There was one place above all others that I needed to see while in Belgium. The building codenamed in urbex circles as ‘CDC’ has been high on my hit-list for quite some time. It’s location right in the centre of a large city meant an extremely early hotel check-out which, in turn, apparently meant arguing with the staff attempting to charge expensive parking to my room (despite explaining to them that I have never held a licence) and further grumbling at ticket machines as those who were qualified to do the driving tried to convince it to let us out. Still, we eventually got onto the road and engaged the sat-nav – only to be repeatedly directed along a closed road out of the city …this was not the start we had hoped for and I think all three of us were getting a bad feeling about the way the day was going so far.
However, once out of Brussels and onto the motorways we made up for lost time and arrived at our destination long before sunrise. The darkness was a blessing given that our target was a grand, high-profile building in the city centre and our party consisted of myself, complete with facial piercings and studded fingerless gloves, a welsh body-builder with a vintage suitcase and a Malaysian wearing a bowler hat and carrying an umbrella. I am not sure the old trick of looking like you are supposed to be there was going to cut it this time.
Given how far we had travelled and how much I wanted to get inside, I was happy and relieved to discover that the information I had been given by a previous visitor allowed us quick and relatively discrete entry.
Once into the building proper, I can only describe the dimly lit hall we saw before us as breathtaking. I have explored a number of abandoned churches and chapels and, though the building is geared more around capitalism than religion, it has all the architectural beauty of a cathedral.
To only have the main hall and it’s levels to explore would have been impressive enough but every doorway lead to a maze of ornate grand rooms of varying purpose.
Best. Explore. Ever.