21.8.11

Graveyard Shift

Nowadays in Western Europe, it seems hard to imagine that one day people went to church every Sunday, praying, confessing, fearing judgment and hoping to be buried among their forefathers one day on the church grounds. But the churches didn't disappear when faith was carried away by changing times. In fact, I'm pretty sure every European village grew organically around their village center, which by rule of law had to include a church, a bakery and a butcher shop - in that order. Every villager needed their daily prayer, bread and meat, right? So it should come as no surprise that my tiny town has a church as well. Since we live in the center, "our" church is visible from our front door and we can still hear the bells ringing in every half hour. I find our church and graveyard beautiful, especially when the sun is a-shining. 

Since me and my boyfriend wanted to take a walk yesterday, called out by the beautiful blue skies, I suggested we'd take a tour around the village center. Sometimes you underestimate the beauty of your immediate surroundings. Our few hundred meter walk ended up taking an hour and then some because we strolled ultra-casually, soaking up the sun and those details you usually pass by without a second glance. 
Let me share some sights :-) Warning: loadsa pics coming up!

 Front entrance to our church, lined by the graveyard. My boyfriend on the right :-)


I decided to wear a white dress: more appropriate than colorful attire on a graveyard, but not as "hey let's look goth" as all black. I didn't want to fake anything but still be respectful.


Anyone have any idea what those scary looking spiked fences might be for? Maybe to keep people from urinating against the church walls?


When we got to the church portal I realized I had never even been inside while I have been living here for about 6 years. Time for change!


The light, the echo, the scent and the cool temperatures in churches always fill me with a calm awe. Whenever I enter a church, I suddenly understand why some people are religious.


How beautiful is this old chariot hearse? 


My favorite part of church was always the pulpit. As a kid I always dreamed of going up there but while I am quite a daredevil and not that susceptible to authority, churches still fill me with a quiet sense of what you're (NOT) supposed to do. A feeling of preemptive guilt in a way. Oy vey!

Let's go outside again.


This gravestone dated back to 1770! Amazing piece of history.


This is what I want my grave to look like: simple and bursting with life in the form of wild flowers.


ZOMBIES

Haha couldn't help myself


This crazy-awesome Jesus mosaic was made by a famous local family of masons.

Now on to a less morbid part: we encountered some of the graveyard locals. No, not zombies! Cats! First up, Roland (as we called him). All he wanted was to be cuddled. TO DEATH


I basically wanted to bring him home with us, but sadly we already have four cats. I am destined to become a crazy catlady yo.


These two weren't in the mood for cuddling, but adorable nonetheless. Especially the black and white kitten with the luscious whiskers! 


The sun, flowers, cats, two crazy kids in love (hint: US) and ladybugs: it really struck me how beautifully filled with life this graveyard was. A nice pick-me-up after the last few difficult days with the Pukkelpop disaster. After life ends, life goes on. Even if mankind would go extinct, life would go on. I'm not religious at all, but I guess sometimes being confronted with classic religions, history and life really puts things in perspective. I feel relieved.


dress: River Island
bag: Zara
sandals: Sac d'Anvers


PS: to prove my point:


This is the beautiful, monumental "freedom" oak that is basically our town's mascot. The tree is around 120 years old,  20 meters high and I really love it. It will go on living long after I am gone, and I take comfort in that fact.

Am I being too depressed again? I didn't mean to be, I actually feel this is a happy post! :-) Please share with me your thoughts on religion, life and death. Or cats! :-D


34 comments:

  1. This may sound weird, but I love to walk at grave yards...
    There's just that special peace and quiet no other place can top.
    I'm a big fan of those very old grave yards, like Père Lachaise for example.

    Great pictures & you look amazing!

    x Krizia

    Shark Attack - Fashion Blog

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  2. "But the churches didn't disappear when faith was carried away by changing times." I don't mean to be dreadfully rude, but you said to share our thoughts so that's what I'm doing. Your statement that I quoted is very offensive and entirely untrue. Yes, churches didn't disappear with changing times, but faith most certainly did not disappear either. Unless you have faith in God and know many others who share that faith as well, and there soooo many, you would never be able to make that statement. Faith was never carried away. May I ask where your foundation is for that statement?

