the language of true civilisation. Looking out of the palace over the formal gardens, the horizon is dominated by three ugly blocks of flats, which were built during the communist era. Potsdam was in Eastern Germany until reunification. At the front of the palace there is a semi-circular arcade, from the centre of which one can see a classical ruin built on the top of the hill. Frederick created the artificial hill, the ruin and a lake there, which was to provide water under pressure to feed his fountains. Unfortunately, they did not have the technology to pump the water quickly enough from the river up to the lake. It only functioned satisfactorily when a steam engine was installed beside the river, and that provided a sufficient supply of water. The steam engine was installed in a building built to resemble a mosque, complete with dome and minaret. Yet another fantasy!

The terraced slope on the other side of the palace is thickly planted with vines.  At regular intervals on each terrace, set into the retaining walls, there are small rooms like greenhouses, each with glazed doors. In each is a fig tree which, because of the warmth  of the sun behind the glass, the figs could be expected to ripen quickly.  Desmond felt it was a mark in Frederick’s favour that he liked figs as much as Desmond does !

Rowena and Desmond made a quick visit to the picture gallery, which is in a nearby building separate from the palace.  Frederick was a passionate collector of paintings, preferring works from the French Rococo. Later in his life he also collected Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque art. There were 159 works listed in the original catalogue, all of which were moved for safety to Rheinsberg Castle during the war. Only ten paintings were returned to the palace in 1946 and the remainder were thought lost.  However, a large part of the collection, which had been confiscated by the Soviet Union was returned in 1985, while other paintings still remain in Russian collections. Desmond was pleased to find a work depicting Saint Sebastian by the Flemish painter Peter van Lint (1609-1690).

It is known that Frederick was passionately fond of dogs, particularly greyhounds.  At the end of the upper terrace there is a small area set aside for the graves of his dogs.  His modest tomb is next to his beloved dogs.  He left instructions that “I have lived as a philosopher and wish to be buried as such, without pomp, without splendour.” When he died in 1786 his successor, Frederick William II, ignored his wishes and interred him in the garrison church in Potsdam.  In the turmoil of World War II his remains were moved repeatedly, first to a salt mine, and eventually to Burg Hohenzollern in 1952. Finally, in August 1991, on the 205th anniversary of his death he was returned to Sans Souci and reunited with his dogs.

After our visit to the palace we went into Potsdam where we had lunch outside in a pedestrianised street. Rowena had a glass of wine and fennel, leek and squid soup, which she told us was delicious. Desmond had German sausages, I had salmon wrapped in courgette with salad and we both had beer.

We returned to the hotel at about 15.30 and Rowena and Desmond went again to the Bode Museum. Rowena had realised that she really needed to see the early German artefacts, as they could be relevant to her book. I wrote my account of our day and rested.

We met at 20.00 and went out to a typical German restaurant. We were given a complimentary cold soup to commence our meal, which we all enjoyed. Then Rowena had a salad with cheese and German noodles; Desmond and I had roast sucking pig with sauté potatoes, which was delicious. We managed to drink 2 litres of light Riesling wine, which was not too difficult. The bill, including the tip, was €100, and we actually thought that that was quite reasonable. Dinner had taken us 3 hours; there is no point in rushing these things!

 

Martedì 20 Luglio 2010.

Con il pullman delle 09.30 siamo andati nella città vicina, Potsdam, per visitare Sans Souci, il palazzo costruito da Federico Magno. Il percorso è attraverso il ponte Glienicke, che era alla frontiera tra la Germania dell’Est e dell’Ovest. Il ponte era di frequente nelle testate, perché lo hanno usato per scambiare agenti e delatori tra est ed ovest; è un simbolo della guerra fredda.

Sans Souci è un piccolo palazzo che Federico ha costruito per suo uso personale, e dove gli era possibile rilassarsi lontano dagli affari di stato. Sua moglie non aveva mai il permesso di visitarlo. Lui la vedeva solo al palazzo di Berlino. Non so che cosa lei ne pensasse di quella disposizione. Per me il palazzo è fantasioso, e non di questo mondo, ma è dove avrebbe potuto rilassarsi con i suoi amici e i suoi libri. Di solito parlava solo francese, la lingua della diplomazia, poesia e letteratura. Desmond mi ha detto che lui considerava il francese la lingua della propria civilizzazione. Guardando attraverso il giardino classico, l’orizzonte è dominato da tre brutti caseggiati, costruiti durante l’era comunista. Potsdam era nella Germania dell’Est prima dell’unificazione. Di fronte al palazzo c’è un’arcata a mezzaluna, e al centro c’è un rudere classico sopra la collina. Federico aveva creato la collina, il rudere e il lago, per provvedere l’acqua per le fontane. Sfortunatamente non aveva la tecnologia per pompare abbastanza rapidamente l’acqua dal fiume fino al lago. Finalmente, vicino al fiume, ha installato una macchina a vapore, che ha dato acqua sufficiente per far funzionare bene le fontane. La macchina a vapore venne costruita in un edificio come una moschea, completa di cupola e minareto. Un’altra fantasia!

Il pendio terrazzato nel giardino classico è coperto di vigneti. In tutte le terrazze ci sono piccole camere come serre, con porte di vetro, che riscaldano gli alberi di fichi all’interno, per farli maturare più velocemente. A Desmond piacciono molto i fichi, così pensa che Federico era un buonuomo.

