Charleroi: mine region remains

Last December, I visited the Charleroi region (Belgium) for the first time. I know it sounds weird because I lived in this tiny country for 18 years before moving to the U.S. in 2005, but it just might be because that region doesn’t sound that appealing (at first) to most people. It actually doesn’t even sound that appealing “at second” to most people. However, I learned a lot about the past and what used to make that region so wealthy. Thousands of miners would go down to extract coal out of the mines. Eventually technology changed the kind of energy we’d use, and coal mines shut down one after the other. I visited one of them by chance. I saw this old building that was being renovated and thought I could ask to see if I could visit it and take a few pictures. It worked, and I came back with loads of great visuals. You’ll see a couple of those below. That was in Roux, a tiny city around Charleroi. I also got to drive around and visit a bit of Courcelles and Souvret, which are also in the Charleroi region and were all mine cities. The weather was rather cold and rainy when I spent the day there, so the atmosphere was a little sad and depressing. I thought it might have been the same way about 100 years ago when my great-grandpa was born. He was born in 1914 and started working in the coal mines at the age of 14 in Souvret where the picture of the sheep was taken. Unfortunately, there was an explosion, and he lost one of his eyes. While visiting, I could tell that the elderly were full of stories to tell and had lived through a lot.

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