During our girls weekend in Brussels, we decided to spend Saturday in two cities in Flanders that I had not visited to date: Mechelen and Leuven.
The reason for these cities is simple to explain: both are very well connected with Brussels and within walking distance. In about thirty minutes by train we planted in Mechelen. The main station is about fifteen minutes from downtown. The Grote Markt It was the starting point of our tour that would take us through the most emblematic points of the city in one morning. Saturday is market day at the Grote Markt and when we arrived at the square they were already riding the stops.
The city of Mechelen It is ideal to travel on foot or by bicycle, since traffic is restricted in the city center. In the Grote Markt is the tourist office, where we enter to find information and buy a small guide (€ 3) with itineraries to tour the city.
The buildings that stand out most in the square are the town hall and the San Rumoldo Tower, both surrounded by beautiful buildings from the 16th and 18th centuries.
From the town hall we take Befferstraat Street to the Margarita Palace of York and the next one Margarita Palace of Austria. The latter is the first Renaissance building that was built in the Netherlands but, unfortunately, we could not visit the interior because it was closed that morning.
We follow our route by Mechelen on foot until you reach Museum and documentation center on the Holocaust and Human Rights which stands before the former headquarters of the S.S. of the Nazis. From here, more than 25,000 Belgian Jews and Gypsies left for the Auschwitz concentration camp.
About five minutes from there we found the Beguineage, a place where women lived together to dedicate themselves to the Christian life without having to enter a convent. In a way, they were ahead of their time as they lived independently and, in addition to devoting themselves to helping the most destitute, they could also develop intellectual tasks. Unlike nuns, beguines could leave the beguinaje to get married.