After I took my 13 year old son on a citytrips to Antwerp twice, Joya asked me if I could take her to Belgium someday too. Besides Antwerp I decided to also visit the gorgeous city of Mechelen with her ~ a city just between Antwerp and Brussels. I really should’ve checked the to-do-calender for Mechelen before I booked our trip as it turned out we were staying there during their annual MaanRock festival.
The St. Rumbold’s Tower is Mechelen’s centrepiece: a towering 15th century cathedral, 318 feet (97 metres) and more than 500 steps high. Climbing to the top takes about 20 minutes, but you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view over Mechelen. We really wanted to climb the tower but onfortunately it was closed, because of MaanRock and it’s many, many, many tourists! Luckily there were plenty of other things to see and discover around this beautiful city.
Having fun on the gigantic Opsinjoorke near St. Rumbold’s Churchyard. This puppet is Mechelen’s mascot. During festivities or parades through the city the puppet is thrown up into the air.
We stayed at the Mercure Vè hotel, this is a 4* designhotel on the cosiest square in Mechelen: the Vismarkt. Mercure Vé is situated in a former fish smokehouse and an old cigar factory. They kept the unique structures of the buildings and combined them with modern architecture and contemporary luxury. It really is an beautiful place to stay while your visiting Mechelen!
I booked a deluxe room but upon arrival they couldn’t find it in their system. Thankfully they could see my registration and payment but it somehow wasn’t linked to a room. We had to wait for a while when the girl behind the desk made some calls. All the other rooms were all fully booked, because of the MaanRock festival so I was a little worried for a minute. Then we got some great news; we got an upgrade to the Junior Suite! This gorgeous room ~ with a fireplace (ahh!) was located right above the entrance of the hotel with an amazing view over the Vismarkt! We also got to use the wellness centre for free ~ which was amazing! It has a swimming pool, 2 sauna’s (1 traditional and one colortherapy sauna) a Hamman and a Jacuzzi. Somehow Joya and I were the only ones to use it that morning, we had the entire wellness centre to ourself and for a few hours we really felt like VIP’s! I have stayed in many hotels but this one is definately one of my favourites!
Look at this gorgeous building! And do you see those 3 windows above the entrance? That’s where our room was! It was beautiful! With a fabulous view over the fun Vismarkt.
You can’t fail to notice the three houses near the bridge. They date from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and are what draws people to the Haverwerf. The corner house is called Het Paradijske, Little Paradise. The reliefs above the windows depict the scenes ‘Earthly paradise’ and ‘The tree of knowledge of good and evil’.
In the middle is De Duiveltjes, The Little Devils, one of the most beautiful wooden façades in the country. We know that it used to be called De Verloren Zoon, The Prodigal Son, because the story is depicted above the front door. Now it is named after the little devils which act as pillars. On the left is the house known as Sint-Jozef; in the middle is a relief of St Joseph with the Child Jesus.
Ofcourse we had to visit the Garage! At this museum we admired all the Modern Riddles made by Tamara van San.
De Garage describes itself as a Space for Contemporary Art. It offers a packed programme of small exhibitions and though the emphasis is on young artists, this is certainly not to the exclusion of work by established names.
Mechelen, you are beautiful! See you again soon!