18 hours of travel. 2 planes. 1 train. 1 bus. And not enough sleep.
But we made it to Antwerp!
After quickly getting our keys to our place and dropping off our packs we set out into the city. We made our way down De Keyserlei, which is just next to Antwerp Central and is basically a long strip of restaurants and shops! If you follow down De Keyserlei you make it down to some amazing architecture and even more shopping. At first we had a set destination to find food but we kind of just got caught up in the city itself.
Eventually we found ourselves in the shadow of the Cathedral of Our Lady, an absolutely beautiful church! After some pictures we realized that we were actually pretty close to the restaurant we had set out to find in the first place, Greenway! This amazing vegan-friendly restaurant was very delicious and has locations in Ghent and Brussels, as well! We highly recommend checking them out. While sitting at lunch we started to feel the effects of our jet-lag, but pushed on to explore just a little more before heading back to our Airbnb where we basically fell into mini-commas until the next morning (when you're jet-lagged you are jet-lagged). The last few sites we got to see for the day were the Brabo's Monument, the Stadhuis van Antwerpen and the Grote Markt. The great thing about Antwerp is that it is very walker-friendly. The historic centre holds many of it's must-see places.
The next morning we got up and made our trek back to Antwerp Central Station (we used this as our home base for getting around the city). From the outside, the train station is pretty, definitely a spot you would want to stop and take a picture. But, the outside is nothing compared to what awaits you inside! The main lobby of this train station reminded us of the interior of Hogwarts Castle.
From here we decided to take a stroll to the park. Park Spoor Noord is park built on reclaimed railway land, with sports, play areas, skate park & terrace for concerts. While there we caught a Saturday morning soccer game. From there we headed to find lunch. We decided on sushi, since it seemed we saw sushi restaurants on every corner. We decided to try Wasabi Sushi and were happy with our decision. We had the waiter help to translate the menu and were very pleased with our veggie rolls and seaweed salad.
From there we headed on a walkabout the city to take in what the city had to offer. From talking to our Airbnb host, Isa, Antwerp is a destination for great Belgium shopping. High-end shops by famous designers line the streets in Meir, the Fashion District and the Historic District. Since we do not really shop while travelling, we still stopped to admire many of the shop windows we passed.
As the sun was starting to set, we decided to find a great Vegan restaurant for dinner. One of the restaurants that came up on our search came highly suggested by great reviews, so we decided to try it. And, let's just say, we were very happy with our selection. This was my favorite dinner of our entire trip! DeBroers van Julienne is considered a vegetarian restaurant, but had many vegan options and many entrees that could be made vegan. Their raw Chocolate cake is to die for!
With our bellies full and looking toward the travel ahead, we made our way back to our Airbnb to get a good night's sleep before heading to Ghent. While Antwerp did not top of our list of favorite cities, we had a very nice time and saw some beautiful sites. For those who love to shop, Antwerp is probably the Belgian destination for you!