Rowena e Desmond hanno visitato brevemente la pinocateca, che è in un edificio separato. Federico era un ardente collezionista di pitture, preferiva le opere di rococò francese. Con l’andar degli anni si è anche accumulato l’arte del rinascimento barocco e manierista. In origine c’erano 159 opere nella lista del catalogo e, durante la guerra, le hanno tolte per sicurezza e portate al castello Rheinsburg. Solo dieci sono ritornate al palazzo nel 1946, e pensavano che le altre fossero andate perse. Benché, la maggior parte fosse stata confiscata dall’Unione Sovietica, molte sono ritornate nel 1985, ma altre pitture sono rimaste nelle collezioni Russe. A Desmond è piaciuto scoprire una pittura di Peter van Lint (1609 – 1690) che mostrava San Sebastiano.

Federico aveva la passione dei cani, specialmente i levrieri. Nella terrazza più alta, al lato, c’è una piccola area per le tombe dei cani. La tomba modesta di Federico è accanto ai suoi amati cani. Federico ha detto “Ho vissuto come un filosofo e desidero essere seppellito senza sfoggio, senza splendore”. Quando è morto nel 1786, il nuovo imperatore Federico Guglielmo II, lo ha interrato nella chiesa della guarnigione a Potsdam. Nella Seconda Guerra Mondiale i suoi resti vennero portati prima nella miniera di salgemma e alla fine a Borg Hohenzollern nel 1952. Finalmente, nell’Agosto 1991, nel 205 anniversario della sua morte, è ritornato a San Souci e dai suoi cani.

Dopo la nostra visita al palazzo siamo andati a Potsdam, dove abbiamo pranzato all’aperto in una strada trasformata in zona pedonale. Rowena ha preso un bicchiere di vino e la zuppa di finocchi, porri e calamari, che ci ha informati era deliziosa. Desmond ha preso la salsiccia tedesca, ed io salmone su zucchine e insalata e abbiamo bevuto la birra.

Siamo ritornati all’hotel alle 15.30 e Rowena e Desmond sono andati ancora al museo Bode. Rowena ha capito che era necessario vedere gli artefatti paleo-tedeschi, perché forse sarebbero stati pertinenti per il suo libro. Io ho scritto il mio racconto del giorno e mi sono riposato.

Ci siamo incontrati ancora alle 20.00 e abbiamo pranzato al ristorante tipico tedesco. Per cominciare ci ha dato la zuppa fredda, che era buona. Poi rowena ha preso insalata con formaggio e pasta tedesca; Desmond ed io abbiamo preso maialino arrosto con patate che era delizioso. Abbiamo bevuto due litri di vino bianco, Riesling, e non è stato molto difficile farlo. Il conto, inclusa la mancia, era €100, e abbiamo pensato che era abbastanza moderato. La cena è durata tre ore, non era necessario affrettarsi!

 

FOOTNOTE:

Desmond has been reading the six volumes of Casanova’s Histoire de ma Vie for years. Sooner or later Casanova turns up everywhere in Europe.  Here is a brief account of his meeting with Frederick the Great.

–  After a short fruitless stay in Brunswick, in 1764, where he received no encouragement from the reigning Duke (a Freemason) in setting up his lottery. He went on to Berlin where he had interview with Frederick; a man whose Spartan tastes were directly opposed to Casanova’s. They met in the gardens of Sans Souci. The King began by taking off his hat and asking Casanova “in a terrifying voice” what he wanted. The subsequent conversation covered fountains, taxes, Calzabigi’s lottery and the military power of Venice. It ended with Frederick looking Casanova up and down and saying, “Do you know that you are a fine man?” This remark stung Casanova to the quick. Was it possible, he asked the King, that after their elevated conversation His Majesty should notice only those qualities in him which were shared by the least of His Majesty’s guardsmen? The king smiled – “kindly”, Casanova says, but I doubt it: King Frederick was not a kindly man; and that was the end of their talk.

A few weeks later the King offered Casanova an appointment as tutor to a new corps of cadets. Casanova makes it sound awful. He describes how he took one look at the thirteen-year-old hobbledehoys and the barrack where they were to be lodged and left shuddering; but not before the Great King had ridden up and created a scene because he found a cadet’s chamber pot was dirty.

This is all quite remote from the actuality. The cadet corps was to consist of fifteen young noblemen chosen for their intelligence; and the five tutors were to be famous savants. The place that Casanova turned down was given to an eminent Swiss, de Meirolles. The boys were not lodged in a barrack, but in upper rooms of the Royal Stables in the Breite Strasse; but only until their Academy could be built. The King’s offer was in fact a good one, and flattering to Casanova’s self-esteem. But there wasn’t enough money in it. Casanova went on his way . . .

 

Frederick the Great.

Federico Magno.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frederick the Great and with his dogs.

Federico Magno e con i suoi cani.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The palace of San Souci.

 

 

 

 

 

The palace of San Souci.

 

 

 

 

 

The terraces at San Souci.

Le terrazze a San Souci.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giacomo Casanova da Anton Raphael Mengs 1768.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pump house at San Souci constructed as a mosque.

La macchina a vapore venne costruita in un edificio come una moschea, San Souci.

 

 

 

 

On the terraces at San Souci there are small glazed openings with fig trees.

In tutte le terrazze ci sono piccole camere come serre, con porte di vetro, che riscaldano gli alberi di fichi all’interno.

 

 

 

 

 

The palace of San Souci.

 

 

 

 

The palace of San Souci.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Wednesday 21 July 2010.

We walked to the Kaiser-Wilheim-Gedochtnis- Kirche, an old church close to the Zoo Station and our hotel. It was consecrated in 1895 and destroyed by allied bombing in 1943, leaving only the front porch and part of the tower. In 1961 a new octagonal church of concrete and blue coloured glass was built with a free standing bell tower. The original church was massive and its ruin is most impressive. In the new church above the main altar we found a very large gold figure of Christ crucified. In the old section there is a history of the church and extensive highly coloured mosaics glorifying the German royal family – the Hohenzollerns.