    Anyway, it is a gorgeous church, and I love the wildflowers in the graveyard. Your minimalistic outfit is lovely, as well. :)

    xo
    Maria Elyse
    First Impressions
    Flying Ships Vintage

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  3. Don't make jokes about freakin' zombies, they're my worst nightmare!!! :D

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  4. Wow its so pretty there! And awww kitties and a ladybug! :D
    http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

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  5. The english for that speakers chair is 'Pulpit'
    love the white dress! x

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  6. wowzers! these photos are gorgeous. i'm not religious at all and never understood my predominantly catholic family but i agree there is something so calming and peaceful being in a church. the prettiest churches ive seen have been in italy..i could spend hours looking round them. however, i do think all churches should look like the one from romeo + juliet (the leonardo dicaprio one). that preaching chair thing is called a pulpit in english. i once had to do a reading from that in front of my entire school...im not meant for public speaking!
    you look beautiful as always. the dress is gorgeous and your hair is off the chart today! :)

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  7. Ik vind een boom in ieder geval veel aangenamer om naar te kijken dan een kerk. Klinkt een beetje gek maar ik kijk veel liever naar de natuur en onze planeet en wat zich er daar buiten afspeelt dan dat ik iets 'manmade' inspirerend vind, zeker iets zoals religie. Ik snap zeker dat mensen zich getroost kunnen voelen door een 'spirituele' aanwezigheid in hun leven maar religie heeft gewoon veel te veel kapot gemaakt en is veel te judgemental om nog inspirerend te zijn, voor mij. Kerken vind ik ook eerder intimiderend en deprimerend dan mooi. Naja, ze zijn wel mooi maar als je nadenkt over wat de zogezegde boodschap van Jezus destijds had moeten zijn kan je hardly denken dat dat is wat hij bedoelde. Ik vind het trouwens heel aangenaam om me te bedenken dat we helemaal niks betekenen in ons universum. Puts things into perspective meer voor mij dat alle religieuze dingen die de mens als de top van alles zien (buiten de god(en) in kwestie zelf natuurlijk).

    Ik weet ook wel dat er prima een heleboel mensen zijn die gewoon in een god geloven zonder dat ze homoseksualiteit of seks voor het huwelijk als een zonde of whatever zien maar ik denk toch altijd aan euh, a certain side of the family op dat vlak. :-D Prima functionerende mensen die een baan hebben, meedoen aan de wafelbak op school en in het weekend eens naar de bioscoop gaan maar als je aan hun vraagt of je mag scheiden als je niet gelukkig in je huwelijk bent of ofdat je niet gewoon seks met je vriend/vriendin mag hebben omdat het fijn is en omdat je, god forbid, van hem of haar houdt, zijn het in een keer mensen met de opvattingen van in de middeleeuwen.

    ANYHOO, Roland is een van de mooiste poezen die ik in tijden heb gezien! Hij lijkt een beetje op de pappie van onze kittens, R.I.P. Er zitten hele mooie foto's bij en ik heb ook altijd de neiging om over zombies te beginnen op graveyards.

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  8. zoals ik zei op fb: de kerk zelf bracht me natuurlijk niet echt troost. Toen ik zei dat ik "begreep" wat religieuzen voelen in een kerk was dat eigenlijk een mengeling van positief en negatief: zo'n kern maakt indruk en is een prachtige, rustige omgeving, maar tegelijk voel je ook de enorme morele druk die zo'n omgeving en de praktische geschiedenis van religie meteen op haar gelovigen legt. Schuldgevoelens en een eeuwige imperfectie. Maar een kerkhof als zijnde een geschiedkundig monument, propvol met leven vind ik wel prachtig. En in zekere zin zet zo'n kerk de dingen wel in perspectief voor me: door nog eens na te denken over wat zo'n kerk betekent voor veel mensen besef je zelf ook ineens wat het betekent slechts een schakel in de keten van het leven te zijn. Snappie?

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  9. pretty post :D That grave with all the flowers looks great... for something so morbid. xP

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  10. Lovely post! Your dress is beautiful, and so are all the wildflowers growing on the graves. I love all the colors.
    Those cats are so cute! Especially the orange one, so fluffy!

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  11. Only problem with this post: No cute boyfriend photos. The rest is awesome. :)
    No I seriously love the embroidery on the skirt--it's pretty. And the shot of all the wildflowers is great, too.

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  12. but he IS in the pictures! you can see him rubbing roland (haha that sounds so wrong) and in front of the church! :D

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  13. Thanx for that tour..Honestly I felt as if I was there!!
    You look simple but still so elegant :))
    x

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  14. Gorgeous photos!! This graveyard is really beautiful, I am not particularily religious but I do find graveyards, churchs, etc to be extremely beautiful and peaceful areas. I really love the dress you're wearing here, so beautiful, the opening in the back is really wonderful as is the detailing along the bottom
    xJennaD

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  15. Gorgeous photos! You definitely achieved your goal of look pretty, but not disrespectful. Which I actually think is kind of tricky to do in graveyards. I have taken outfit pictures in them before, but they always ended up looking a bit distasteful. Yours are really quite lovely, though.

