Sunday, January 12, 2014

From Zeeland to Cambrai

We are very fortunate in where we live. The Netherlands is a small country and we are in the south, so it takes us very little time to cross a border or two and be in a different European country. Most of the time we confine ourselves to Belgium for day trips out, but every couple of months, we go to France, or sometimes to Germany. 

I was looking through the photos on my little pocket camera the other day and found a bunch that I'd forgotten about. They were taken on one of these days out we took, and this one was a trip just before Christmas when we went to Cambrai for the day.

For those who don't know it, Cambrai is a very charming town in northern France, quite famous historically for being the centre of the League of Cambrai during the sixteenth century, and in the twentieth century for one of World War 1's battles. These days, it maintains grace and charm, but is neither very big nor very important - except to us that is - for it is on a serious waterway route into France and is just one of those places Koos and I like to go to boat watch.

Zeeland Brug - 5kms long

 From Zeeland, where we spend most weekends (see the great Zeeland bridge above), it takes about two hours to drive to Cambrai. This is very do-able and an easy, pleasant trip. One of its main attractions is the restaurant on the canal side called the Jolly Sailor. This appealing hostelry is run by an Englishman and Frenchman partnership who own a lovely old Dutch barge that they keep moored up in the canal just outside the restaurant. David, the English partner, is an accomplished pianist and singer and loves to entertain the guests during their busy lunch times. Alain, the French side, runs the show, keeps the customers happy and is equally convivial and entertaining in his own way.

Alain from the Jolly Sailor and Koos

We love going there even though we rarely eat much, but it feels like such an occasion. Since we can also finish off with a lovely walk along the canal, there is nothing much more that can make us content. Below are some of the photos I took on our last visit when the sun was shining and the reflections on the water were particularly vivid. Just one of those special days that live on in the senses and sentiments.

Road and Rail bridges over the canal

Canalside walls are always covered in graffiti

A very 'des res'

Reflections are always appealing

I love roofscapes like this


  1. Great pictures. Looks like a great day trip. Cambrai... well know for the deployment of armor and one of the early armor attacks documented by J.F.C.Fuller. All required reading.

    Great water pictures, of course.

  2. Your last two photos would make great paintings, Val! I've never heard of Cambrai but it looks really attractive and I like the sound of the Jolly Sailor. Last night I finished reading Watery Ways, and now can't wait to read the sequel. That's the sign of a good book...It is nice to see a photo of Koos, who has an attractive grey beard, just like my HB :)

  3. Thank you, Jack! You seem to know quite a bit about the more military aspects of Cambrai's renown :)

    Patricia, thank you!! I'm so glad you've enjoyed Watery Ways! I'm not exactly sure when Harbour Ways will be ready, but I'll be sure to post about it as soon as I know. The editing is nearly complete, so it shouldn't be too long now.

  4. I enjoyed this so much. I have just begun following your blog after following you on Twitter. I am looking forward to reading more.

  5. Thank you, Margaret! I've just popped over to yours too and was very entertained by your post. I've clicked the 'follow' button, but I think I'll have to add you to my list to see your latest posts.

  6. Beautiful photos, Val. And I've always thought Zeeland is such a great name for a place. Zeraland would be another good one, hey? ;)

  7. I love these photos. Hard to say which is my favorite...they all are!

  8. You are a very lucky girl! Love the photos,very atmospheric.

  9. Wow! Thank you all! I haven't been here for two days, so I'm very touched by the enthusiasm for my snaps!

    Anne, I am so aware of how lucky we are. It really is something to be able to pop over a border of two and be in a different country with a different language. It's one of the best things about living here!

  10. Loved all the photos. It felt like I was on the trip too!


  11. I also enjoyed seeing your extraordinary photos! My favorite was the Road and Rail bridges over the canal.


  12. Hello Val it is true that a picture and in this case a photo is worth a thousand words.

    I too appreciate the roof-scape scene because it depicts properties that are familiar to me. Whereas the 'des res' are just two blocks of flats!

  13. Lovely photos, Val. This is something I really envy Europe for, although I must say the North American landscape is breathtakingly beautiful and there is much to see here as well.

    The idea that you can travel to many countries at the drop of a hat is one I am envious of.

    On a completely different note, I'm back blogging. :)

  14. Great photos. That des res made me think of all the houses along the Thames that were des res until the recent floods!

  15. Mel, I'm very fond of those roof scapes. I love the shapes. The des res pic was more about the sky than the buildings. I love skies too, but I do agree with you!

    Anne Marie, I'm thrilled you're going to be blogging again. I've missed you here!

    Ros, that's sad to know the des rezzes got flooded! The Thames is a volatile river. Luckily, this is just a canal.


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