This was an interesting little find - an automated bakery outlet.
Basically it is a hi-tech vending machine with its wares; breads and cakes, in glass fronted boxes, each of which is numbered. Prices are displayed at the side and what you do is feed your coins into the slot, use the keypad to enter the box number, then the electronic catch is released to allow you to access your purchase.
Despite the hi-tech outlet though, the bakery which produces the goods, BroodNodig, is a very traditional one. Everything is hand-crafted using top-quality ingredients and has won many awards. It is also allowed to use the prestigious "Handmade in Belgium" label which only invites traditional artisanal producers and includes not just food manufacturers but also blacksmiths, carpenters and many other diverse craftspeople.
Directions: I think the outlet pictured is on Ijzerenleen and there are a couple of other outlets in the city.
- Hiking and Walking
- Food and Dining
Even though I wasn't there to do any shopping I could help but notice that the main streets in the old city centre host a wealth of interesting looking independent shops.
Most of the shops seem to be aimed at locals, rather than tourists, with all the basics such as bakers, butchers, greengrocers as well as some very upmarket fashion and accessory places, plus everything in between.
The main shopping area is around the streets of Guldenstraat and Ijzerenleen - between the Koren Markt and the Grote Markt and there are a couple of malls on the outskirts of the centre.
On Saturdays there's a freebie shuttle bus which acts as a sort of "Park and Ride", looping around the centre from the car parks around the inner ring road.
Not only are the shops themselves interesting but the buildings in which they are housed are well worth noting too.
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
What to buy: There are two essential purchases in my view on any visit to Belgium – beer and chocolate. Luckily in Mechelen you can find both within a few steps from the Grote Markt. On its south side you have a choice of three excellent chocolate shops: Leonidas, Neuhaus and Godiva. All looked to have a great selection. We went first to Leonidas where my friend bought a small bag of chocolates but I resisted – we have a branch of Leonidas in Ealing so it doesn’t feel like proper holiday shopping to buy my chocolates there! But in Neuhaus I found everything I was looking for – a box of rich chocolate squares for colleagues at work, a bag of candied orange peel strips coated in dark chocolate for Chris and me to share at home, and a selection of individual chocolates from which to pick just 2 for us to enjoy straight away :)
Not far away opposite the cathedral we found a tourist-orientated shop that seemed to sell almost every beer brewed in Belgium! Actually that isn’t the case, as I couldn’t find a bottle of the local Margriet I’d enjoyed a couple of evenings earlier, but there was certainly a great selection, from which I chose this bottle of Trappist beer, Rochefort, to bring back for Chris – you can tell by the fact that my photo is of an empty bottle that it was a popular gift!
What to pay: Chocolates here aren’t cheap but they are worth every penny, in my view, as a little of this dark richness goes a long way. I paid € 15 for the box of chocolate squares, for instance. The beer was one of the dearer ones in the shop at € 4.50, but you could get a decent one for about half that.
- Beer Tasting
Belgian Chocolates are a must to try.
i fyou forget to buy some in the city, surely you can choose from a huge variety also at the airport!
What to buy: Belgian Chocolates are a must to try.
i fyou forget to buy some in the city, surely you can choose from a huge variety also at the airport of Brussels!
What to pay: from 10 - 50 EUR
'De slegte' is a chain of shops , so nothing special? Wrong , Mechelen's 'De Slegte is somewhat a little different.
They combine the second hand store with the
slightly damaged book-store or overstock-store.
The warehouse in the back has got some charm , some Iron pilars...
What to buy: I bought a map with old plans from Antwerp and some travelguides.
They also got some books in foreign languages.
What to pay: You can find a bargain...
Address: Korenmarkt 9 , 2800 Mechelen
Directions: Not far from the 'grootbrug' , 'ijzeren leen'
Phone: 015 43 61 77
- Budget Travel