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Begin the Beguinaj (by Alex)

by on August 6, 2013

Over the past few days, we were in Belgium. We were there with Alec and Olivia (friends from PV that have Belgian passports) and Isla and Fraser (friends from the UK). On the first day, Isla, Fraser, and their mom spent the day with us, walking around Kortrijk. We saw town hall, Manten and Kalle strike the bell on the hour (two statues of guys that hit bells every 3600 seconds), and a Beguinaj (pronounced beginnage; a place where “outlier” women live who wanted to live a life devoted to god away from people). We liked the word Beguinaj.

The second day, we (including Isla, Fraser, and their mom) met Alec, Olivia and their mom. All of us took the train to Brugge. During our visit to Brugge, we took a horse drawn carriage around the town.



We saw the canals, and passed the sights. We also saw a beguinaj here. This one had a garden with trees in the middle.

The third day, we went to the beach. First, we played at the beach, had lunch, then traded flowers. One of the big things to do at the beach is to trade paper flowers to each other for shells and resell the flowers. You need special shells to trade though. We made lots of shells, spent lots of shells, and had a fun time.

The fourth day we went to Ypres. Ypres is a main battle of”The Great War”. First, we saw the Great War Museum. It talked about how Germany wanted to capture France. France had shut down their border, so Germany went through Belgium. They had to climb the highest mountain (peak at about 600 ft. above sea level) before getting attacked by the British. Second, we went on a Great War tour. We got to go into underground rooms, visit cemeteries, and go into trenches. I think the most interesting though was getting to see the arch that Adolf Hitler walked through at the German Cemetery when he was there.

On our last day, we went to Brussels. We saw the Atomium, which is sort of the Eiffel Tower of Brussels.   We had lunch in the top ball.


We walked to town square….


… tasted some chocolate (yummy!), and saw Mannekin Pis, a famous statue of a boy peeing. He was tiny and wearing one of his 800 outfits.


We liked the green version holding a waffle at a nearby store more though.


We had a fun time seeing Belgium with our friends.

PS from Daddy:  We were talking about the strange word “beguinage” and the song “Begin the Beguine”.  It turns out that the 13th century word “beguinage” did evolve into the name for a tropical dance in the 20th century, which the song is about.   Who knew?


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One Comment
  1. Uncle Phil permalink

    Quit eating my chocolate! You won’t have any left for my doggie bag!

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