We took the bus number 100 to the Bundestag, now topped by a new glass structure designed by Sir Norman Foster, who also created the wonderful dome over the Great Court of the British Museum. There was an enormous queue and we expected to have a long wait. But a young lady attendant came and took us, together with a couple with a small child, out of the queue and we entered by a different door. Families with children and groups with elderly people are given preference; I think that that should happen everywhere! After a thorough security search, we were taken in a lift to the top of the building and where the base of the new glazed dome begins. There is a spiral pedestrian ramp up to the top of the dome, which is open to the sky, and another ramp to descend. The views from the top are magnificent.

We were most fortunate; in November the dome was closed to the public because of a terror threat and, like the Post Office tower in London which was closed for the same reason in 1971, it may never reopen.

We continued our journey to Karl-Leibkneck Strasse and St. Mary’s Church, the Marienkirche. It dates from about 1280 but has been altered many times since then. One of the first items that we saw on the left as we went in was a carved bas-relief panel with a Madonna and saints, including St. Sebastian. Desmond had no information about this work and the staff could tell us nothing about it, except that it had been salvaged from a deconsecrated church. Desmond asked the lady attendant if he could take a photo and she readily agreed; I was surprised, as the notice in the doorway indicated sternly that no photography was allowed. It is a nice old church with a very ornate pulpit of carved alabaster completed in 1703.

Then we went to the Church of St. Nicholas, the Nikolaikirche, which we saw only from the doorway. There is an admission charge and we did not have time to examine the church in detail, but it is clearly worth revisiting on our next trip.

Berlin is a University City and full of students, all of whom seem to own or use bicycles. We saw them everywhere, including several electric versions. Desmond thought pedestrians might have to start wearing crash helmets if these super-bikes become popular. Berlin has a most impressive citywide network of cycle lanes.

We also spotted an extraordinary bicycle.  It is pedalled by up to seven riders sitting in a circle.  One person steers while the others pedal.  A Septi-cylce?  It turned heads wherever it went. Desmond found out later that it was designed by Eric Staller.

We returned to the restaurant where we had lunch last Sunday. Desmond had a breakfast; I had a salad and Rowena fish soup. We returned to the hotel to collect out baggage and join the coach which took us to the airport. We boarded the coach with only 5 minutes to spare and received many disapproving looks from the rest of our extremely punctual party.

The plane was late arriving and so we were late taking off but the pilot managed to make up some of the time before we arrived back at Gatwick.

We collected our baggage and took the bus to the car park where we quickly found the car. We were home before 21.00, tired but very pleased with our short trip to Berlin and we are fairly sure that we will return perhaps in October or May, when the temperature will be more to our liking.

 

The Bundestag building normally looks like this.  However, in 1995 the artists Christo Vladimorov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon (pictured) “wrapped” the building.

 

 

 

 

This is how it looked after being “wrapped”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kaiser-Wilheim-Gedochtnis- Kirche, Berlin 1900.

La chiesa Kaiser-Wilheim-Gedochtnis, Berlino 1900.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kaiser-Wilheim-Gedochtnis- Kirche, Berlin 2010.

La chiesa Kaiser-Wilheim-Gedochtnis, Berlino 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The figure of Christ Crucified above the main altar.

La grande figura dorata di Cristo crocifisso sopra l’altare principale.

 

 

 

 

 

Mosaic in the church, The Kaiser-Wilheim-Gedochtnis- Kirche, Berlin.

Mosaico nella chiesa, La chiesa Kaiser-Wilheim-Gedochtnis, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

Mosaic in the church, The Kaiser-Wilheim-Gedochtnis- Kirche, Berlin.

Mosaico nella chiesa, La chiesa Kaiser-Wilheim-Gedochtnis, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

The new glass dome by Sir Norman Foster, Bundestag, Berlin.

La cupola nuovo di vetro da Sir Norman Foster, Bundestag, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new glass dome by Sir Norman Foster, Bundestag, Berlin.

La cupola nuovo di vetro da Sir Norman Foster, Bundestag, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cycle for seven people. It could reach a speed of  60mph.

La bicicletta straordinaria, con sette persone sedute in forma di cerchio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view from the Bundestag, Berlin.

La vista dal Bundestag, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

Roy and Rowena in the Bundestag, Berlin.

Roy e Rowena nel Bundestag, Berlino.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

BRUGES

Bruges is the capital and largest city in the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium.  Bruges has a significant economic importance thanks to its port. At one time, it was the “chief commercial city” of the world. The first fortifications were built after the Roman invasion in the first century A.D. It was given its city charter in 1128 when new walls and the canals were built, but gradual silting meant that it lost its direct access to the sea. A storm in 1134 re-established its sea access for a while but gradually it was cut off again. The wool market became important in the twelfth century, a woolens weaving industry, and the market for cloth profited from the shelter of city walls, where surpluses could be safely accumulated under the patronage of the counts of Flanders. In 1277, the first merchant fleet from Genoa appeared in the port of Bruges, but the Venetians only arrived in 1314.

In the 15th century, Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, set up court in Bruges, as well as Brussels and Lille, attracting a number of artists, bankers, and other prominent personalities from all over Europe. During the 1650s, the city was the base for Charles II of England and his court in exile. In the last half of the 19th century, Bruges became one of the world’s first tourist destinations attracting wealthy British and French tourists. Since then international tourism has boomed, and new efforts have resulted in Bruges being designated ‘European Capital of Culture’ in 2002.

