Sunday, April 20, 2008

St-Walburga in Oudenaarde

tapestry flirting

My cousin Mike who lives in Athens, Greece, since the mid seventies "boasts" that he has never climbed the Acropolis to visit the Parthenon! He actually says he's ashamed to admit it...

I felt like him today when I visited first time ever the St-Walburga church in Oudenaarde, my hometown since 1982 and a city I have known since 1971. The church dates from 1150 and has known construction extensions leading to its current form up until middle of the 16th Century. Click the picture above to link to a series of shots I took with my Nokia N95 (yep, true story) posted at my Flickr account.

The church tower is 88 meters tall and visible from kilometers away. The city was the birthplace of Margaretha of Parma, illegitimate daughter of King Charles V, Duke of Burgundy (among many other titles he enjoyed). Maggie's mom lived in Oudenaarde at a house that has been recently beautifully restored and nowadays is the home to an upper class restaurant and coffee-shop. Maggie was born at that place (see the building's current interior at the same Flickr posting).

I have been living here for a quarter of a century (longer, come to think of it) and like my cousin in Athens, have not stood still to enjoy the history of the city that is more than a thousand years old... I felt like an ass watching a small group of retired Texas tourists admiring the treasures of St-Walburga, assisted by a local guide... thinking that my culture lagged behind that of Texan visitors depressed me... you heard the saying: what's the difference betweens muscles and Texans? Muscles grow in cultures...

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