We strolled around the city centre until we expectedly came across a 13th century Church turned into a rather popular bookstore. Incorporating the modern scheme of a shop without obstructing the religious motifs or the architectural structure in what might be considered an innovative approach is said to have been carried out by the Architecture firm Merkx and Girod which was awarded the most prestigious prize for interior architecture.
It was really impressive, I must confess, and more so when we were told the sequence of transformations it went through over the years, without ever losing its personal characteristics. This ancient church is said to have lost its religious function following Napoleon's invasion in 1794 and turned into warehouse, archive and even bicycle park.
We were finally told where we could find the tourist office and in an attempt to carry out our city exploration in a much more "organised" way we headed in that direction. We soon found out that the tourist office was more "Dutch visitors" oriented, which is to say that once more we had difficulties in obtaining written information in any other language but Dutch.
Having decided to visit St. Pietersberg caves, located some thirty minutes walk away from where we were we soon turned into Minckelerstraat so as to easily reach it. We came across old city walls, some rather interesting statues, leisure places and even details which in my opinion made a difference in the overall image of the city.
Plutarchus by Eduard Wind - 1997 (right)
Thanatus carrying his twin brother Hypnos by Jack Poell - 1986
We finally reached Herten Park just a few minutes away from the Fort of Saint Pieter, though the Luikerweg we had to walk along was going up and the temperature was rather high by then. Had it not been the willingness to visit such a highlight and we might have sat at the Park for the rest of the afternoon enjoying the shade of the numerous trees.
Statue honouring the French refugees who died in the Netherlands during the First World War by Huib Luns - 1926 (left)
Eagle protecting Saint Servatius by Han van Wetering -1981(right)
(To be continued)