 

BRUGES

Bruges è la capitale e la città più grande della provincia delle Fiandre dell’Ovest in Belgio. Bruges è importante per l’economia del Belgio per via del suo porto. Una volta era la prima città commerciale del mondo. I primi rafforzamenti sono stati costruiti dopo l’invasione dei Romani nel primo secolo a.C. Ebbe il suo statuto come città nel 1128, quando le mura nuove e i canali furono costruiti, ma si sono interrati gradualmente e così si bloccò lo sbocco sul mare. Una tempesta nel 1134 aveva riaperto lo sbocco, ma solo per un breve periodo. Nel dodicesimo secolo era diventata importante il mercato della lana e la tessitura di lana e il mercato per la stoffa, e questi erano protetti al riparo delle mura, dove era possibile accumulare le merci, sotto la protezione dei conti delle Fiandre. Nel 1277, la prima flotta mercantile da Genova, è arrivata nel porto di Bruges, ma quella da Venezia è arrivata solo nel 1314.

Nel quindicesimo secolo, Filippo il buono, duca di Borgogna, che aveva la sua corte a Bruges, Bruxelles e Lille, attirò un numero d’artisti, banchieri, ed altre persone prominenti da tutta Europa. Durante il 1656 e il 1657, la città è stata il rifugio del re Carlo II d’Inghilterra che era in esilio. Nella seconda metà del diciannovesimo secolo, Bruges era una delle prime destinazioni turistiche al mondo, e attirava turisti ricchi dalla Gran Bretagna e dalla Francia. Da allora il turismo internazionale è cresciuto, e nel 2002, Bruges è designata Capitale di Cultura d’Europa, grazie a nuove iniziative.

 

The Market Place, Bruges.

Piazza del mercato, Bruges.

 

 

The canals, Bruges.

I canali, Bruges.

 


Friday 24 June 2011.

We were invited to join Marc Dekenah, Desmond’s brother-in-law, and his wife Alagonda Van Der Maas, for a short break by car to the city of Bruges. We left the house at about 09.00 to catch le Shuttle at 12.20. At about 10.00 we stopped for a coffee and a cake.

The journey through the Channel Tunnel takes only 35 minutes, so we were soon in France. We made good time to Belgium, where we stopped for a snack. The road from the motorway into Bruges was very busy and it took us quite a long time to arrive in the centre of the city. Desmond and I stayed in the Ibis Hotel, whilst Marc and Alagonda were in a hotel about ten minutes walk away.

At about 17.30 we set out to explore the old town centre, which I thought was very picturesque. It looked to be an interesting place and I was pleased that we had gone there. We had supper all together in the main market square, which was adequate, but not particularly memorable. However we did sample the beer, for which Belgium is noted, and we enjoyed it. I would definitely drink it again.

 

Venerdì 24 Luglio 2011.

Il cognato di Desmond, Marc Dekenah e sua moglie, Alagonda Van Der Maas, ci hanno invitati ad andare insieme con loro in macchina, a Bruges per una breve vacanza. Abbiamo lasciato la casa alle 09.00 per prendere “Le Shuttle” alle 12.20. Alle 10.00 siamo andati a fare uno spuntino e prendere il caffè.

Il viaggio attraverso il traforo della Manica è di solo 35 minuti, così, siamo arrivati in Francia molto presto. Poi in Belgio siamo stati ancora per uno spuntino. La strada, dall’autostrada fino a Bruges, era piena di traffico e, per arrivare nel centro della città, c’è voluto molto tempo. Desmond ed io, siamo stati all’hotel Ibis, mentre Alagonda e Marc sono stati in un hotel abbastanza vicino, circa dieci minuti a piedi.

Alle 17.30 siamo andati ad esplorare la città vecchia, che ho pensato era molto pittoresca. E sembrava interessante ed ero contento di essere andato là con Desmond. Abbiamo cenato insieme, nella piazza del mercato, il menù quello turistico era sufficiente, ma non degno di ricordo. Abbiamo provato la birra, per cui il Belgio è famoso, ed era saporita. Certamente la berrei la ancora.

 

A boat trip on the canals, Bruges.

Un giro in barca sul canale, Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madonna and Child by Michelangelo, The Church of Our Lady of Bruges.

La Madonna e il Bambino da Michelangelo, La chiesa di Nostra Signora di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

La chiesa di Nostra Signora di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Saturday 25 June 2011.

Close to our hotel we found a bar for breakfast, where we had a piece of spinach and bacon quiche, a piece of apple cake and tea.

We arrived at The Church of Our Lady of Bruges, to see the sculpture of the Madonna and Child by Michelangelo, which, although smaller than we expected, is still a very beautiful piece. We are informed that it is the only piece of sculpture by Michelangelo to have left Italy during his lifetime.

The painting, which we hoped to see in the old pharmacy at the Memling Museum, was not on display. Often we find that the paintings we want to see are in storage and an appointment is necessary to see them. However the old St John’s Hospital complex, which houses the museum, is very interesting. At the Groeningemuseum and the Gruuthusmuseum were again unsuccessful; although in one we did find a silver wrist guard which had an engraving of St Sebastian. Desmond also found a gorget, again with an image of the saint, but I did not see it. Although photography was not allowed, a number of people were taking photos, and I managed to take one of the wrist guard.

Our lunch was a cheese and ham omelette and a beer.

