Belgium Travel Log

Fui visitar a minha Carangueja preferida! 🦀♥ 

4 days, 5 cities


Maps
Download your USE-IT map or ask for one in an info point - they are awesome and have really helpful information from locals.

Bus/trains/tickets

If you are flying to the Charleroi airport I suggest you catch the shuttle bus A (6€) to Charleroi-Sud train station and from there catch a train to the city you are going to. You catch the bus A on the left side when you leave the airport and not the flibco buses in front of the arrivals. If you are under 26 you can use a Gopass to travel in between stations in Belgium: Gopass 1 (6€ per trip), Gopass 10 (52€ 10 trips) but you can also get a discount on the normal tickets on weekends (8,60€ two way ticket) so you have to see what is cheaper for the amount of trips you are planning, more info here.

Random things
WC - Every public toilet is paid in Belgium, except in the trains so always go during travel time.
Mondays - a lot of museums are closed!
Every city I visited seemed to always have something under construction.


Flickr Belgium album

Leuven

The city is very charming with the typical Belgium staircase buildings. I walked around a little bit, enough to see the library and the parliament which are illuminated at night and that is lovely to see as well.


Game night fun: Saboteur, Machiavelli and Boonanza are awesome!

Gante - Medieval Charm

Ghent was my first stop in Belgium, and since I went straight from the airport, I only had one afternoon to see it, worldwanderista blog had great advice.

I started off at the Ghent-Dampoort station and took the Steendam street until I arrived at Jakobsen Kirke. I walked around some streets, to take in the city and arrived at the Grafitti street - Werregarenstraat.

Werregarenstraat
I saw the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by the Van Eyck brothers (4€ entrance + audio guide) at Sint Baafskathedraal, although it is a very gracious piece, you'll have a better chance at looking at it closer on the internet than in the crowded room. I then made my way to Belfort, Stadshal, Sint Niklaaskerk and Sint Michielskerk. Ghent really has a Medieval charm, I loved it!

Graslei,, Korenlei and Sint Michielsbrug
The Korenlei and Graslei are a really nice spot, I took a boat tour in the canals (6,50€ student discount), it was one hour long and the guide was so nice and funny. From here the Gravensteen castle is really close. At the end of the day I stopped by Julie’s House, Kraanlei 13, and had a soy hot chocolate! It is a very sweet shop.

Graslei

Bruges - Sweetheart of Belgium

I fell in love with this small city in Belgium. It was snowing lightly the whole day, making it a beautiful white rooftop wonderland.

The many bridges over the canals and the secret hideaways make it such a romantic and lovely place. I would say the best way to see Brugges is to forget the map and just "get lost", just don't miss the tourist classics Belfry, Stadhuis, Grote Markt..

You're in Belgium, have a waffle! mmmmm 😋
The Grote Markt
Very close to St. Salvators kerkhof you can find The Old Chocolate House, at Mariastraat 1. It is a really nice chocolate shop with an upstairs tearoom. They have the best hot chocolates, and if you don't want dairy there are plenty of organic vegetable drinks (soy, rice almond and coconut). 
I chose the single origin kind (5€) with almond milk (+1€) and had the Madagascar 67% cacau with raspberry flavour - it was delicious and I got to take home the remaining cacao beans and cup to make new hot chocolate at home!
Begijnhof, home to the beguines (kind of nuns)

Antwerp - A Great Big Port

Antwerp is a nice city, but a bit too industrial for my liking. The first thing to take notice is the Central station itself, as it's one of the most beautiful train stations, I agree!
Antwerp is the second largest Port in Europe
If you're curious about where the name Antwerp came from, it originated from a legend and means hand + to throw. There was once a mythical giant named Antigoon who lived near the Scheldt river and taxed boatmen passing by, if they refused he would cut off their hands and throw them in the river until a Roman hero named Silvius Brabo came along and defeated the giant. Then he cut off one of his hands, and threw it in the river, and that is the statue you see in front of the stadhuis (Wiki).
Statue of Silvius Brabo in front of the Stadhuis and Grote Markt

I went from the station to the St. Jacobskerk, and then to the Olv Kathedraal and then to the Stadhuis. Then I went to see the castle and walked by the river Schelde. There is an awesome 360º panorama at the MAS museum and it is completely free to go up to the top. Every floor has a glass see through wall with a different view point of the city. I finished my visit in Antwerp at Rubens house.
Typical Belgium Frites with andalouse sauce
Het Steen Castle

Brussels - The Capitol City

My last day was spent in Brussels and I was so lucky that it was sunny! I've heard so many times that Brussels is the ugliest city, but I really liked it! 

From the station, I headed to the Place de l'albertine, which is a nice viewpoint of the city. Then I went up to the Palais Royal, walked across the Parc de Bruxelles and visited the Cathédrale.


You will find many street art comics in Brussels
I walked through many streets just to get to know the city and walked into the Galeries Royales St Hubert which are full of chocolate gourmet stores, In one of the shops I had a nice soy Belgium hot chocolate.
The Grand Place Grote Markt was all shiny because of the sunlight, It was spectacular!



Mannequin pis
Secret city panorama spot in Parking 58! (Rue de l'Evêque 1) - This parking lot is supposed to be demolished, but for now it's still there and has a rooftop view with a free access, you can even see the Atomium from up there.
Parking 58 rooftop view
Before leaving to the airport I went back to uptown Brussels and took the glass elevator (free) to the Palais de Justice (the biggest building I have ever seen!) and I walked inside the "Hall of Lost Steps".

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