Welcome to Day 7 of Janet and Randy's Brussels Adventure 2016
Saturday, January 2nd, 2016
Ended up watching movies on TV until late, so I didn't get up until 9:30am. Got dressed and headed down for breakfast. It was super busy in the restaurant, and we had to wait to get a table. Had some breakfast and then headed to Central Station to catch a train to Antwerp (We had bundled up because it was supposed to be cooler than the prior day).
We bought a return ticket and then got on a 10:48am train to Antwerp - which was going to take 54 minutes. We had paid for first class tickets as on the weekend they aren't that much more than the second class tickets. We settled into the first class car, but there were 2 young gals in the row ahead of us that had all this luggage that they just left in the aisle and everyone had to step over or around to get from one end of the car to the other. The train we were on continued on to Amsterdam, and I speculated that they were going there as they seemed to be settling in for quite a while (bringing out a thermos and a bunch of food). For some reason, it is acceptable to leave your shit out all over the place and make people walk over your stuff... I so don't understand that.
We got off in Antwerp and were just steps away from the train when Randy realized he didn't have his glovers. So, he dashed back on the train to try to get back to his seat. Unfortunately there were other people that had just boarded with these huge suitcases that were just standing in the aisle and blocking his way. He managed to find his gloves, but they started closing the train doors as he was trying to get back out. I had visions of Randy continuing on to Amsterdam while I watched from the station platform, but he finally managed to find an open door and was able to get off before the train left (one of the train conductors was aware that I was trying to get off the train, and was helpful).
We left the Antwerp Central Station and started to wander around the city. Close to the train station is a pedestrian shopping street called Meir. It appears that the beginning of January are when big sales are on - because all the shops along the street had sale signs and were all crowded with bargain hunters. It was like being at West Edmonton Mall on Boxing Day.
We continued walking along until we came to the Groenplaats (a town square) where they had an outdoor skating rink and some little huts selling food. It seems that the outdoor skating rink is the thing to do at Christmas time in Belgium. There was a Starbucks that overlooked the Groenplaats, so we went in there to relax and have a hot beverage. It wasn't nearly as cold outside as we had thought. So it was actually quite nice to enjoy the sun without having to be bundled up.
Then we continued on to the Grote Markt (Market Square) to check out the Brabo statue and the Cathedral of our Lady Antwerp church. It looked like there had been some sort of Christmas market here, but they were in the process of packing everything up.
We wandered back down the shopping street towards the train station. We went for a wander around the diamond district, but 75% of the shops were closed. We did some window shopping, but didn't end up actually buying anything. We did end up stopping into a menswear shop, where Randy bought a sport jacket on sale. The big sales didn't apply to the diamond stores.
We got back to the Central Station in time to catch a train back to Brussels. This train was a bit of a milk run, as it stopped at a number of stations. But it did provide different scenery than on the way out. On this train, the first class seats were just a little section at the front of one of the cars. But we were the only ones in there, so it was a comfortable and quiet journey on the way back.
We went to the hotel to drop off our stuff and relax for a bit. Around 5:30pm we decided to head out for supper. Randy found a place called Nuetnigenough on Yelp that had good reviews. It wasn't far from the hotel, so we went to check it out. I ordered an Orval beer and the veal meatballs. Randy had a Pannepot beer and the beef stew.
Both meals were amazing! Definitely some of the best food we've had while here (and we've had some good food). It was a great way to end our last day in Belgium. The beef stew was very much comfort food and was delish !
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at Starbucks to pick up a mug and then went back to the room and packed up for tomorrow. We opened a bottle of Chimay - which Randy said didn't taste as good after having all the incredible beers here. (that's a First World problem if I ever heard it).
At 8:30pm we went across the street to The Bourse to watch the Christmas lights show. The show was supposed to be in both French and English, but it was mostly in French - so you could only sort of follow what the 'story' was supposed to be. The light show was definitely better than the outdoor one at Sainte Catherine church, but not sure if it was worth the 10 euros each to see it. It reminded me of the rides we went on at Toyko Disney. All of the narration is in a different language and you are basically along for the ride.
It was raining when we came out of the show, so we just skedaddled back to our hotel and watched some TV before going to bed. All in all it was a great way to spend our last full day in Belgium !
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