Monday, October 11, 2010

most beautiful cathedral in Belgium

Today is Columbus Day.  As a federal employee, Kyle has today off of work.

Allen and Kyra attend an international school.  Columbus Day isn't a big deal in Europe.  They had school.

 Kyle wanted to do some touring so we tried to figure out a place to go that wasn't too far, had something interesting to see and that the kids would not like.

Tournai seemed to fit the bill.  It is about a forty minute drive away, has a cathedral (Belgium's most beautiful) and several museums.   In case you would not already make the assumption, Allen and Kyra are not fans of cathedrals or museums.

Our first stop in Tournai, was Notre Dame Cathedral.  Once there we quickly learned that Belgium's most beautiful cathedral which began construction in the twelfth century was undergoing massive restoration.

By massive, I mean massive.  Floor tiles were ripped up, there was scaffolding inside and outside of the cathedral.  All the windows of the nave were covered or blocked up.

There were two small chapels that were not currently affected as well as the crossing where some chairs were set up.

The stained glass rose window at the end of the nave was not blocked entirely.  I shot a photo of it through the scaffolding, as best I could.

The cathedral's treasury was open.  We saw many of the cathedral's chalices, patens, priestly garments and reliquaries.  They were very pretty and elaborate, but after a while, Kyle and I wondered how many different chalices a church would need and how many parts of saints' bodies would be enough.

Within the area dedicated to the treasury, was also the cathedral's chapter room.  Up until reading, Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth and World without End I wouldn't have know what this is.  It is the meeting room for the monks (or nuns) where they talk about the business of the monastery or abby.

After touring the cathedral, we went to the bell tower, which was closed and after lunch to the tapestry museum (Kyle's choice).  The tapestry museum had more modern art in it than tapestries.

So as for our day's criteria -
1.  Close enough for a day visit - check
2.  Kids would not like - check
3.  Something interesting to see - not really

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