Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Last month we went to Bokryk, an open air museum and park in the beautiful and green province of Limburg. I can't count how many times I went there as a boy on various school trips. History has always fascinated me, and Bokryk is like being dropped smack bang in 14th to 19th century Flanders. Or a slightly dusted-off version of it.
A farmer's bedroom in a typical cottage. Places like this begg to be photographed in black&white or sepia.
It's not just static displays of old houses and tools. Things are quite lively thanks to a bunch of actors that take their role to heart. This local sheriff, or champetter in the Flemish dialects, gave anyone visiting his village a stern look.
Visitors can place a bet on the cow dung game. A meadow is divided into 10x10 fields and then they let a cow in. Then, everybody waits until the cow drops her load and if it's in your field you win. I want to emphasise that modern Flemish people do not spend their weekends staring at cows until they do a poo. Instead we watch local television, which is shit anyway. Oh, well. That's progress for you.
These lot were very weary about my camera, until I explained it was a gift from the devil that would capture their souls.
I want a garden like this. With a windmill in the background.
Any tourist that's been to Belgium knows that Bruges is famous for its lace, but it was not the only place where lace was produced. This lady is making needle lace, while in the front you can see the implements to make bobbin lace.
The is an old machine to make... things... and... stuff.
I don't care how much easier it is to make pictures with a digital camera, it will never be as beautiful as this venerable machine.
This little piggie went to the market... AND WAS NEVER SEEN AGAIN!
The catholic priest herded his flock and protected the villagers against those dangerous socialists who tried to poison the workers with crazy ideas about workers' rights, the right to vote, equality and other rubbish.
A look inside the house of the local gentry, probably a notary or a lawyer, or maybe even the mayor.
Inside the shoemaker's shop.
Bokryk even has an old town, with an old market square, with old pubs. We are in Belgium after all.
Pre-industrial revolution mechanics: a tredmill driven by one horsepower.
The village pub.
I just love windmills.
The wife of a coal miner. Poor people from all over Belgium would leave their rural villages go and work into the coal mines in Limburg and the French speaking south of Belgium. They would wear the same clothes all week long, but on Sunday they had to dress up nice to attend mass.