The rider in purple, or De paarse ruiter

Landsmeer Travel Blog

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After reading Ken Follet's novels on medieval times in southwestern England my interest in the subject was stirred-up. How religion was not just a part of life, but how religion WAS life in that period.
It was the hey-day of priors, monasteries, abbeys. Churches were founded in even the smallest village, and in the bigger towns great cathedrals were built for the glory of God. Convents would give shelter to travellers. Parents - both rich and poor - would send sons and daughters to these holy convents, noble widows would spend their last years in a convent; and those convents would florish by this population as well as by the gifts of the noblesse.
The entire medieval society in Western Europe in the years after about 1000 AD was based on a religious structure, a fact I never payed attention to before, a fact I actually hardly can imagine.
So, as i said, my interest in the second medieval period was stirred-up, and I was eager to read more about it. Ofcourse the matter should not be too tough, so I would stuck to historical fiction, novels that is.
And I came upon this series by a Flemish author, about the Knights Templar. It seems Flandres was a centre of Templar Knights culture. The first part of the series is called "De paarse ruiter" which could be translated as "The rider in purple".
The story tells about a young knight, who is sent on a mission, and the first stop he has to make was in the town of Gonda where the earl of Flandres had his residence.
Now with just a little thinking and a slight bit of research that town of Gonda was ofcourse the city which is now known as Ghent, and the place where the earl had his residence is ofcourse "het Gravensteen".

And that just did it. I want to see that spot with my own eyes. So I suggested my oldest daughter that trip to Ghent, on which she respond: "Flandres? That is Belgium, right? Ofcourse I want to go with you" and that settled it.
So today, only a few days after I started reading that novel, I booked a trainticket and a hotel. Now we need a few weeks of patience before we can hop on the train and leave for Ghent!

mego2 says:
Interesting Travel Blog, I enjoyed it. Thanks : )
Posted on: Aug 04, 2009
ik-ben-10eke says:
So was I, actually when reading such novels I always take the map of the country (nowadays it is Google maps [BG])to look for the location. There is a place called Kingsbridge in the UK, but that is in the south of Devon... so I almost know for sure that isn't the right one :)
Posted on: Jul 30, 2009
Adrian_Liston says:
I just read the Ken Follet novels recently and I was very disappointed to learn that "Kingsbridge" was not a real cathedral that I could visit :)
Posted on: Jul 30, 2009
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