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29 th April Brussels 4 nights

London โ†’ Brussels โ†’ Budapest โ†’ Sofia โ†’ London

Day 1

London to Brussels

My flight was early morning from Heathrow. I landed at Brussels airport about 10.30. From airport I took public transport to my hotel. Hotel itself was outside the old city . I was bit early , could not check in, neither they had the facility to keep the luggage .ย  So I had to roam around for sometime before allowed to check in. After checking in I spent sometime in the afternoon to roam around local area.

Day 2

Brussels

Brussels is the political capital of Europe, which helps make this city of over one million people one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Navigating this trilingual city can be daunting, even for the most experienced tourist.

I bookedย  a walking tour called SANDEMANs NEW Brussels Tours from the city center grand palace at 14.30

This free (tip based)ย  2.5-hour walking tour covers all the main sights of the old city of Brussels. Starting in the famous Grand Place, we walked through the winding streets and discovered the sites of the beginnings of the city over 1500 years ago. From the 61cm high statue of Mannekin Pis to the birthplace of Tintin, the star of Europeโ€™s most popular 20th-century comic, this tour was a great way to discover the town that is known by many as the capital of Europe.

We saw Brussels as it was meant to be seen: by walking by ancient royal buildings, through the cobblestone streets and up the hills to the museum quarter.

  • Grand Place
  • Town Hall
  • Maison du Roi
  • Comic art scene
  • The Stock Exchange
  • Galeries Saint Hubert
  • Manneken Pis
  • The Monnaie Opera
  • St Nicolasโ€™ Church
  • River Senne
  • The Royal Square
  • Mont des Arts

 

 

 

 

Day 3

Brussels to Antwrep

Next day I planned to go to Antwrep. This is one of the rare occasion I was not fully focused on the trip. Post my redundency in Goldman Sachs I was actively looking for a role, and I had two concrete offer but was not fully sure which one to opt for. Each of them has its own pros and cons.

Nevertheless I left very late from the hotel and took a train to Antwrep.

 

 

Antwerpโ€™s architecture is a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles, making it one of the most stunning cities in Europe.The cityโ€™s most famous landmark is theย Cathedral of Our Ladyย (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal or OLV for short), a stunning Gothic cathedral with one-and-half-towers. The cathedral is home to some of the most beautiful stained glass windows in Europe, and four masterpieces by Peter Paul Rubens.

Other churches worth visiting are Sint-Carolus Borromeuskerk and Sint Pauluskerk. Another iconic landmark in Antwerp is theย Grote Marktย square, a bustling square lined with historic buildings and cafes. The square is home to the cityโ€™s Town Hall, a stunning Renaissance masterpiece, and theย Brabo Fountain, a statue of mythical hero Silvius Brabo.

Het Steenย is the oldest building in Antwerp and is the site on the Scheldt where the giant of folklore lived and collected taxes. Lange Wapper is a legendary statue located at the entrance to Het Steen.

Groenplaatsย is a much quieter square than Grote Markt and has a statue of Peter Paul Rubens.Observant visitors will see a number of small statues of the Madonna on buildings. These statues date back to the Catholic Counter Reformation era. Antwerp is also home to one of the worldโ€™s most beautiful train stations โ€“ย Antwerp Central/Antwerpen Centraal. The station is a stunning example of Art Nouveau architecture.

 

 

Day 4

Trip to Burges and Ghent

I booked the day trip from GetYourGuide

I met my guide in the center of Brussels and relaxed on the 100-kilometer journey to Bruges by bus. Upon arrival, I walked around charms of โ€œthe Venice of the Northโ€ and see why the entire historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.ย  Amazed at highlights such as the Lake of Love (Minnewater Lake) and the 13th-century Begijnhof complex, founded in 1245 to house lay religious women. We went to Walplein Square, where the shady trees and cafes provide a perfect place to relax. We visited Stoofstraat on the site of the city’s former Red Light District, and see medieval monuments such as the 11th-century Old St. Johnโ€™s Hospital.We looked at the world’s second tallest brickwork tower at the Church of Our Lady, and see other historic monuments such as Gruuthuse Palace or the Dijver Canal. We went one of the city’s most photographed spots at Rozenhoedkaai, and admired the Belfry on Castle Square. Then visited Market Square (Grote Markt) to see the Bell Tower (Belfort). Then enjoyed 1-hour’s free time for lunch and the chance to sample some of the city’s delicious chocolates.ย  Next, we drove to Ghent, where the inhabitants have been popularly known as “noose-bearersโ€œ since the days of Charles V. We took a guided tour of the city’s historic buildings, such as the Castle of Gerald the Devil and Saint Bavo Cathedral, where we learnt about the painting of โ€œThe Adoration of the Mystic Lambโ€ by the Van Eyck brothers. Then we walked around and admired the Belfort (Bell Tower) and peculiar Gothic and Renaissance-style Town Hall. We saw one of the city’s oldest monuments at St. Nicholasโ€™ Church opposite the unusual facade of the Masonsโ€™ Guild House. We journeyed along the embankments of the medieval port of Graslei, and discovered other highlights such as the majestic Castle of the Counts of Flanders, the Great Butchersโ€™ Hall, the Old Fish Market, and Friday Market Square. We enjoyed some free time in this magical city before returning back to Brussels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5

This is the last day in Belgium . I flied out of Belgium to my next destination , Budapest