Last week I went to Belgium for a day. Yes just a day. I still can’t get over the fact that I went to a whole new country with a different language just for a few hours. But I guess that’s Europe for ya. My host family has friends outside of Antwerp so I went to the city in the morning and met my family in the afternoon.
This was the first time that I really had the traveler’s rush while in Europe. That little spark you get when wandering through an unknown city for the first time. There’s something about the chance/opportunity of getting lost that makes traveling a little exciting. When I go places with my host family they are great about showing me around and explaining the history behind everything. Its fantastic not getting lost and I have learned so much more than I would have if I was on my own. But there’s also something about an aimless walk through an unknown place that I love.
Antwerp impressed me right from the start. I took the train from Rotterdam (about an hour) and when I got off at the station I was blown away. The 120(ish) year old station is quite famous and for good reason, its beautiful. After my station photo shoot I went out to wander.
My mission: the Belgian triple threat, beer, waffles, and chocolate. I knew that my trip wouldn’t be complete without consuming these three. Antwerp is also famous for their diamonds, but I only have so much spending money and I have to be honest that food is really my highest priority. I am happy to say that Antwerp was mission accomplished. I had waffles in a delightful cafe right on a plaza in front of city Hall. The plaza in front call Grote Markt was everything I expected Europe to be with beautiful old architecture, cafes, all in the shadows of a gothic cathedral. Outside the plaza I found a Belgian beer store with over 250 beers. I bought a father’s day present (little late), found a couple beers and took them to a park by the river. On the way I passed a french fry truck selling wonderfully greasy freshly fried potatoes complete with curry mayo. Although it wasn’t on the original mission, it sounded like a good idea. It was a great idea.
After my solo picnic on the river I made my way back to the station to catch my bus and grabbed some chocolates to complete the mission. But to the honest I wasn’t blown away. I prefer darker chocolate. (I also blame working at Chuao for my chocolate snobbery.) On the other hand the waffles really were everything I heard they were. They really are better the rest of the world’s waffles. Not just extra thick like the one’s Denny’s serves but there’s an extra something in them, probably sugar and crack. I will be going back just for the waffles, as well as shopping and museums, but mostly the waffles.