We only had time for one stop in Belgium and most would think Brussels would top that list, but we heard so many good things about Antwerp and wanted to check that out instead. We were not disappointed. It’s called Antwerpen in Belgium so we made the joke we were Antwerpin’ the whole time we were there.
First off, the Central Train Station is literally one of the most amazing buildings we’ve ever seen. So much detail and it’s huge!
At the end of the train stations noticed something called Comics Station, an indoor amusement park! We dropped our things at our hotel (which was in the diamond district – a whole other story), and headed back to the train station. We found out the amusement park closed at 5:30pm and it was already 4pm. The lady at the ticket office gave us entry for €12.50 each as there wasn’t much time left, but she also looked at us like we were a little loco because it is a “family” place. We said no worries since we are big kids and went right on in. Thankfully the place wasn’t that busy at all. We found Europe’s tallest slide inside which took 15 seconds from top to bottom. Lots of other fun rides and activities like a fun house, bumper cars, and a saloon where you can horse race. We were surprised to find a ride that drops you three stories inside a small door, but not for that reason. The ride came with a story on the inside where you are traveling up the three stories of a house as the ride raises. The second floor is a woman in the bathtub – hardly family friendly haha. We had a good laugh.
After our fun in the amusement park we found Antwerp’s oldest bar, Quinten Matsijs, est. 1565. Amazing food and it’s Belgium so the beer is some of the best! On our walk back to the diamond district we stopped in Bier Central for a night cap. They have over 300 types of beers and you need their encyclopedia to decipher all the options.
The next day was Sunday and Antwerp was somewhat deserted. But we walked around the city center, stumbling on a old church founded in 1614. We made our way down to the water where they were setting up a Christmas market complete with a giant Ferris wheel. From the Ferris wheel you could see the Cathedral of our Lady that Antwerp is famous for. Made for some great photos. We wandered up and down the water, dreaming of owning an apartment there. Great views and location. We also came up to Het Steen which is a medieval fortress in the old city center. Bonus, you can walk through for free! We heard the mussels were the best so we had some (and beer of course) for dinner. And of course had to grab some chocolate for dessert at the store next to the restaurant. Only €7 for a small box with a mixture of chocolates! Delicious!
The next day we stopped at the smallest waffle shop in the world for breakfast. Literally 25 sq ft maybe smaller on the side of the main shopping street in Antwerp. We went to the big cathedral and took a bunch of photos. It was brilliant to look from every angle. Wandering the cobblestone streets is magical and there’s so much to do and see. Lots of old architecture and statues as well.
We headed back toward our hotel only to find the zoo behind the train station was all lit up with their China Lights display. Really bright colors and shapes that were so fun to look at. They also had nice fire pits outside the gate to keep warm.
Loved hanging in Antwerp for a few days!
Enjoy the Ride,
Lindsay and Justin