We visited the old city of Mechelen which is situated between Brussels and Antwerp. It used to be the capital of the Netherlands and is now home to about 75,000 inhabitants. The city contrasts the old 16C and 17C gabled buildings with modern riverside living.
Disused wharf warehouses have been converted into trendy modern lofts. The former Lamot brewery is now a modern leisure space.
We took a guided boat tour to see more of the city from the lowest level. In fact we had to duck our heads under a couple of low lying bridges.
We then sat on the sunny terrace of a bar in a very old building and tried the delicious local Gouden Carolus beer. Well it would be rude not to! In the evening we ate the delicious local dish of cuckoo in Gouden Carolus.
Refreshed from the beer, we climbed the 514 steps of the 97m high Sint Romboutstoren. The original 16C plans were for a 160m tower but the city ran out of funds, fortunately for us as it was a high enough climb. We stopped on six levels to learn more of the history and play the carillon bells. From the top level, we could see for miles around towards Antwerp, Brussels and Leuven.
Sint Romboutstoren Mechelen
Sint Romboutstoren on Wikipedia
If you want to visit and stay overnight in Mechelen, I recommend the Novotel in Mechelenwhich is centrally situated for Sint Romboutstoren, the Grote Markt, the river, shopping and of course bars. Children stay free at the Novotel.