Bob and I were thanking our lucky stars that we had the electrics today, for it would have been hard yakka with our old bikes.

Set high upon a hilltop, the old town square of Geraardsbergen with its impressive church and town hall is quite a sight.

The church was pretty impressive, to0.

We loved the handwork, tiles

and the artwork.

The chairs looked most uncomfortable for long sits.

Manneken Pis – meaning ‘Little Piddler’ – dates to 1459 and the oldest statue of its type in Belgium. Initially named ‘Petit Julien’, it’s first listed as Manneken Pis in archives that date to 1452.

Continuing on up the hill and turning left, one could climb the Muur (wall), but that was left for another day.

Interesting Facts

  • Settled in the 11th century, like many of the towns visited this year, its original purpose was solely strategic. Situated on the Flemish border, the inhabitants were fighting a battle against the then German Kaiser, and several others.
  • In 1168, the town was granted certain freedoms for its citizens in order to encourage population growth through migration. Better than gold, the greatest right one could hold in those times was that of personal freedom, and to move to the new township enabled one to receive this.
  • The cloth trade became the town’s main bread winner from the 1100s on, followed by the lace industry during the 1600s, and by the 20th century match making, tobacco and breweries.
  • Over the centuries, Geraardsbergen experienced the devastation of war, fires and plague, but each time the people managed to pick themselves up and rebuild.