It was a cold, gray and dreary morning as we headed out from Belgium to explore the crux of where it met France and Luxembourg. I had a touch of a feverish cold that day and slept through the car ride. I found a vague reference to a small crypt on a hill outside of Thil, France, and upon arrival it turned out to be the memorial site "Camp de Thil." I believe it was the only concentration camp in France, and although it was interesting, there was nothing abandoned to see.
While en route to our destination in Luxembourg, we cruised past the enormous Arcelor furnaces, bellowing white smoke in almost a synchronous fashion (I heard this plant was actually shut down the next year or so). A massive abandoned power plant stood between the running furnaces and the site we were to explore, with about half a mile distance between either.
The Terres Rouge plant was a massive shell of a building resting across from a row of quaint homes, each with a thin whisp of smoke trailing from their chimneys. I walked down the tracks, under dressed for the biting wind and rain, and I felt a pang of nostalgia not for America, but for a couch next to a warm fire. Once I stepped down into the belly of the place and saw the green "canal" that ran underneath, my desire for sleep and warmth vanished. I became alert and energized for the rest of the time inside, being careful not to fall into the mysterious waters or down one of the many deep shafts.
The top floor was very unexpected and astounding; it was a long open space with an oval shaped ceiling, which gave it a tunnel-like appearance. The graceful curves of the walls and floors juxtaposed with the sharp right angles of the railings and dividers, and everything was rusted through quite thoroughly. Some sections were covered in a white powder, where I tried not to stay too long without knowing what it was and without and respiratory gear.