Tuesday July 13. Visiting Jeannine’s roots in Belgium

Written by Jack van Ommen on July 13th, 2010

Last night, after the thunderstorms and downpours calmed down, we had a family affair at the “de Schinkel” marina. Jeannine and Gabrielle got to meet her two nieces Phoebe from Amsterdam and Phoebe from Perth. My nephew Dirk Jan was there with his two sons and my sister and brother in law. We left early today and spent about three hours in Brughes. Most of it in the Bequinage and the Our Lady Cathedral. Our next stop was Halle the Flemish city near Brussels where Jeannine was born, April 12, 1969. We found the hospital, which is no longer used as a hospital. I had forgotten how charming Halle is and the Basilica of Saint Martin dating back to 1267 is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever visited.

We looked in at the house we rented, when Jeannine was born, on Rue du Mazy in Ittre in the French speaking part of Belgium just south of Brussels, where Napoleon fought his last battle. The church where Jeannine was baptized in Ittre was open. We are staying at the Relais du Marquis and just finished dinner nearby. The farm raised mussels are in season, so the choice was easy. Gabrielle is in her fourth year French and she was able to read and order from the menu. The rolling hills and the large centuries old farmhouses with their white washed stone walls, the smell of the Linden tree blossoms brings back sweet memories of the wonderful years we lived here in the late sixties. We stopped at the nearby village of Braine le Chateau with one of the very few surviving pillories and the castle of the Count of Horne who was decapitated together with the Count of Egmont by the ruthless Duke of Alva during the 80 year Spanish war in the Low Lands for their support of the Dutch Prince of Orange against the Spanish Inquisition. The city of Hoorn in my previous blogs and the Cape Horn were named after the Count of Horne.


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Sean McDonnell says:

    Jack, you are never supposed to reveal a womans age! Just kidding