This town is very old with many interesting buildings, and is renowned for its bell-ringing school. The wonderful Cathedral contains an amazing wooden carved pulpit which is very high and the carvings include the crucifixion and various animals – I’ve never seen anything like it. You can also climb the tower. There is a river running through Mechelen and regular boat trips are available from one of the central squares, which is inexpensive and informative, although it is a bit of a squash in the open boat holding around 45 people. Mechelen was one of the main ‘holding areas’ for Jews waiting to be sent to Auschwitz by train during the last World War, and one of the original carriages is on display outside the smaller of the two museums dedicated to this dreadful time in history. This smaller museum contains personal artefacts left behind by the Jews, and the large museum (on 3 floors) is mainly a picture gallery of the poor unfortunates, which is accompanied by a detailed brochure. There is a café in the museum, and an amazing view of Mechelen from the top of the building which is accessible by lift. There is a huge market on the main square on Saturdays, and restaurants with outside seating everywhere, although you may have trouble understanding the menus (in Flemish/Dutch)! We stayed in the Novotel Centrum and can recommend this – large, clean, modern rooms in a very centralised location, with a bar and a lift.