    This graveyard is especially pretty too! I love the flowers and kitties everywhere. Even in a place of death, there is life. Very circle-of-life, hakuna matata, etc. Yep, that's about as deep as my religion goes: Disney movies,

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  16. These photos are beyond amazing. That church - too beautiful for words. My boyfriend (who was sitting on the couch watching sports) actually stopped what he was doing and looked them with me, commenting once in a while on how nice it was.

    xx
    thistimeisacharm.blogspot.com

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  17. haha you are like me with the cats, when we were in asia i made friends with so many cats!! so hard to leave them behind.

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  18. Haha "graveyard locals"-- love it! I love that first shot with the church in front of you-- you're so brave! I'm a big pansy when it comes to graveyards.

    La Petite Marmoset

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  19. Beautiful! I love old Catholic churches. It IS Catholic, right? That must be a very American thing to ask; here in Nashville more people still go to church, and we have a different denomination on every corner. I had no idea European towns were legally required once upon a time to be built around church, bakery, and butcher shop... So interesting!

    <3 jen @ stuffjendid

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  20. the cuddly cat has the most amazing coat! I wouldn't have resisted petting it either :) or wanting to take it home :)

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  21. so funny, i live in the village centre too, i can see the church from my house and i use it as a clock! oh so many cats! anyway, love the photos and of course that gorgeous white dress! huge fan of the back of the dress! perfect with the little bag girl

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  22. weeelllll....cats are amazing....so that's all i have to say.

    no, but this looks like a lovely day with your boy. i can understand why churches give you the feelings you mentioned though....if they look like this one haha.... but it is indeed very beautiful! many old churches are. :)
    xx

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  23. The church looks gorgeous! Aww Roland the cat is gorgeous!! Love your dress, the detailing on it is so sweet! xx

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  24. i love history, it never ceases to amaze me! we and my boyfriend went for a walk yesterday around the park and the street that i grew up in, and i think i'd forgotten how very beautiful it was.

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  25. Oh I would have so cat-napped Roland he is beautiful. I get mixed feelings when entering a church. I was in a Catholic school for many, many, maaany years, 11-12 more or less. But I am the complete opposite of what the Catholic church wanted me to be, I have grown far apart these sort of institutions. On the other hand, there are some beautiful buildings as churches, but here in Spain they are covered in gold and silver to excess. It's almost insulting when you see the poor people begging outside, and the luxuries surrounding the figurines inside.... in Easter is even more madness. I could go on foreeeeever discussing my thoughs on religion so I won't.
    Pukkelpop was so sad to hear about. I was there 2 years ago.

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  26. Dude, a shoot at a graveyard? Now who's weird? :D The oak is beautiful though ;) x

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  27. Die rosse kat is ZO schattig! Mooie foto's :)

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  28. I really enjoyed this post...what a cool glimpse into your town's history! The photo of the wildflower-covered grave is so pretty, and OF COURSE I love all the graveyard cat photos! The black and white kitten reminds me of my sister's kitten. So sweet!

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  29. I actually really like visiting cemeteries, especially old ones. There's a sense of connection to past generations there, even if it is a place for the dead. I can't help but imagine what the lives of all those people were like back in the day.

    That pulpit is SO impressive. I visited a church in Montreal with an impressive pulpit too, and then found out they didn't actually use it during sermons, lame!

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  30. I really love this post! I always wanted to do one myself.
    It's amazing how positive this post looks to me, despite the cemetery. The weather was beautiful and you look very serene. The white dress is very appropriate, sunday church feeling coming up!

    And off course KITTIES!!!!!!!!

    http://in-so-mnia.blogspot.com/

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  31. I love looking at old churches too. The ones in Europe are awesome because they're usually so old! I'm loving all of these pictures. You look lovely in your white dress too.

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  32. I actually always think the exact same thing in big churches, how people CAN be religious seeing all of the wealth that was taken from the poor and spent on gold plated walls, cups, monuments, etc, but I guess I am getting sidetracked and thinking of the many cathedrals and even smaller churches I saw in Mexico and Spain, to which this one actually seems quite humble. The inside is beautiful still and the graveyard is so pretty as well. Loved seeing these nature pics, and the cats. The cuddly one is so adorable.

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  33. Woah. that church is so pretty. That is a pretty Oak too!!! I love your dress!

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  34. 1) I'm only speaking or MY personal context. People my age around these parts are not at all religious anymore, while our grandparents were ALL very religious so yeah, my statement is purely factual in nature.

    2) I always find it strange how religious people demand respect from non religious others, while they hardly ever respect it if someone else is not religious or chooses a lifestyle that clashes with their personal beliefs. I'm not saying that this is something YOU do, but it it something I encounter often and seem to sense in the tone of voice in your comment. I'm not passing judgement on those who do believe, I'm just sharing my experiences. With your permission? :-p

    haha but I enjoy you giving your honest opinion!

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