Antwerp and Brussels, Beligum

Trip Start Feb 27, 2008
Trip End May 28, 2008

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Flag of Belgium  , Antwerpen,
Monday, May 5, 2008

Day 67 - Jens left very early this morning, we followed suit at around 10am. The train to Antwerp was relatively short. The Netherlands or Belgium don't have high speed trains inside the country because it's so small that fast trains don't make much sense. Instead all trains are basic and run very frequently. Once in Antwerp we made our way to our hostel and checked in. Today I was very sad because we had passed the 2/3 mark in our journey. I've been having so much fun traveling around seeing places that I just don't want the fun to be over. At the same time, I've spent more than I've budgeted for the trip and I can't afford to keep on like this so like all good things, this vacation must come to and end. I just know that as soon as I get back home I'm going to be deported to some oil rich country where I will work for the rest of the summer.
We quickly packed our things and headed directly for Brussels. The guide book doesn't comment too much on Brussels. There is very little in the way of museums or historical sites. But the architecture makes a visit worthwhile on it's own. We walked along the streets to the Grand Place. This is the main city square where several elegant buildings and the most luxurious hotel in the city is located. Splitting off of the Grand place are a number of streets lined with cafés. Any type of food imaginable is available and the high volume of café's causes the owners to stand in the streets and attempt to recruit customers to their specific restaurant.  We walked up the hill to the west of the Grand place, We took a quick walk through the large cathedral in the center of the city and then continued to the large park in front of the Royal Palace. The park was beautiful and was made even better by the perfect weather. People were walking their dogs, jogging, or pushing strollers through the paths around the numerous fountains in the park. After strolling through the park we took a look at the Palace. We've seen so many palaces by now that this one didn't seem very special. Tours of the palace were not available so we continued back down the hill to a lovely Greek café where we had gyros. The ironic thing is that these gyros were way better than anything that we had in Greece.
In the early evening we hopped a train back to Antwerp. The tour guides say even less about Antwerp than they do about Brussels. They all claim that Antwerp is the biggest fashion capital between Amsterdam and Paris. I didn't want to be the one to tell them that there really isn't anything between Amsterdam and Paris to compare it to. It also says that Antwerp is the diamond capitol of the world. Great, just what I needed, bringing my girlfriend to the diamond capitol. She was the one who made the booking by the way. I just nodded my head and said "yes dear" when she told me we were going to Antwerp instead of Brussels.   We walked to the center of the city and sipped some wine in near the old cathedral. Then we walked down to the river and sat by the dock watching the water roll by and enjoyed the view.
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