Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Is this madness?

I have an ongoing love affair with the northernmost city in France, the metropolitan area of Lille. This area is spread out across the Belgian border, as I've written earlier in "A brief visit to France".
Part of the magic is the train journey from Belgian Kortrijk (Courtrai) by way of Mouscron and then across the border to Tourcoing, Roubaix and Lille, where the terminus is a true copy of Paris's Gare du Nord.

This time I took the motor scooter to Lille, and I followed the railway closely, taking in as much of the area as I could. Normally I would only get superficial impressions in the passing, this time I took several hours instead of the usual thirty minutes.

The first station south of Kortrijk is called Lauwe. No scheduled passenger train has stopped there for years. The station had a second life as a pub, now it is for sale. Wouldn't I love to stay in there for a while. If anyone else is interested, I can provide the broker's name and telephone number.
Note, the telephone booth is not that old, yet it is an endangered species.

No old roman temples for me. This is the my idea of history, must take pictures now, it may be gone tomorrow!

Quite large areas are still in use as farmland.

No, not the Seven Bridges Road, there are only two of them here.
The French words are at the top, which means we are now in the French speaking part of Belgium.

Opposite Mouscron station the atmosphere is very much like my beloved Maubeuge, or many places in England if it weren't for the traffic here driving on the right.

Lethally pretty - I love it...

...but this is my favourite of the week!

The end of today's zig-zag ride along the railway: Tourcoing station.

Realising I had left for France from Rotterdam in the morning, and was planning to be back before midnight I asked myself: is this madness? No, most certainly not! Madness is staying in Rotterdam on a gorgeous day like this instead of breathing in that wonderful French atmosphere.

Please click on the FilmLoop to enjoy the complete series full size (95 photos)!


Koos F said...

Hi Dale (but not only Dale, but the other friends as well) seen any manhole covers on the way?
Don't forget to keep an eye on the traffic though!!!

VallyP said...

Hey Koosje, you really had a Koosday out didn't you? I would have loved a day out of Rotterdam too, but needs must when the bills's been such stunning weather this week too. Still, your railway station looks lovely and the photos of the lines with their forests of poles and cables is always fascinating. Makes me think of journeys to wonderful far off places

Sarah Beth said...

Going to see The Who at Jones Beach tonight! So excited! x

Koos F said...

Shrieeeek (sting of jealousy).
Have fun Sarah-Beth, I wouldn't mind reading a report of sorts!

ChrisB said...

Koos, you old buffer. I love reading your sentimental journeys, and yes, you ARE a leeeetle mad! But your English is damn near perfect. One thing, though, put is pronounced the same as cut.
That pic of you on the left...did you bang your head a second after the pic was taken?
Hiya, Vally.

Dale said...

My name is the first one on the page when the post is regarding madness?

Koos F said...

Oooh Dale,
Forgot about this your errrr special point. Could have mentioned anyone but just not you. Please dry your eyes, I didn't mean to be so rude.

Hi ChrisB
Good to see you here again (in an aside to the audience: Chris is my brother not in law but similar, say halfbrother in law).
Val explained to me about pronouncing put and cut and yes, in certain regions people need a more dedicated guideline. Pfffff, do I get away with this?

gypsy noir said...

i love the pic at the end those lovely old buildings..i love old railway stations they pulled ours down years ago it was so cosy and the woodwork carvings were astounding they just dont build them like that anymore..i live over a railway line we just get industrial trains passing ..not passenger ones for years, i remember the steam ones when i was young i loved the sound.... more like aluminium and coal..i have this wish that one night i will wake up and see a ghost train pass by, an old steam one with people in victorian clothes waving at me...hmmm...

bookworm said...

Hi Koos,
most I like the picture No.43 and No.60.
The story of "De Ruijter" Chocoladevlokken is very short. My sister and her husband visiting Holland one year ago. This was her present, but I forgot it in our pantry. I'm such a fool. But now I found it and we can eat every moning some.
Love and peace

jodie said...

Beautiiiiifuuuul pictures Koosje!!

Like mum said, you really had a grand Koos-adventure!

Your photo's inspire me so much I ahve now taken to carrying my camera around with me wherever I go now too! :)

Anne-Marie said...

Hi Koos,
I like Tourcoing station the most- it has such a majestic look to it. It's a shame you can't have them designated as historical places (we can here because they are old compared to most buildings) and have them saved.

Lovely set of pictures. As ever.

Koos F said...

Oh and Chris, the image is part of the design for my latest album: Koos' Next.

The title of my new live album was inspired by The Who Live At Leeds, and will be called Koos Lives At Rotterdam. Do you think it will sell?

Precious comments coming in on this post.

Your appreciation of the pictures is very important to me.
Life is communication, and publishing a picture just for the sake of it is all well and good in theory, but to me it's like a monologue. I prefer the dialogue.

Gypsy sharing real memories with us, and living near the railway. I find the sound of railways, especially at night, very soothing, comforting, reassuring. Hence the expression the best sleepers are railway s1eepers.

Yeah Stefan, happiness is in the little things, isn't it?
Thanks for your comments as well - and for your patience, watching that huge slideshow all the way to the end.

All warm and fuzzy feelings here Jo. Very happy to be an inspiration and I'm looking forward to what your always carrying a camera will lead to.

Koos F said...


These days the value of not so terribly old buildings is seen.
It is almost unreal to see how brand new 19th century buildings look after restoration.

Lille, my favourite, used to be shabby and beyond redemption. Now it is a city with a near-Parisian grandeur at only a stone's throw distance from where I live.
Lucky me.

The sixties, the era of ruthless demolition and filling-in of canals, are over.

Dale said...

Now that I'm at home, not sneaking a peak at your blog while at work, I have had time to take in the photos.

I like the one of the railway tracks the best, too, Koos. If tracks could only speak of the cargo and passengers that have rolled along their iron rails...

You are right about being mad and not taking advantage of a lovely European day!

BTW I was quite flattered that you mentioned me... I laughed and thought it was a funny observation! be honest, in my small town I don't think there is one manhole cover...I'll have to check the next largest town where I work. If I see one I will be sure to take a photo!


Dale said...

putt is pronounced like cut

put is pronounced like pute...sort of


Lannio said...

Lovely pics. I like the thought behind your view of history. My favourite was of the track straight ahead. Glad a moving train wasn't behind.


Chris B said...

"Koos' Next"....fantastic. Sell? It'll go platinum first day...;-)
This put and pute thing, is it Flemish?

E.L. Wisty said...

Hi Koos,

Very true! You are lucky to live in central Europe where you can just decide to visit the neighbouring country in a matter of some hours, so would have indeed been madness to seize the moment of the beautiful day!


Koos F said...

Thanks all for wonderful comments. It's encouraging to see that some choose the same favourite as I do - not that it is necessary, just pleasant.

Maybe we reduce the confusing by leaving the 'put' pronunciation alone.
Years go by when I myself never use the word...