Weekend Trip to Bilzen: Day #2
Yesterday, I posted about how we spent last weekend at Bilzen, and discussed in detail the first day of our three-day trip. Today I’m going to post about our second day at Bilzen, when we actually visited Sint-Truiden, and the fun things you can do there.
The second day of our weekend, we headed to Sint-Truiden, a small city about 20 km’s away from Bilzen, where our hotel was at. We parked near the city center and bought the Trudopas for both of us. I actually recommend buying this, as it’s quite cheap (4 euros) and gives you access to quite a few attractions.
With this pass, we visited the abbey tower (pictured below). I didn’t dare to take any pictures on top of the tower, as I’m afraid of heights and I was too busy holding on to anything – literally, anything – I could find, since the floor was made of steel plates which you could see through (with tiny holes in them). Terrifying for anyone who is even remotely afraid of heights, I’d say! But still, worth the climb just to get a view of the city.
A downside is that there was not that much information about the abbey showed while climbing the tower, but luckily we found more information when heading down the crypt. The crypt, by the way, was pretty awesome.
It doesn’t look that spooky now, since there’s still a lot of light coming through, but it was actually pretty spooky. We were in there all by ourselves, too, which was awesome.
This creepy figure is not a ghost, don’t worry, but it’s my boyfriend. But this just goes to show how creepy those crypts really were. Awesome inspiration for a horror author, though.
Third stop on our day was the church in the town square. The church was gorgeous, and it had a huge pipe organ. Someone actually started playing it while we were there. The church also had information about all the artworks in there, so we spend at least an hour inside, exploring all the nooks and crannies.
At the other side of the church was of course, the altar, and also some magnificent paintings incorporated into the ceiling.
After visiting the church, we also visited a museum about St. Franciscus of Assisi. The museum was very interesting, and we spent at least an hour inside exploring it, but for some reason, I forgot to take any pictures. Bummer. But if you’re ever in St. Truiden, I definitely recommend visiting the ‘Museum de Mindere‘ in St. Truiden, worth a visit and it’s free of charge!
Last but not least, we also visited another church near a cloister, and this church was very, very old, and still had some original artwork. It’s actually considered Unesco Heritage, and I can see why.
Unfortunately, we then had to hurry back to our parking spot since our time was up (we’d paid for the maximum amount of hours, but that was only 4, and time flies when you’re having fun!).
Castle Alden Biesen: Part Two
You might remember that I mentioned that the day before, we’d taken part in a nightly tour of the Alden Biesen castle. Well, now it was still day out and we’d been forced to retreat to our hotel thanks to parking limitations, we decided to take another walk to the Alden Biesen site (just a few hundred meters from our hotel) and explore.
The castle looked even better in the daylight. Those gardens!
After a nice stroll, we got some dinner and then walked in the gardens one more time before heading back to the hotel.
And just because I had to, at some point, post the mandatory selfie from during the trip, here it is.
Time for day three!
The Ruins of Fort Jonckholt
The third day of our visit, we were actually pretty exhausted. We hadn’t been able to sleep much thanks to the curtains in the hotel room letting through light, and it being bright and shiny in our room from around six o’clock in the morning onwards. It was also very, very hot, and we were a bit drowsy, so we decided to just visit one last location and then head back home.
That location was the Ruins of Fort Jonckholt. This is located pretty much in the middle of nowhere, which is why I liked it so much. Surrounded by trees, on a path you can’t access by car (we tried…. and ending up having to return), and then you enter this oasis of silence and tranquility in the middle of nowhere. Amazing.
I was a bit bummed there wasn’t more background information, though. And that we hadn’t brought a picnic, because this was an ideal location.
Here’s another view of the ruins in their entirity. You can easily imagine the castle that once stood here, but when you don’t follow the signs, you would never be able to imagine that just behind a few trees, this treasure is hidden.
I really enjoyed this trip, this little getaway, and if you’re ever in Belgium, I certainly recommend visiting this area with its hidden castles (two in one trip, who could’ve imagined!), its rich history and its calm atmosphere.