 

The following section was written by Desmond Reid:

Desmond’s interest in Saint Sebastian has led him to investigate the Shooting and Archery Guilds of Europe, principally those in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and a few in the Baltic States. Because Sebastian was thought to have been executed by a firing squad of archers, and his most important single attribute is an arrow, many of the guilds chose Saint Sebastian as their patron saint and Desmond has found that the Guilds often possess an unpublished treasure trove of items which contain images of Sebastian. These occur in every format imaginable – paintings, sculpture, stained glass, drawings, banners, ceramics, trophies, tapestries and prints.

The guilds began as congregations of citizens, uniting to form volunteer self-defense forces to protect their towns.  The oldest guild we know of dates from the late 1200’s. Once organized, their services were soon called upon for support by quarrelsome local rulers to aid in their trade and dynastic wars. The earliest guilds used the longbow as their principal weapon. To remain effective, and develop and retain the strength to draw the powerful bows, an archer must practice constantly and each guild soon acquired a suitable piece of ground where they could practice safely.

Guild halls and chapels were then built to accommodate and refresh the archers each time they met for practice and some incorporated indoor shooting ranges where the members could practice even in wet weather.

Many of the Guilds developed into important charitable and civic organizations, able to impart a sense of community pride and of unity and civic fraternity among their members.

In later years members began to use crossbows and, later still, guns and muskets, and these organizations eventually took on the nature of a paid militia.

The guilds that retained the longbow became more like leisure clubs, with a membership drawn from aristocrats and the upper and middle classes.

Desmond found one of the oldest Guilds in Europe, the Ghilde van myn Heere Sint-Sebastiaen die d’Archiers houden binnen der Stede van Brugge, is based in Bruges.

They own, and still occupy, the present building, remarkable for its 100 foot tall and prominent tower, which the Guild built in 1573 to replace a much earlier building.  Desmond had written to them to arrange a visit while we were in Bruges.

This Guild is unique because they are the only one we know of which has been in uninterrupted existence since their foundation. They even managed to survive the French Revolution, when their assets were seized by that infamous French invading bandit, Napoleon, in 1798. They recovered them intact in 1809.  Napoleon, meanwhile, courtesy of the British, went for an extended holiday to Saint Helena.

The building was within walking distance of our hotel and we arranged to meet Marc and Alagonda there on Saturday afternoon.

Upon arrival we were met by Mr. Boudewijn van de Maele, who spoke perfect English, and took us on a tour of their impressive buildings, shooting ranges and gardens. He proved to be a most knowledgeable and informative guide who took a great deal of trouble to show us everything we asked to see.

The red brick building contains a magnificent meeting hall decorated with a large number of portraits of past Masters of the Guild and many other notables connected with the Guild.

We were also shown the indoor shooting range and the two 68 meter outdoor sheltered shooting galleries. As well as shooting horizontally at the round “bull’s-eye” targets familiar to English archers, the members also shoot at a target, modeled from wood and feathers to represent a bird, called a “Popinjay”. The popinjay is hoisted into the air on the end of a purpose-built mast, like a flag pole, and archers shoot straight up into the air to try and knock it off the mast. The popinjay is secured to a base not much bigger than a match box and a most impressive degree of skill is needed by the archer to hit this base and knock the target off the pole. We were astonished to find that the pole located in the extensive gardens of the Guild is 32 meters tall (about 96 feet). Most people would find it difficult to hit a matchbox with a rifle at a range of 96 feet.  But with an arrow? And straight up in the air?

To our surprise we found the Guild had long-standing and close connections with Britain. During his exile from England, in 1756 and 1657, Charles II spent time in Bruges, rallying support and recruiting soldiers to help him regain his throne. Here he founded, commissioned and trained his first regiment of personal Guards, recruited from amongst the English exiles. The regiment still exists and is the premier infantry regiment in the British Army, now known as the Grenadier Guards.

Dominating one end of the great hall is an impressive marble memorial to Charles and a painting of Charles’s seventeen year old younger brother Henry, Duke of Gloucester still hangs nearby. The connection with British royalty continued and Queen Victoria visited the Guild in 1843 and Elizabeth II in 1966.

More recently, the Guild generously hosted a civic reception for soldiers of the Grenadier Guards, who were on their way to serve in Afghanistan.

The building is full of unique items, like a cast iron and brass stove, used heating and cooking. We also admired the stained glass windows.

We were amused by this unusual challenge drinking cup, which we were told was used by the Guild members in the manner a Yard of Ale is used in Britain.

Mr. Van de Maele showed us many paintings, banners, sculpture and other items depicting our Saint. One of the most striking items he showed us was a fine Rococo painting by Jan Anton Garemijn (1712-1799), painted in 1768, which now hangs in the entrance hall.  It was donated to the Guild by Baron Van Caloen and hung over the altar in the Guild’s chapel until the chapel was demolished in the 1850’s. Garemijn was a prolific and successful painter for a very long time, and his work hangs in many churches and museums in and around Bruges. It is also recorded of him that the married his 20 year old maid at the age of 79.

Also in the entrance hall is another painting of Sebastian by Jules Vendevyrer, signed and dated 1846.

In the great hall we were shown a large impressive silver tureen created in 2000 by a most accomplished Bruges silversmith, Peter Quygo. The handle of the tureen cover is a statue of Sebastian.

We also saw a banner, celebrating the Guilds battle honors in the period 1302-1379. There was also a small painting of high quality, by an unknown artist. Unfortunately it is in very poor condition.

From a locked display cabinet Mr. Van de Maele produced a cloisonné enamel and silver trophy of most original design. The art-deco cloisonné image of Sebastian is surrounded by a frame of longbows.  It was designed and made by M. Claeys in 1953 and presented to the Guild as a challenge trophy in 1954 by Albert de Clerck, a member of the Guild. It is competed for each year and the winners name is engraved on the reverse panel.

