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October 30, 2017

Belgium - Binche and Mons - Discovering Belgian towns one at a time

I really should travel more. I know compared to a normal person, I do travel a lot, but I live in the middle of Europe, if I don't make it an effort to get out of the house and see new stuff, what is the point of living here?

And believe me the effort is not that great, basically in every direction there is something new and interesting to discover. My point, I went to Charleroi in Belgium to get someone to the airport and we were left with half a day. We could have gone back to Luxembourg or search the area. Ever since we moved to Belgium and I've started researching Belgian traditions, I've wanted to go to Binche. There is nothing special about the town, except that it is a town wrapped around the Binche carnival. The Gille is a specific character who resides in Binche and you maybe spotted him at carnivals in the area. He is the one throwing oranges at people.

The Gille intrigued me since my first carnival in Arlon (I've wrote about carnivals in Arlon, here, here and here). Why is he giving oranges and not candies like everyone else? Is he preoccupied with children's health? And why oranges? Why not something traditional to the area, like apples?

I've wanted an answer to these questions for a long time and a trip to Binche seemed like a good idea to get them. Although everywhere you look in Binche the Gille is mentioned, the answers were not easy to find, I did learn a lot about  Belgian traditions and I promise to write a special post about the Gille and his friends later this week.

Overall the town was nice, the centre was small and picturesque as you can see it from my pictures. I would not recommend to go especially to Binche if you arrive in Belgium, but maybe visit it together with another town, as we did.

After Binche we went to Mons. This small Belgian town was an European Cultural Capital last year and I wanted to see if it was something special. Turns out it wasn't. If you live in Belgium and you are used with Belgian towns, Mons is no different. I would say that the European money helped it a lot, cause it's cleaner than others, it had a lot more museums and tourist attractions and better roads, but other than that, Arlon could be an European Cultural Capital no problem. It was an interesting town though and it was worth a visit, but again Mons was not one of the towns for which one would come especially to Belgium. If you live in the area and you happen to pass it on the motorway, yes, but don't go out of your way just to visit Mons. That is my opinion.

I'll leave you with pictures:
Binche
Binche
Binche
Binche
Binche
Mons
Mons
Mons
Mons
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Raluca

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