A couple people had mentioned this big mall to us, and today we finally found it. It's just outside of town but probably within walking distance for those of us who like to walk for exercise. As we entered we saw saw brasseries (casual, beer-serving restaurants) with seating outside. So you can get the whole people-watching experience of sitting at a cafe without getting wet or cold. A definite plus in Belgium. There are tons of small stores, mostly European; I think the only US store we saw was Esprit. We happened upon a bookstore, so of course we had to spend some money... Downside to the mall: the parking lot is unpaved - in fact, it's like sand - and full of potholes. Made for quite a bumpy ride in. However, the free navette that drives around Mons makes a stop at the mall...
Later we went to Tournai just to see what was there. It's a slightly larger town than Mons and is almost all the way to Lille, France. There is a huge cathedral that is undergoing 5 different types of restoration/work (stabilization of the existing building and archeological dig among them). Basically after a tornado in 1999, when they started to fix the storm damage, they discovered a whole bunch of other problems that had been accumulating over the years. For instance, different parts of the building were settling* at different rates due to the composition of the soil and the water table. They also discovered Bishop Baudouin's tomb during the excavations, as well as an 11th century church underneath the current edifice. When they dug through the 11th century layer they found a Carolingian structure. And so on. It will be interesting to monitor the progress of the work, as it will continue over several years.
We put an option on another house today and went out to look at it from the outside. The landlady is out of town and took the key with her. Don't know whether that's a warning sign or not...the house itself looks good from the outside and is quite close to SHAPE - it'd be about a 5 minute commute to work. We're number 2 on the list for this one. We're hoping Number 1 gets disgusted because he can't look at it or he finds something else so we get up to number 1.
We are working our way through the Belgian beer list. Not all restaurants have all types but we've managed to sample quite a few so far. I guess we'll have to sober up soon, since we start work in earnest this week.
*We've learned another word: tassement means settling.