Another interesting modern piece was a small bronze statuette by J. Nachtergaele, signed and dated on the base “J. Nachtergaele 1922”. The artist was a member of the Guild and donated the sculpture to their collection.

Mr. Van de Maele took us into the Archive room in the tower and there we found a large stained glass memorial window, designed by A. Breunig. Also of interest were several Papal documents, dated 1430, granting indulgences, for a period of 15 months to all those who attended mass in the Guild’s chapel on January 20th, the feast day of Saint Sebastian.

In the board room we found a tall oak bow cabinet with this carving on one of the door panels. Another carving was this round oak plaque. A very heavy cast and chiseled solid silver tray, made in 2008, also carried an image of Sebastian. We were shown many other items relating to Sebastian but I have space here to illustrate and comment on only the most important ones.

We found the Guild a most impressive organization, still active and performing a most useful social and historical function.

They own a valuable collection of works of art and many historical items and documents relating to Bruges and the Guild which they value very highly. We should be grateful that they have looked after their patrimony with such care and that they have been willing to make it available to the public.

Desmond was delighted with the results of his visit, because he found so many modern representations of Sebastian.  There are many thousands of images of him made before 1830 and only a few hundred after that date.

 

Sabato 25 Luglio 2011.

Vicino all’hotel abbiamo trovato un bar per la colazione, dove abbiamo preso un pezzo di quiche, con spinaci e pancetta, un pezzo di dolce e il tè.

Siamo arrivati alla chiesa di Nostra Signora di Bruges, per vedere la scultura della Madonna e il Bambino di Michelangelo, che, era più bassa di quanto ci aspettassimo, ma molto bella. Avevano detto che è il solo pezzo di scultura di Michelangelo uscita dall’Italia durante la sua vita.

Una pittura che desideravamo vedere nella vecchia farmacia del Museo Memling, non era in mostra. Troviamo di frequente che una pittura che desideriamo vedere è in deposito, ed è necessario fare un appuntamento per vederla. Comunque il vecchio ospedale di San Giovanni, che ha anche un museo, era molto interessante. Ancora al Groeningemuseum e Gruuthusmuseum non abbiamo avuto successo, ma abbiamo trovato un bracciale d’argento per la protezione del polso che ha un’incisione di San Sebastiano. Desmond ha trovato anche una goletta, ancora con un’immagine di San Sebastiano, ma non l’ho visto. Di solito fare fotografie non è permesso, ma c’erano delle persone che prendevano foto, e ne ho presa una anch’io.

Per il pranzo abbiamo mangiato un’omelette di formaggio e pancetta e una birra, poi abbiamo incontrato Marc e Alagonda alla Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges, dove abbiamo fatto una visita che era molto interessante.

Probabilmente quella gilda ha avuto origine nel 1379 e ci sono i documenti dal 1396 fin ad oggi. Sì pensa che sia la più vecchia mazza dello sport del mondo ed è ancora di proprietà dei membri. Altri adesso sono di proprietà del comune.

Quando il Re di Inghilterra Carlo II era in esilio nelle Fiandre tra il 1656 e il 1657, era un membro di questa gilda, Tutti i sovrani di Inghilterra dopo di lui sono stati membri, inclusa la Regina Vittoria, la Regina Elizabetta II, il Principe Filippo e il Principe Carlo.

La gilda possiede il palazzo della corporazione e anche il giardino, dove ci sono i poligoni di tiro all’arco, all’interno ed esterno. La gilda ha una bella collezione di pitture e trofei, anche una biblioteca ricca con molte vecchie cartapecore dal vaticano. Un detto dice che se un membro partecipa alla messa nel giorno dedicato a San Sebastiano, il 20 Gennaio, tutti i suoi peccati saranno perdonati per un anno.

 

The old pharmacy at the Memling Museum, Bruges.

La vecchia farmacia del Museo Memling, Bruges.

 

 

 

 

The Guild of St Sebastian Archers, Bruges.

La Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

The Great Hall, The Guild of St Sebastian Archers, Bruges.

La sala grande, La Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

The indoor shooting range, The Guild of St Sebastian Archers, Bruges.

Il poligono di tiro con l’arco, all’interno, La Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The outdoor shooting range, The Guild of St Sebastian Archers, Bruges.

Il poligono di tiro con l’arco, all’aperto, La Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The outdoor shooting range, The Guild of St Sebastian Archers, Bruges.

Il poligono di tiro con l’arco, all’aperto, La Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A marble plaque in the garden records the Guild’s connection with the regiment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cast iron and brass stove.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Sebastian by Jan Anton Garemijn, The Guild of St Sebastian Archers, Bruges.

San Sebastiano da Jan Anton Garemijn, La Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Sebastian by Jules Vendevyrer, The Guild of St Sebastian Archers, Bruges.

San Sebastiano da Jules Vendervyrer, La Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The silver tureen by Peter Quygo.

La zuppiera di argento da Peter Quygo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The handle of the silver tureen is a statue of St Sebastian.

Il manico dellaa zuppiera di argento  è una statua di SanSebastiano.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marble memorial to Charles II.

Il memoriale di marmo per Carlo II re di Inghilterra.

 

 

 

 

 

Statue of St Sebastian by J. Nachtergaele, 1922.

La statua di San Sebastiano da J. Nachtergaele, 1922.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Papal document dated 1430.

La cartapecora dal vaticano dal 1430.

 

 

Stained glass windows, The Guild of St Sebastian Archers, Bruges.

