Before going on our road trip around Belgium and the Netherlands, I researched unusual places to visit. Atlasobscura is a good website to find quirky places to visit, as well as the more well-known attractions. I found on here a post about an abandoned power plant not far from Mons in Belgium. The comments underneath said the plant was secured but then another said it was now unlocked with security. Anyway when finishing up in Mons, we thought we might as well take a de-tour to Charleroi and chance it!
Want to know the funniest part of the story?! As we drove around trying to find the power plant we ended up going into a working power station where the security laughed at us in broken English before turning us away! Below is a picture of Ernie looking very confused about where we should be.
When we eventually found the single standing, abandoned cooling tower and parked up a close as we could. We noticed fencing around it, however it was very old fencing and half of one side had completely fallen down. We made our way through an overgrown area towards the tower. The base of the tower was wooden and concrete and much of the land around it was overgrown. Eventually we found a row of tall stairs with a door at the top.
Ernie bravely took on the role of stealthily running up the steps to check if the graffitied door was unlocked. Guess what….
It was unlocked!
So the outside is pretty much what you see from any working power plant, just a little more overgrown and graffiti ridden. Despite my dad working in a power station for over a decade, I had never been inside a cooling tower, and it was pretty epic!
I mean the vast space inside the tower took me back. I think this feeling was strengthened with the echoing sound that bounced around the curved inside. I imagined I was Pinocchio when he was trapped inside Monstro the whale!
There was a sort of eeriness to the space aswell, abandoned, unkept, weary. There were splitting bits of wood and moss growing along the panels. You could walk around the inside of the plant, around the edge, or there were 5 small platforms that took you into the middle. From the edge of the platform you can look down to the base, which was full of worn out wooden pieces and more overgrown greenery.
Right in the middle of the tower was a circular, fountain like feature. It was full of rain water that would have fallen in through the hole at the top of the tower.
We suddenly heard some talking and I worried if it might be security, but when we looked at the door, two more guys had wondered in with a camera and began taking their own pictures. I actually felt much safer once I knew other people were exploring too! Eventually we made our way out and said goodbye to the abandoned power plant.