Mons and Eupen - What are they Like?

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Comet
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Mons and Eupen - What are they Like?

Post by Comet » 11 Jul 2006, 19:41

What are Mons and Eupen like? We are going to visit them this September and would like some up to date info about where to eat, drink, what to see etc.

Other places we are going to are Aquatopia in Antwerp and maybe Knokke
Sabena and Sobelair - gone but never forgotten.
Louise

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Post by fokker_f27 » 11 Jul 2006, 21:05

If you go to Knokke, don't forget to go to the Sea Life aquarium. At least I think it's in Knokke :oops:
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Post by AlexanderM » 11 Jul 2006, 21:29

isn't that in blankenberge?

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Post by fokker_f27 » 11 Jul 2006, 21:36

Could be... :oops: It's close tough. I remember taking tha train to Knokke and then a short tram ride to Blankenberge.

If you havn't been there, you should really visit Durbuy and Bouillon sometime.
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Post by jan_olieslagers » 11 Jul 2006, 23:43

Mons: lots of former glory, once it was the capital of the Borinage heavy industrial area but as this went down so did the city. The yearly "doudou" festival is still very famous (it's about Saint George and his dragon) but I think it's just gone now, and apart from that the town is gone rather sleepy. You might wish to consider Tournai (Doornik) as an alternative - not too far from your beloved Oudenaarde, and with a couple of very beautiful museums.

The Hainaut countryside sports some VERY nice artisanal breweries, these would surely please you; but I fear it really takes a car to visit them as they are very rural.

Eupen: the little bit I know about it is very very sleepy all year round. Perhaps Malmedy and Sankt Vith are stronger candidates for your visit.

Correct me if I'm wrong!

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Post by Comet » 12 Jul 2006, 12:16

Thanks for the replies. We are happy to consider any places which we can reach by train. Tournai is indeed a beautiful place, I remember having a gorgeous steak in a restaurant on the market square.
Sabena and Sobelair - gone but never forgotten.
Louise

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Post by airazurxtror » 12 Jul 2006, 14:58

You could find some infos in english here :
http://users.skynet.be/sky53048/Mons/Welcome.html
Mons, like Tournai, is a pleasant and rather picturesque small town.
As for Eupen, like many Belgian, I don't know much about it. I think it's in the german speaking area.

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Post by Comet » 12 Jul 2006, 15:37

Thanks for the link, that's a very handy website.

Mons is not featured much in my guidebooks so it's nice to see some photos of the place.
Sabena and Sobelair - gone but never forgotten.
Louise

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Post by regi » 12 Jul 2006, 21:44

I am a 40 year old Belgian and this is absolutely the first time that somebody would like to visit Mons. I was there some weeks ago - for business. It is just dreadful. A close comparison with a place not so far away from you is Huddersflield.
Mons seems to take you back 15-20 years in time. The ring road is just ugly. The city center has some former glory. Some. But please, don't bother.
Forget about similar places like La Louvière, Beaumont, Charleroi (the worst of all ) Liège, Philipville. Eupen is boring indeed. As been said already, Durbuy , Dinant and Namur are better. The latter has a great Citadel.
But no, no Mons. Please. You better go for fish & chips in Bradford.
By the way: have you never been to Bruges, my town? see for www.brugge.be
Good rail connections, quality tourism, culture and shopping. It is a bit like Canterbury, York or Chester, just bigger.
See you.

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Post by jan_olieslagers » 12 Jul 2006, 23:00

Comet wrote:We are happy to consider any places which we can reach by train.
If that's important consider Bruggge, as Regi rightly suggested, but also Mechelen, similar but smaller and less touristic, Hasselt, which can be combined witht the Bokrijk open-air museum, and do not forget the university cities of Leuven and Gent. All these have good railroad connections.

If you like old houses in cobbled streets do not forget the beguinages, most cities have one. The most famous are in Lier and Diest and these also have good train service.

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Post by sn26567 » 13 Jul 2006, 09:45

Eupen id indeed in the German-speaking part of Belgium, to which it was attached in 1920 after the german defaet in WW1. It has a few interesting monuments, but it is mainly a superb departure point for excursions in the unrivalled Hautes-Fagnes (Hoch Venn in German) region, a site of astounding beauty.

History museum

Image

The Jacques chocolate factory can be visited

Image

Haus Ternell is a departure point for excursions by foot

Image

When in Eupen, don't forget to dring the local bier (Eupener Bräu) in their very special way: half a glass of blonde, half a glass of dark, both on draught. They call it "Schuss"". Prosit!
André
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Post by sn26567 » 13 Jul 2006, 10:02

regi wrote:I am a 40 year old Belgian and this is absolutely the first time that somebody would like to visit Mons. I was there some weeks ago - for business. It is just dreadful.
Mons dreadful? Have you ever been there for pleasure instead of business?