Le finestre di vetro colorato, La Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial window, The Guild of St Sebastian Archers, Bruges.

La finestra di vetro colorato, La Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archer’s wrist guard, Memling Museum, Bruges.

Il bracciale d’argento per la protezione del polso, Museo Memling, Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sunday 26 June 2011.

Desmond and I took our cases to Marc’s hotel where he had invited us to have breakfast, which was substantial and set us up for the day. We had decided to take a boat trip around the canals which we did at about 12.00. It is a very good way to see the town, but it was difficult to take photos, there was always someone’s head blocking the view. It is easy to find pictures via the internet these days, so I was not too concerned about it. We then walked to the cathedral, but it was unfortunately closed for lunch.

We had to sample Belgium waffles before we left. Mine was with strawberries and cream and quite delicious.

Our return journey was quick and easy, with fairly light traffic most of the way. We were home before 18.00, tired, but very satisfied with our little excursion. The highlight was definitely our visit to The Saint Sebastian Guild of Archers in Bruges, where we stayed most of Saturday afternoon.

 

Domenica 26 Luglio 2011.

Desmond ed io abbiamo portato le nostre valigie all’hotel di Marc, dove ci ha invitato per la colazione, che era sostanziosa. Abbiamo deciso di fare un giro in barca sul canale, circa a mezzogiorno. È un buon modo per vedere la città, ma era difficile prendere foto, perché c’era sempre la testa di qualcuno che bloccava la vista. In questi giorni è facile cercare le immagini su internet, così non è stato un problema. Abbiamo camminato fino alla cattedrale, ma sfortunatamente era chiusa per il pranzo.

Prima di lasciare la città abbiamo voluto gustare una cialda del Belgio. La mia era con fragole e panna ed era deliziosa.

Il viaggio di ritorno era veloce e facile, non c’era molto traffico nelle strade. Siamo arrivati a casa prima delle 18.00, stanchi, ma molto contenti del nostro giro. La parte migliore, certamente, è stata la nostra visita alla Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges, dove siamo stati la maggiore parte di sabato pomeriggio.

 

The coat of arms of the Guild of the Archers of St Sebastian, Bruges.

Lo stemma della Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print of St Sebastian, The Guild of the Archers of St Sebastian, Bruges.

La stampa che mostra San Sebastiano, La Gilda degli Arcieri di San Sebastiano di Bruges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portrait of Anna Pavlova as The Dying Swan by John Lavery 1911, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Il ritratto di Anna Pavlova come il cigno morente da John Lavery 1911, La galleria Walker, Liverpool.

 

 

 

 

 

 


LIVERPOOL

 

Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 August 2011.

The journey to Liverpool takes only 2 hours and 5 minutes.

We were aware that the Walker Art Gallery had two pictures of St Sebastian in their collection and they were both on display. Unfortunately they were not very interesting.

We stayed the night at the Best Western Feathers Hotel, which was quite near to the station and, after we had checked in, we walked to the Catholic Cathedral, Christ the King. The crypt was designed by Edwin Lutyens and built between 1933 and 1958. The cathedral above was designed by Frederick Gibberd and was consecrated in 1967. It is a very imposing modern building.

The following morning we walked to the Anglican Cathedral which was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott. The foundation stone was laid by King Edward VII in 1904. One part was consecrated in 1924 in the presence of King George V and Queen Mary. It was finally finished in 1978 and Queen Elizabeth II attended the ceremony of consecration. It is built in the Gothic Revival style and is the largest in the United Kingdom. The gothic arches are the highest and widest in the world.

I liked both of the cathedrals, although they are completely different in design.

Later we walked down to the riverside to Tate Liverpool to see an exhibition of works by Rene Magritte, which I did find very interesting. Many of the old warehouses in the docks have been converted and are now used for other purposes, including the one housing Tate Liverpool.

We did not have much time to explore Liverpool and I expect that we will return at a later date.

 

Martedì 17 e Mercoledì 18 Agosto 2011.

Il viaggio fino a Liverpool è durato solo due ore e cinque minuti.

Nella galleria d’Arte, Walker, ci sono in mostra due pitture di San Sebastiano. Sfortunatamente non sono molto interessanti.

Il nostro hotel, Feathers Best Western, era abbastanza vicino alla stazione ferroviaria e, dopo il check-in, abbiamo camminato fino alla cattedrale cattolica, Cristo il Re. La cripta è stata disegnata da Edwin Lutyens e costruita tra il 1933 e il 1958. La parte superiore è stata disegnata da Frederick Gibberd e consacrata nel 1967. È un edificio moderno e imponente.

La mattina di mercoledì abbiamo camminato fino alla cattedrale anglicana, disegnata da Giles Gilbert Scott. Nel 1904 la prima pietra è stata posata dal Re Edoardo VII. Una parte venne consacrata nel 1924 quando il Re Giorgio V e la Regina Maria erano lì. Fu finita nel 1978 e la Regina Elisabetta II ha partecipato alla cerimonia di consacrazione. Lo stile è gotico, e la chiesa è la più grande del Regno Unito, con le arcate gotiche più alte e ampie del mondo.

Poi abbiamo camminato fino alla galleria, Tate Liverpool, per vedere la mostra di pitture di Rene Manritte. L’arte moderna non è di mio gusto. Adesso molti dei depositi di quest’area, vengono usati per altre cose, incluso quello che ospita la Tate Liverpool.

Non abbiamo avuto molto tempo per esplorare la città ma sono certo che ci ritorneremo.

