The curious case of the Belgian woman who thought she was a chicken

Doctors at KU Leuven University in Belgium recently reported the bizarre case of a 54-year-old woman who was convinced she was a chicken and temporarily behaved as such. It is reported that the married woman, whose name was not revealed, had a stable job at a pharmacy and had no history of drug or alcohol abuse before the strange episode. One day, her brother found her clucking, blowing her cheeks and crowing like a rooster. Not knowing what to do, he took her to a nearby hospital, where the 54-year-old…

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The impossible climb: No dirt bike has ever made it atop this notorious hillside

The Andler Hillclimb is an annual dirt bike competition that has dirt bikers from around Europe try to reach the top of a really treacherous hillside course in Belgium. It’s been held every year for the last two decades, but so far no one has been able to reach the top. The so-called “impossible climb”, starts out as rough gravel and then switches over to a washboard of rough cliff face designed to throw riders off and send them and their bikes tumbling back down to the base of the…

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Signal de Botrange: the highest point in Belgium is a staircase to nowhere

We are about 5km north of Ovifat, in Belgium. Signal de Botrange, the lowly remains of an ancient volcanic area once called de Hoge Venen, now doesn’t look like much little more than a big plateau. The area experiences stronger winds than the centre of Belgium, its average and extreme temperatures are usually lower than at any other place in the country and rainfall is much greater: there are over 200 days of precipitation per year. However, this rainy and seemingly flat landscape is actually situated 694 meters above sea…

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Fort de la Chartreuse: the fort that was never used…as a fort!

The Fort de la Chartreuse is an about 150-year-old fortification that once should have been defend the Amercœur neighborhood of Liège in Belgium, but is now an abandoned big ruin that is slowly being overtaken by foliage and graffiti. Built between 1817 and 1823, the fortress rests on the grounds of a former Carthusian (Ordre des Chartreux) monastery in operation until the French Revolution, on an elevated hill in Liège, and it is part of the fortification line along the river Meuse which crosses Belgium. It was originally built by…

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The Lucifer of Liège – Belgium

Even though the original structure of St. Paul Cathédrale de Liège goes back to the 10th century, it’s been built over a few times, and today it is mostly comprised of 13th and 15th century architecture. It became a Roman Catholic cathedral in the 19th century due to the destruction of Saint Lambert Cathedral in 1795. The Liège revolutionaries considered it a symbol of the power of the Prince-Bishop. Thus, once the revolutionary mood had passed, another church had to be chosen to replace the destroyed cathedral and the collegiate…

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Sanatorium du Basil – Belgium

In the midst of the Belgian Ardennes, on a remote hill overlooking the valley of Amblève and above the hamlet of Borgoûmont in a clearing in the middle of the woods at an altitude of 420 meters, stands an imposing dilapidated structure known to locals as the Sanatorium du Basil. This imposing building of approximately 150 meters in length faces south. While there was once less graffiti here, this abandoned structure is still a mysterious but charming place. The sanatorium was one of the many health spas that emerged all…

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Bueren Mountain: in Liege the stairs that will take your breath away!

Cutting down a steep slope right in the heart of the Belgian city of Liège, Bueren Mountain is not in fact a mountain, but a long staircase that can literally take your breath away by the time you get to the top. It is lit with 3000 candles for the “Nocturne des Coteaux de la Citadelle” on the first Saturday of October, and covered with flowers for the “Bueren en fleur”. The long staircase was built between 1875 and 1880 to remember the 600 Franchimontois, who were 600 men from…

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Power Plant IM: one of the most popular urbex destinations in Europe

In a small district known as Monceau-sur-Sambre, within the Belgian town of Charleroi, there is an abandoned power station, the magnificent abandoned cooling tower of which still looms over the town no longer creating electricity, but providing a variety of surreal vistas. The Power Plant IM is owned and was operated by Electrabel, a Belgian energy corporation that generates electricity and heat while supplying electricity and natural gas to 6 million people. Power Plant IM was originally built in 1921 and when it was finished, it was one of the…

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The doomed city of Doel, Belgium

In the Flemish province of East-Flanders, there is a subdivision of the municipality of Beveren called Doel. Doel now is a belgian ghost town, located close to the port of Antwerp. However, in the very near future the little city will only exist in pictures and memories: it seems, in fact, that it is scheduled to be completely destroyed to make room for an expanding harbor. Even protest and the incredible street art in the abandoned town cannot stop its inevitable fate. For over 400 years, Doel stood near Antwerp…

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Cougnou, a Christmas bread shaped like the baby Jesus

Here we are: We are in Belgium or in northern France, where bakers create a Christmas pastry that’s reminiscent of the shape of the baby Jesus himself! In the Southern Low Countries, is know also “bread of Jesus”. This pastry, often called cougnou, cougnolle, coquille de Noël, or with other different regional names, seems to have originated in ancient Hainaut, and it is a sweet brioche, sometimes studded or decorated with raisins, chocolate chips, or sugar crystals. Most often, it’s made of one large, elongated ball of dough in the…

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