Meandering through Belgium

We’ve had an interesting day today, visiting Wallonia and finding out a little about Belgium’s industrial heritage. First we went to The Grand Hornu, a beautiful architectural complex dating from the Industrial Revolution.

The Grand Hornu is a former colliery, and a new town project that was built to include the miners’ residential district, as well as colliery workshops and offices.

Industrial operations stopped in the 1950s but the site has been saved and renovated. It now houses the Museum of Contemporary Arts. We enjoyed looked round the exhibitions on architecture and artisan crafts.

Out next stop was Le Bois du Cazier. This was the site of a major mining disaster in 1956, in which 262 miners of 12 different nationalities died. The site is maintained as a memorial. It was very sad to hear what happened.

Le Bois du Cazier also houses the Museums of Industry and Glass. We watched a couple of interesting films, then wandered around the museums.

Finally we moved on to Dinant where we’re parked in another free aire for the night. Not having to pay for a campsite freed up money to pay for a meal out. I don’t know why the UK is so slow to adopt the aire system when there’s evidence that local towns and businesses benefit! Anyway… we enjoyed the Belgium specialities of beer, and chips with mayonnaise 🙂

Dinant is on the River Meuse, which is looking very brown today after a lot of rain! There’s a fortified citadel high on a rocky outcrop above the town, and a gothic church. Also, there are saxophones everywhere because it’s the birthplace of the saxophone inventor, Adolphe Sax. Tomorrow we’ll explore a bit more and, hopefully, we might even get some sunshine!

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