 

Painting of St Sebastian by Bartolomeo de Giovanni C. 1500, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

Dipinto di San Sebastiano da Bartolomeo de Giovanni C. 1500, La galleria Walker, Liverpool.

 

 

Painting of St Martin,St Sebastian, Madonna and Child, St Rocco and St Nicolas of Bari by Frediani 1475, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

Dipinto di San Martino,San Sebastiano, La Madonna e Bambino, San Rocco e San Nicolò di Bari da Freudiani 1475, La Walker galleria dell’arte, Liverpool.

 

 

 

 

 

Liverpool Metropolitan Catholic Cathedral, Christ the King.

La cattedrale cattolica a Liverpool, Cristo il Re.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liverpool Metropolitan Catholic Cathedral, Christ the King.

La cattedrale cattolica a Liverpool, Cristo il Re.

 

 

 

Liverpool Metropolitan Catholic Cathedral, Christ the King.

La cattedrale cattolica a Liverpool, Cristo il Re.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool.

La cattedrale anglicana, Liverpool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool.

La cattedrale anglicana, Liverpool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire.

 

 

 

 

 


 

BURGHLEY HOUSE.

Wednesday 5 October 2011.

We decided to have a day out and had invited Piera to come with us to Woburn Abbey, the country house of the Duke of Bedford. When I checked their website to find directions, I was very surprised to find that, on the previous Sunday, they had closed for the winter. We had a two for one voucher also for Burghley House and so we decided to go there instead.

Desmond drove us to West Hampstead, where we picked up Piera and, from there, we knew that it was a simple journey up the A1 to Stamford. We arrived at 12.30, which we decided was the perfect time to have lunch.

The house was built by William Cecil, 1521 – 1598, who was chief minister and adviser to Elizabeth I. In 1563 Cecil bought the manor at Stamford in Lincolnshire and, between 1558 and 1587, built himself a grand country mansion, with state rooms in which to entertain the Queen.

The House actually reminded me very much of Blenheim Palace, which we also visited during the summer.

There were two pictures of St Sebastian on display, but unfortunately too far away to be able to see them in any detail. Luckily Desmond has colour photos of them both. The curator at Burghley told Desmond that there is also an alabaster statue of St Sebastian and he promised to send a photo by e-mail.

The grounds were designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century.

 

Mercoledì 5 Ottobre 2011.

Abbiamo deciso di andare con Piera, fino a Woburn Abbey, la villa di campagna del Duca di Bedford. Ho trovato che la casa era chiusa dal 3 Ottobre per l’inverno. Avevamo un buono per lo sconto per la casa, Burghley House, così abbiamo deciso di andare là.

Desmond ci ha portati in macchina fino a West Hampstead per prendere Piera, e poi sull’autostrada A1 fino a Stamford. Siamo arrivati alle 12.30, in perfetto orario per il pranzo.

La casa è stata costruita da William Cecil (1521 – 1598), che era il cassiere e consigliere principale della regina Elisabetta I. Nel 1563 lui ha comprato la villa di campagna a Stamford in Lincolnshire e, tra 1558 e 1587, ha costruito una villa grande, con saloni per cerimonie per la regina.

La casa mi ricordava Blenheim Palace, che abbiamo visitato durante l’estate.

C’erano due pitture di San Sebastiano in mostra ma, sfortunatamente, non è stato possibile vederle bene. Fortunatamente Desmond ha le foto in colore di tutte e due. Il conservatore della casa ha informato Desmond che c’è anche una statua di San Sebastiano di alabastro e ha promesso di mandare la foto sull’e-mail.

Il giardino è stato disegnato nel diciottesimo secolo da Capability Brown.

 

Painting of St Sebastian by Francesco Albani, Burghley House, Stamford.

Dipinto di San Sebastiano da Francesco Albani, Burghley House, Stamford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statue of St Sebastian in alabaster, Burghley House, Stamford.

La statua di San Sebastiano di alabastro, Burghley House, Stamford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting of St Sebastian by The School of Carlo Dolci, Burghley House, Stamford.

Dipinto di San Sebastiano dalla scuola di Carlo Dolci, Burghley House, Stamford.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

WEDDING

On Friday 21 October 2011 my eldest grand-daughter Elizabeth Chow married Joel Finney at Horsted Place Hotel, Little Horsted, East Sussex. They wanted a small family gathering and there were only 16 guests.

After the ceremony we had champagne etc and photos in the garden. Then we had a leisurely lunch in the dining room.

The following day they invited friends and family to their house in Lindfield, East Sussex, for drinks and snacks.

 

 

MATRIMONIO

Il venerdì 21 Ottobre 2011 mia nipote maggiore Elizabeth Chow ha sposato Joel Finney al Horsted Place Hotel, a Little Horsted, in East Sussex. Hanno desiderato

fare una piccola cerimonia per le famiglie e c’erano solo 16 ospiti.

Dopo la cerimonia abbiamo avuto champagne ecc e le foto nel giardino. Poi abbiamo pranzato senza fretta nella sala da pranzo.

Il giorno seguente hanno invitato amici e membri delle famiglie alla loro casa nuova a Lindfield, in East Sussex, per bibite e spuntini.

 

This photograph was taken by Andrew Chapman.

Questa foto è stata scattata da Andrew Chapman.

www.andrewchapman.co.uk

 

 

 

Joel Finney, Elizabeth Chow, William Chow and Roy Chow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Chow, Joel Finney, Elizabeth Finney and Dylan Moore.

 

 

 

 

 

Ready for lunch.  La preparazione per il pranzo.

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth and Joel, Dylan Moore, Piera and with the manager of the hotel behind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


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