Doug Estey

Antwerp

Introduction
Antwerp

We weren't originally scheduled to see anything in Antwerp behind its (freaking beautiful) central station.

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That all changed when the trouble we've been having with Belgian trains (the country's railway employees are on strike) came to a head on Saturday. Our train, which was Antwerp bound from Bruges, completely skipped the Ghent stop it was scheduled to make.

Instead of waiting out the next train to Ghent from Antwerp, we decided to be spontaneous, skip our accommodations and find a hotel here. It was worth it.

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Antwerp is a beautiful old port with a lot of well-preserved architecture - something of a miracle when you consider the sheer number of wars it's seen and the heavy bombing it sustained in the second World War. We spent a lot of time exploring its historic central district, as well as the neighbourhoods south of there in the Zuid (literally translated to "south.")

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This leg of the trip has been largely about learning Belgian & Dutch history, and it's been fascinating. These are very resilient and thoughtful people who have designed their surroundings so meticulously that I can't help but stare in awe at things as simple as pedestrian tunnels.

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We explored the Museum Plantin-Moretus in its last open hour on Sunday, which was a real treat for us. Some of the oldest preserved printing presses in the world are sitting right here, in the original building they operated in, movable type moulds intact.

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And, of course, we explored more of Belgium's glorious beer scene.

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We've covered a lot here in just two days, and now we're off to Brussels... right after we get some waffles.

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Doug Estey

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