This article is part of a series that explores Mons (Belgium)
Between the tourist traps that should be famed for the prowess of serving you meat that’s simultaneously frozen AND burnt and the overpriced cafés where the waiters are so rude you’d believe they’ve spent the last twenty years isolated from the rest of humanity in a disused bomb shelter, it is difficult to find a nice place to eat in Mons. Like all small towns whose days of glory are long gone, Mons still thinks it is the centre of the world, and it shows in the way it treats the innocent people who dare to ask for a decent dish served by a decent person at a decent price. But worry not; I’ve got your back! Continue reading
Silence has fallen on Saint-Symphorien’s military cemetery as the sun goes down in the West. The grey Commonwealth-issued tombstones cast long shadows over the manicured lawns, and the roses have started shedding their petals one by one. I cannot help but wonder whether they are military-issued too. Previous visitors have left a handful of stones on a Jewish soldier’s grave. I do the same and walk on between the narrow alleys. The cemetery is not the largest in the region; only 513 of the 3,700 British and German soldiers who died in Mons in late August 1914 are buried here. In the aftermath of the slaughter, many of them were hurriedly inhumed in local cemeteries, or their bodies were simply accounted as missing. Continue reading
The perilous exercise of writing the introductory post for a new blog comes with its own series of clichés to avoid like the plague (like, for instance, using the phrase “to avoid like the plague), such as the self-interview format, the overabundance of links, the desperate call to a publisher and unrelated pictures of baby hyenas. Well, guess what!