Many people when they travel to city spend their time in and around that city. But it seems I am bucking this trend a little while staying in Brussels. Today was to be my second full day in Brussels, yet I have taken the train to visit the nearby city of Antwerp. Essentially in total, I will not even have a full day in Brussels itself.
Getting To Antwerp
Getting around Belgium is rather easy to do with the trains. Like my trip to Bruges yesterday the ticket on the train was almost half the weekday price, costing just €7.80. It also helps that the train takes just 35 minutes to get from Brussels to Antwerp.
I was somewhat prepared for my visit after getting a map from www.use-it.be at a tourist centre in Brussels. A great suggestion from my friend and it made it much easier to find my way around.
Even though I had not put together a particular route for the day I had the few points I wanted to see. So getting started was quite easy, although the most interesting place to start is the train station. It is a beautiful older building with some amazing architecture.
Antwerp like many cities in Europe is a mismatch of the old and new. In a way, you can date some buildings in the city, especially the old ones. But there is such a mix of old and new that looks like the opposite. But in a way, I have found that Antwerp seems to have much less in the way of nice old buildings than other cities. They either seem to have been modernised or in some state of disrepair.
I have found it nearly impossible to visit a city and not come across some churches to visit. While I did find a few nice churches today, there were none that I could visit inside. Being a Sunday, I was surprised at just how many churches were not open today. With some other churches currently in the process of performing Mass.
Along the waterfront, I came to what appeared to be a rather impressive building. The castle which goes by the name of Photo Fortress at the moment was built around the 1200’s. While it was another location that was closed today, from what I could read on some nearby plaques it has had quite the past.
In stark contrast to the older buildings, I came across this rather new building on the waterfront as well. Here you can find the 360 degrees view museum, and the building offers some spectacular view over the city I understand. Unfortunately, it was only after the fact I discovered admission to go to the top was free. Something to keep in mind for a future visit maybe.
It seems that parks and green space are not a priority around Antwerp, as I did not see very many. That is except for one park that is rather large and not far from the train station. The park is called Stadspark and from the small amount of time I had to look around it appears to have everything. There is a lake for waterbirds, a walking/jogging track, a large playground for children and a skatepark. There is also a lot of greenery, and in some ways, it is like they are trying to make up for the lack of other parks through the city.
As a whole Belgium seems to have a lot to offer and is a rather nice place when you get to look around. There is a reasonably good mix between city and countryside. While getting around in and between cities is rather easy as well. In respect to Antwerp, it has not turned out to be my favourite city, but it was nice to have the chance to visit and look around for the day.