I, Season and Plan of Tour.
The best season for travelling in either Belgium or Holland is
summer, from the middle of June to the end of September. In
spring the weather is apt to be raw and unsettled, and autumn is
windy and often rainy.
The following tour, beginning at Ostend and terminating at
Antwerp, will serve to convey an idea of the time requisite for a
glimpse at the chief attractions of Belgium. Travellers entering
Belgium from France, Holland, or Germany, will find no difficulty
in planning other tours with the aid of the map.
Ostend and Bruges 2
Ghent . 1
Brussels ahized hok* opgqee CaMeYeRer 6 4
Courtrai, Ypres, Tournai, Mons 2-3
Namur, Valley of the Meuse 2
Liege yu UE 4
Louvain and Malines 4
Waterloo. ee oa Sn eee aki: Poaee eens 4
Antwerp . a Sete oe nee ee eee
16 -17 days.
The Handbook renders the services of commissionnaires and
guides entirely superfluous (half-a-day 2-4, whole day 4-71/ fr.),
and the traveller is particularly cautioned against employing those
of an inferior class by whom he is importuned in the streets.
II. Money and Travelling Expenses.
Money. The Monetary System of France was introduced into
3elgium in 1833; and by the Convention of Paris of 1865 Belgium
belongs to a monetary league with France, Switzerland, Italy, and
Greece. One franc, 100 centimes, 80 German pfennigs, 96 Austrian
hellers, 48 Dutch cents, 20 American cents, and 93/4 pence are all
nearly equivalent (see the money-table at the beginning of the
book). The coins in common circulation are 5,2, 1, and 1/. fr. pieces in
silver; 10 and 5 c. pieces in nickel; 2 and 4 c. pieces in copper. The
nickel coins are now minted with a hole through them, like the ‘cash’
of China, The gold coins of 20 fr. are seldom met with, and their
place is taken by the bank-notes of the Banque Nationale (p. 103)
for 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 fr. The gold and silver coins of
France and Switzerland, and the gold coins and 6 fr. pieces of
Italy also are freely accepted. Other silver coins, frequently offered
to the unwary visitor, should be declined. Swiss coins with the sit-
ting figure of Helvetia, Belgian coins with the head of Leopold I.
(except the 5 fr. pieces), and French coins issued before 1861,
should be rejected also, but such coins are now rarely met with.