17 September 2010

Mechelen, a Pretty City

Mechelen is a very pretty city, even if nobody here thinks it's anything special. It's bypassed by tourists, for the most part, on the way from Brussels to Bruges. All the postcards appear to have been taken on a single day in 1992. People aren't used to having Americans around.
They have some very nice buildings, though, and it's a nice city to walk around. This is the main square during the day.
And at night. They light up a few things and let the rest of the city stay dark, which is kind of a relief after the excessive architectural spotlighting of Ghent.
Quite a bit of Mechelen was destroyed during WWII, and it's fun to wonder what it would have been like without all of the hastily-built, square, brick buildings filling in the bombed spaces. Like Holland, the people here built a lot of very ornate facades in front of narrow, sharp-angle roofs.
As you can see, the cathedral is massive. The tower dominates the skyline in a city where very few buildings are more than five or six stories tall. It's not particularly remarkable in any way, but it's amazing to look up at.
I'm including this picture, above (of an unknown building), to highlight how beautiful the day was, until...
...this storm came along. It appeared out of nowhere, and we had a half-hour of intense rain. Luckily, Rebecca had been lugging her umbrella around, so we only got half-soaked.

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