Since we were getting nowhere fast with finding a boatyard willing and able to take on Piedaleau, we booked a month’s berth at Wambrechies. The problem seemed to be that we are too big for small scale yards, with little cranes, but too small for big yards with huge dry dock facilities which usually deal with commercial boats. So we drew up a couple of lists – places we wanted to visit / jobs that are outstanding – with a view to making the most of our enforced stay. No sooner booked than we found a boatyard!
So our plans changed again ……… we left Wambrechies on Tues 28th May and made our way slowly to the north of Ghent where we will have the dubious pleasure of a ‘floating pontoon’ method of lifting Piedaleau. Not sure how this will work but should be interesting! Never a dull moment in this boating world……
In the meantime we ticked off some items on our visiting list……
Distillerie Claeyssens de Wambrechies
Right beside the port de plaisance at Wambrechies is the distillery! We went on a guided tour complete with tasting session….
The distillery is a couple of hundred years old and has now been given National Monument status. This includes both the buildings and most of the machines in use but makes it difficult for the owners to update the technology in line with other places.
The main product is the ‘traditional fabrication’ of Caeyssens GIN but they also produce some whiskies and beer. ‘Traditional’ involves use of the old machinery & methods so that gin is only produced during the winter months – the old machines with leather belts cannot operate in the summer. This time is used to maintain the machinery and renovate the buildings.
The tasting and shop were excellent!
LaM —– Museum of Modern Art
The museum is located on the outskirts of Lille and has the most superb grounds which showcase larger sculptures.
The temporary exhibition, which attracted a lot of visitors, was of the works of Alderto Giacometti, Swiss painter, sculptor & draughtsman. I particularly liked the group of sculptures entitled The Women of Venice which was lit so as to throw silhouettes onto the surrounding white walls.
Open Air Museum
This is a collection of old buildings saved, transported and reconstructed within a parkland space. It includes farm buildings, houses with animals & gardens to enhance the whole. Old crafts, housed in various of the buildings, are represented & there seems to be a training element with people coming to learn and practice in the tranquil surroundings. Crafts such as glass window making, blacksmith, wood turning, puppetry and the repair of the ‘geants’ that are still used in some local town processions.
Hospice de Comtesse
Located in the heart of Old Lille, the museum is housed in the hospital which was founded in 1237 by the Countess Jeanne de Flandre and which remained in service until 1939. The present buildings date back to the 15th, 17th and 18th centuries. They consist of a hospital ward with a panelled barrel vault ceiling, a chapel decorated with the coats of arms of the hospital’s main benefactors and buildings belonging to the community of Augustine nuns, all arranged around two courtyards and a medicinal garden.
Since 1962, these buildings are the setting for a collection of paintings, tapestries, wood sculptures and porcelain from the region, thus creating the atmosphere of a 17th century Flemish small convent.
I have copied the above description from the guide book. I had been really interested to visit but was disappointed when we finally got there. Thought it would be along the lines of the Hospice at Beaune. The main ward and chapel were closed off because of a temporary exhibition and the Pharmacy was closed for works! So all the areas I particularly wanted to see were not open! The guy at the desk was very dismissive when I said I was disappointed because of this, basically saying there wasn’t that much to see anyway!
I liked the portraits of young girls and the 18th century globes – both terrestrial & celestrial…..
Restaurant La Balsamique
Lovely restaurant with interesting menu, good staff & very well frequented!
Creperie de Wambrechies
Delicious crepes – both savoury & sweet – again packed out on a Wednesday evening!
After visiting the Museum of Modern Art we needed some refreshment before going onto the Open Air Museum. We found a bikers’ stop cafe which served everything in pots!