Saturday, June 20, 2020

Day 8--Antwerp on King's Day

Today we took a day trip to Antwerp. I really liked Antwerp, it felt a bit French, and we've always had a good time in France.


We caught an early train (825) and roughly two hours later, we were there.  The train station was gorgeous with from the turn of the last century-a mix of industrial and art nouveau.     

We started with the long walk to the center, 

with a quick stop in a fancy shopping center, Stadsfeestzaal, circa turn of last century for yogurt and tea. 

We continued following the next part of Rick Steves' walk 

until we reached Rubens house. 

Peter Paul Rubens, a famous flemish artist circa late 1500s early 1600s. His house was partially decorated and full of art.  

We started in the kitchen, 

(Picture of dead birds over the kitchen fireplace...appropriate)

Before heading through the rest of the house.  Rubens was famous in his day and wealthy, so his house was pretty fancy.

They were actually having an event today, and ladies in Venetian costume s and masks were circulating in the courtyard. 

Next we walked to the next museum house on our list, 

(meanwhile stopping for quick Belgium pralines at the Chocolate Line, a recommended place by Rick Steves)

the Plantin-Moretus museum. 

This family owned a printing press next to their home (circa 1600). The home was very old feeling with lots of heavy dark wood. We started in some of the fancy rooms to show the family's wealth in the main house. 

 The owner was a friend of Rubens, so he also commissioned some of his paintings. Next out to the courtyard, 

on our way to the shop, 

(I think this is where editors would review manuscripts)

(Close up of the leather wall coverings--very intricate)  

next we cross over to the printing press

into a library,

and some additional fancy rooms.

From there we had planned to have Belgian waffles at a (busy) place , but realized the main cathedral closed early on a Saturday. We scarfed down the coffee and tea we ordered, 

before dashing to the Cathedral of our lady. 


I loved the Rococo pulpit 

From here we headed back out, 


before stopping for a pizza lunch (I'm pretty sure this was Katherine's idea...)

before continuing Ricks walk. 

And then it rained and we had to find covering.  After waiting a bit, then walking, then having to wait a bit more for some more rain, we finally reached Antwerp's harbor. 

There was the shell of an old castle there, but it was covered in scaffolding.  After a quick stop at the old Vleeshuis, Butcher's Hall,  

we started the long trudge back to the station. 

We finally got that first Belgium waffle in the station for dinner while waiting for our train.

I had mine with chocolate and whipped cream.  Umm, dinner. 

King's Day in Amsterdam

Two hours later, and we were back in Amsterdam. 

We got off the metro at Neumarket (a square not far from our hotel I could see some of the Kings day merriment. 

I really liked Antwerp!  The big move is tomorrow morning to Bruges. We'll see how it goes!  

Trip Note:  The fact we went back to Amsterdam messed with my "efficient traveler" mode.  King's Day complicated our planning since we weren't sure what to expect--we were worried about leaving with our luggage since so many people would be coming into the city's train station and metro to celebrate, but we also didn't want to spend the whole day dealing with the crowds.  We also wanted to see Antwerp and couldn't figure out how to fit it in, so decided on the day trip.  We left early enough that the crowds hadn't arrived yet, so we could have just taken our bags with us and stayed in a hotel near the train station.  I would definitely recommend doing that instead if you like our itinerary.  Although, if you are interested in day trips from Amsterdam, it is very doable. 


  1. • I like how you completely omitted the EXTREME STRESS of buying the train tickets to Antwerp. Those moments are best left forgotten (and yet here I am bringing it up, LOL). Everything worked out...but that really sucked, haha. Totally my fault for suggesting we use the ticket machines, thinking they'd be faster. WHY did those ticket machines have to be so much more complicated than literally every other ticket machine we'd encountered. MOVING ON...
    • I absolutely LOVED the train station in Antwerp! So art deco! There was actually a lot of art deco there.
    • Our breakfast yogurt today had a fancier presentation than the $$$ Amsterdam yogurt, but the taste was vastly inferior (in my opinion). Still, you know I'm glad that we paused to eat. :-P.
    • But how did you not take any photos of the AMAZING chocolates and macarons on display at the Stadsfeestzaal? They were insane! I should have bought a snack for the five-minute walk to the Rubenshuis.
    • ...which, by the way, was unexpectedly FREE that day! Woot! More chocolate money!
    • You were so excited about those random ladies in Venetian garb, haha.
    • We bought our first ~authentic~ Belgian chocolates at The Chocolate Line... but definitely not our last. I look back on the amount of chocolate we consumed in Belgium with 50% shame and 50% insane jealousy of past-me.
    • Your photos of the interiors at the Plantin-Moretus museum are all so good! Mine came out really dark and kind of fuzzy, but I think this is where your efforts to actually learn how your camera works really paid off. The light through the windows is just really cool.
    • Calling out Photo No. 58 especially. I have a similar one that actually turned out fairly well. But there's something about the light and the color of the room... *heart eyes*
    • Ugh, I'd totally repressed our dine-'n'-dash moment at the pancake place, haha.
    • The Cathedral was nice, though. I GUESS I'm glad we saw it instead of eating more pancakes... maybe. :-P. I like food.
    • HOWEVER, I want to specifically compliment Photo Nos. 86, 88, and 102 because I love them, even though I could have been eating pancakes when you were taking them. :-P.
    • I couldn't get decent photos of that amazing carved pulpit with either of my cameras. :(.
    • The pizza place was OBVIOUSLY my idea, haha. Sorry. BUT it was a legit Italian place run by legit Italian people, and I feel like the pizza was tasty! Plus, we'd already eaten Thai and Indian, so it was time to squeeze in some Italian. :-P.
    • Photo No. 119 is also frameworthy.
    • UGH THAT HORRIBLE TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR WITH THE WIND AND LACK OF ADEQUATE COVER :( :( :( :(. That was the WORSTTTTTTTTT. But I guess it made the sky prettier afterwards (minor silver lining).
    • Also, the view from the harbor was pretty underwhelming. I feel like Rick missed the boat on this one. Also, wasn't this where we ran into that other group that was following the same Rick Steves walking tour? LOL.
    • The waffle in the station was pretty good-- not our best, but not bad. Mine had strawberries and whipped cream, I think. But I remember it was super-melty and so it was a race against time to eat it, haha.
    • I think my back also randomly spasmed here for no reason and I almost fell down in the middle of the station. Fun!
    • Just looking at those King's Day hordes triggers my extreme social anxiety, haha. Sorry that I suck so much. The huge crowds are particularly surreal to see now.
    • FINALLY, just to give ourselves a little bit of credit, the inefficiency in our itinerary that you highlighted at the end of the post and clearly still bothers you to this day (LOL) only became obvious when it was too late to do anything about it! We'd already booked hotels in Amsterdam and Bruges/Brussels before we finalized the itinerary, right? And this was the only day to slot Antwerp. So we were not QUITE as dumb as we looked. I think.

    Excited to see the Belgium posts and hopefully a zillion photos of all of the chocolates that we ate!

    1. This comment was excessively long, LOL. Sorry.


Thank you so much for your comment! I hope you have a wonderful day :)