The first stop on last year’s Belgian road trip was a large residence which once belonged to the town’s mayor. Now it stands locked-up, unoccupied and inaccessible …more or less.
As it happens, there is something of a trick to entering this beautiful, fully-furnished home. Knowing we wanted to explore this particular building, we had done our homework and spoken to our European contacts to ensure getting inside would not be a problem.
Let’s just say that we packed a very specific item that, while not at all illegal, would take some serious explaining were our bags to be searched at passport control.
(Nb. Just to be clear, no breaking and entering took place – that’s not how we roll …and besides, it takes the challenge out of urban exploration, if you ask me!)
I had to keep reassuring myself that this place was definitely no longer occupied. The electricity was still working and everything was as it must have been when the home was vacated. There was a really strong sense that someone could walk in the front door at any moment.
It is just so rare to find a place with so many beautiful artefacts left in place.
The item from which the house lends it’s nickname. A bit on the rusty side – I would not necessarily trust it with your vintage 45s.
Ascending up on of several staircases, we reached the first floor with bedrooms, bathrooms aplenty.
This seemed to be the master bedroom and was brethtaking as the light seeped in through the golden-orange full-length curtains. The bed was made and the wardrobe full. This house was amazingly intact and still liveable – So much so that at one point I was beginning to rethink our plan to pay for hostels.
Some rooms seem to have become informal storage rooms with assorted piles of toys, baskets, photos and ornaments all gathering dust.
There was an unassuming small door in the corner of the ‘store room’. I assumed it was some sort of cupboard and paid little attention, only quickly peering within quickly while I left my camera across the room. I was amazed to see, instead of dusty shelves and boxes, an immaculate and ornate marble-clad bath room adorned with fine china and beautiful rugs. …I went back for my camera.
Moving further up the house there were more bedrooms with the copious religious iconography we were to become accustomed to throughout Belgium.
As well as a bedroom, the top floor held a treasure trove of an attic with all sorts of interesting knick-knacks to photograph.