Mons aims at becoming the cultural capital of Europe in 2015. 250,000 people visited it in 2005.

Hiistorical monuments:

The belfry

Image

The city hall

Image

The Jardin du Mayeur, a park near the city hall

ImageImage

The monkey, strolled by tourists from all over the world

Image

The St. Waudru church

Image
The water machine

Image

Let's not gorget gastronomy, with a lot of nice restaurants with local recipees, some based on beer, like the local St-Feuillien (a superb beer!).
André
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Post by Comet » 13 Jul 2006, 11:34

Thanks for all the replies and thanks Andre for posting those photos.

Brugge - that is where I am staying for 10 days (not long enough :cry: ) My favourite place I have visited in Belgium. I agree that it is simply outstanding and we are spending Christmas there as well.

We were considering Lier as well, as that is totally new for us. We had a short visit to Namur last year but the weather and a gross train ride let us down, it was very cloudy and dull otherwise we would have had a better look at the Citadel.

Dinant - beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. We had looked at Bouillon and Durbuy as well, and Orval, but they are impossible to reach by train.

We would like to see Mechelen again, especially if that big hole in the market square has been filled in. That was a bit of a nuisance when we were there.
Sabena and Sobelair - gone but never forgotten.
Louise

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Post by jan_olieslagers » 13 Jul 2006, 12:25

Comet wrote:We were considering Lier as well, as that is totally new for us.
Lier is a rather small town, but very charming. Things to do and see:
-) walk the parks along the river Nete
-) have a drink or even a meal on a terrace floating on the same
-) visit the Zimmertoren, a very big and complicated mechanical clock boasting the world's slowest moving dial (1 revolution in 25800 years!)
http://www.trabel.com/lier/lier-05zimmer.htm
-) visit the museum Timmermans-Opsomer
-) as I already said, walk the cobbled streets of the beguinage.

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Post by loutri666 » 21 Jul 2006, 16:57

:arrow: Comet

Here's a marvelous website in the case you didn't know it before : http://www.virtualtourist.com. I think there is all you need to know, not only for Belgium, of course :wink:

Cheers,

Seb

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Post by Comet » 23 Jul 2006, 11:54

Thanks Seb, that's a good website, I browsed round it for a while last night.

Veurne also looks nice from the photos I've seen on there, we've added it to the places to see list.

Waterloo is another possibility.
Sabena and Sobelair - gone but never forgotten.
Louise

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Post by jan_olieslagers » 23 Jul 2006, 12:12

Comet wrote:Veurne also looks nice from the photos I've seen on there, we've added it to the places to see list.
Veurne is nice indeed, a bit like Lier, and I believe with a good many memories of the Spanish occupation. But be warned that it is far out and not easy to reach, no train station unless I am much mistaken. Accidentally our radio reported about a bakery museum in Veurne this very morning, sounded quite nice but it is in the middle of a motorway exchange so not really handy for you, I'm afraid.
Remember Veurne is very close to Knokke AFB EBFN, but except the yearly airshow this is rather a sleepy place, most activity is from a weekend-only flying club and then of course our famous SAR Sea King helo's, soon to be replaced now.
Comet wrote:Waterloo is another possibility.
Waterloo is fake, crappy, phoney. It is ok for coachloads of (Japanese) tourists, and for school kids on their yearly day out. Keep out! I must allow, though, the hill with its lion makes a nice navigational landmark during my flying lessons.

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Post by airazurxtror » 23 Jul 2006, 12:45

jan_olieslagers wrote:
Waterloo is fake, crappy, phoney. It is ok for coachloads of (Japanese) tourists, and for school kids on their yearly day out. Keep out! I must allow, though, the hill with its lion makes a nice navigational landmark during my flying lessons.
I agree that, as a purely touristic site, Waterloo is not much : the Lion, the shops, and that is all.
It's another thing for those who are really interested in the four days (15 to 18 june 1815 ) campaign of Napoléon against Blücher and Wellington.
A lot of sites can be visited : Fleurus, Ligny, the Quatre-Bras, Hougoumont, Plancenoit, le Caillou, la Belle-Alliance, la haie Sainte, the church and the head-quarters in the village of Waterloo, etc.
But you need to have made your homework to understand what happened; it is then very evocative to see all the battle fields...

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Post by AlexanderM » 23 Jul 2006, 13:31

jan_olieslagers wrote:Remember Veurne is very close to Knokke AFB EBFN
You must mean Koksijde?

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Post by jan_olieslagers » 23 Jul 2006, 13:35

AlexanderM wrote:
jan_olieslagers wrote:Remember Veurne is very close to Knokke AFB EBFN
You must mean Koksijde?
Oopsie, of course you're right! A thousand apologies!
Luckily I did mention the ICAO code.

Makes one regret though ... remember times when Knokke did have its own aerodrome? Part of it still survives as a karting track, and the COA (costa) VOR must be another memory.

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