We arrived quite late in the evening and all the dedicated motorhome spaces were full, so we parked up along side several other vans that had arrived after the spaces filled up.
The next morning the weather was awful. It was cold windy and very wet! The Van leaks when it rains heavily, but never in the same place twice. Today it was the kitchen window that required a towel underneath to catch the water. Vanlife is not always glamorous. The fix appears to be to massage the rubber seal back in to place… time will tell.
We decided that the best use of the rainy day was to take the guided tour of the mine. At least it would be dry! The tour was in Dutch and neither of know a single word of Dutch so thankfully we were given a audio guide in English. We were also given hard hats, jackets and strict instructions not to smoke or use naked flames then we were lower in the cage lift 30 metres underground.
There has been mining on the site since the 16th century. The first mine shaft was sunk in 1779 and expanded throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. During the Second World War the mine’s main head frame was destroyed by the Belgians and many of the current buildings on the site were rebuilt in the mid-1940s. It was one of the last active coal mines in the Province of Liège, closing in 1980. It is one of the four Walloon mining sites listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2012.
The tour guide was obviously very engaging as the group was laughing, joking and joining in and we only had our slightly dry audio guide to listen to. However we were show the gallery at 30 metres, how the seam of coal was mined, the equipment used and how noisy it was. We were then taken down the the gallery at 60 metres below ground before coming back above ground to see the sorting and transporting of the coal. Overall it was an educational and informative visit.
We then moved on to our next stop over the border into Germany in the Eifel national park.