Belgium



Belgium, the heart of the Europe, where is European Union's headquarter located. It has very similar function as Washington D.C. for USA and Ottawa for Canada. Numerous EU offices and branches can be seen everywhere in Brussels. Belgium used to be the 2nd wealthy country in Europe right behind Sweden. The most popular story states how the little peeing boy saved the capital. In this tale, Brussels was surrounded by enemies and they put tons of gunpowder under the city. A little boy saw the burning and quickly peed on it. You may taste the famous Belgian waffle and chocolate when you visit here. Belgium is the only European country which offer domestic train 10-Journey Card for only 83 (fillable by hand to travel anywhere you like within in Belgium, only 8.3/trip), which makes Belgium to be your last minute destination possible. 

Must Do

1. Visit free museums on the 1st Wednesday of the month: Musical Instruments Museum, Arts & History Museum, The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Halle Gate and Museum of Natural Sciences. 


2. Try Belgian Waffle and Chocolate during you visit. 

3. Buy 10-Journey Card for domestic train (83) to travel anywhere you prefer within Belgium. It is sold at the machine at the train station (touch screen). 

4. Buy 10-Journey Ticket (14) for the city transit in Brussels. If you buy one-way ticket (2.1) will double the price. One-day travel card is 7.5. Do the math for the best value. 

5. Add a day trip to from Tournai to Lille, France (6.70) or Brussels to  Luxemburg (28.20)

6. Buy Carrefour BBQ Chicken for only 5 per chicken.

7. Buy Carrefour bakery (e.g., sliced cakes) for under 2 per piece. French style speciality cake, big piece and delicious. 

8. Stay over night in Ghent because the city has so much to see.

9. Buy chocolate at supermarket Aldi or Lidl where has the lowest price, much cheaper than Duty Free Stores at airport. 

10. Shop clothes at Primark for low price

11. Visit Rubens House in Antwerp during your trip

12. Stay at Airbnb apartments which is much cheaper than hotels in Belgium.  Book Airbnb from the link below will save you $62 CAD/$43 USD/41 instantly for your first stay anywhere around the world      

Avoid

1. Try to avoid the waffle shop besides Manneken Pis. Grand Place area's waffle is way more better. 

2. Hotel refuses to give small changes that I have never experienced in any other European countries before. 

3. Supermarket Albert Heign takes neither credit cards nor big notes of cash in Ghent. 

4. Don't buy diamond at small shops in Antwerp. Lots of tourists found they bought fake diamond after the trip.

5. Avoid talking being distracted on the escalator in train station or subway: thief standing behind you - pickpocketing for your backpack

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trip Highlights (2018)

Cologne to Brussels by high-speed train

Tournai is a beautiful town located in Southern Belgium. We took 1-hour train ride from Brussels to Tournai. Enjoy exploring this beautiful town without crowds. 

Notre-Dame Cathedral is UNESCO World Heritage Site built in 12th Century. The main square of Tournai is right behind this beautiful church. It is a very impressive church. 


A lovely 15- min walk from the train station to the main square of Tournai. 


Grand-Place is the major attraction in Brussels. A tourism office is available there for free city maps, subway map and other information.  Try Waffles on the way walking to Grand-Place.


A closer view of the building at Grand-Place

Golden Figure and decors of the roof at Grand-Place

The Atomium in Brussel. It is very close to the subway station

Antwerp has a beautiful train station.  A photo for inside view of the station. 

Rubens House in Antwerp has huge collections of oil paintings. Must See this attraction. 

The main square is very nice, about 30 mins walk from Antwerp Train station. The walk street on the square has numerous shops and department stores. A good stop for shopping and sightseeing.

Ghent is beautiful city with numerous medieval architecture remains intact and  remarkably well preserved and restored.  I regret not to stay overnight Ghent to explore more about this city. 


The city center is about 45 mins walk from the train station. You may also take the bus.


A piano performer in the half indoor theatre is amazing

Royal Palace of Brussels


European Commission. Numerous EU buildings can be seen in Brussels

We took 1-hour train from Brussels to Bruges for a day tour.  We forgot our son's blanket still on the train. We noticed that just after the train left. We talked to train station staff and none of them were willing to help. Train information was available. They have staff working on that train. It is a just a simple phone call, but they refused to help. Bruges is a lovely walkable town, about 25-30 mins to the city centre with attractions. 


Ostend is only 25 mins by train from Bruges. Ostend Train station is beside the coast. You will walk through a small outdoor fish market



We visited Sint-Petrus-en-Pauluskerk Church (built in 2908) on our way back to the train station. The church is not far from sea shore in the evening to end our tour of the day. 
























No comments:

Post a comment