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BELGIUM


Location - Western Europe; Capital - Brussels; Population - 11 million; Currency - Euro MORE BELGIUM

I was lucky enough to get a freebie Eurostar ticket to Belgium so headed for a long weekend to Antwerp and Gent - January 2013. MORE BELGIUM

 

euroBelgium is part of the Euro Zone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium1One of the first sights you'll see is the towering Onze Lieve Vrouwekathedraal - Antwerp

 

belgium3A statue of painter and local favourite Rubens stands in the Groenplaats with the cathedral's 123m spire looking on - Antwerp

 

belgium5A collection of restaurants occupy a corner of the Groenplaats - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium8 Take your pick from a few more cafes/restaurants at the Handschoenmarkt - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium6The Onze Lieve Vrouwekathedraal is Antwerp's cathedral, completed in 1521

 

belgium15The religious figures through the window form part of a theme restaurant - Antwerp

 

belgium30Photogenic guildhalls on the Grote Markt (Market Square) - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium28Between the camera and the guildhalls is the Brabo Fountain - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium26In the Grote Markt on the left is the Stadhuis (Town Hall), with the Brabo Fountain on the right - Antwerp

 

belgium21Legend has it that Roman soldier Silvius Brabo killed the bothersome giant Druon Antigoon, chopped off his hand and threw it in the River Scheldt. The Brabo Fountain depicts Silvius Brabo hand throwing, or 'hand werpen', giving Antwerp its name. I hope the legend is true..

 

belgium35A golden statue tops one of the Grote Markt guildhalls - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium31The Grote Markt is the centre of tourist activity in Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium36Surveying the scene above Den Engel bar in the Grote Markt - Antwerp

 

belgium39A short walk from the Grote Markt is another square, Hendrik Conscienceplein - Antwerp

 

belgium4017th century church St Carolus Borromeuskerk lines Hendrik Conscienceplein - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium44Is this Freddy Krueger? Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium4316th century St Pauluskerk - Antwerp

 

 

belgium49Rubenshuis was the home of Rubens designed by the painter himself and is now a museum in his honour - Antwerp

 

belgium50Meir, the main shopping street, was heaving in the January sales - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium52A champagne bar styled after its drinking vessel in the Stadsfeestzlaal shopping centre - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium59Pillars belonging to Centraal Station house some diamond shops. Antwerp is a major diamond distributor and apparently 80% of the world's uncut diamonds are traded in the city. There's a Diamond Museum near the station.

 

belgium65The area around Cogels-Osylei has several castle-like structures complete with turrets and spires - Antwerp

 

 

belgium70Three of the 12 devils adorning the Twaalf Duivels building near Cogels-Osylei. The one on the left looks seriously miserable - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium68Polar bears take a break from watching Daytime TV - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium73Maybe the chickens are doing the same - Antwerp

 

 

belgium64These look like water towers common in north Africa and similar dry climates - Antwerp

 

 

belgium77St Annatunnel is a pedestrian tunnel underneath the Scheldt River - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium78Take the tunnel westwards to the opposite side of the city centre - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium80The Onze Lieve Vrouwekathedraal dominates the skyline across the Scheldt River - Antwerp

 

 

belgium86The very modern 'sails' of the Justitiepaleis are striking, though they look better from this distance rather than close up - Antwerp

 

 

belgium92Stone facade of Neptune Monument - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium93A fantastic mural down in an alleyway next to Fish & Chips clothes store - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium95..this one needs a little more work - Antwerp

 

 

belgium96Antwerp is a city big on fashion and is home to MoMu, a fashion museum - Antwerp

 

 

belgium98Zuiderterras is a restaurant overlooking the river and also the start of a raised riverside promenade - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium99Follow the river north to Antwerp Port, Europe's second largest after Rotterdam - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium100Again the cathedral dominates in this scene from the river - Antwerp

 

 

belgium102Reminiscent of the gyrating dancer in Gangnam Style, a statue of Lange Wapper stands outside the 13th century Het Steen castle - Antwerp

 

 

belgium103This was the closest I got to a photo of the red light district. Just around the corner is Villa Tinto, described in the tourist map as a high-tech 'mega brothel' designed by Arne Quinze - Antwerp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium104After dropping off my stuff at Gent I headed for Veurne for the afternoon, a small town just off the coast near Ostend. This is the 13th century St Niklaaskerk.

 

 

belgium106The main reason to visit is the historic Grote Markt (Market Square) - Veurne

 

 

belgium110Straight ahead is the 17th century Belfort which now houses the Tourist Office. On the left is the Stadhuis - Veurne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium119The entrance to the 17th century Stadhuis, or Town Hall - Veurne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium108The Belfort tower (belfry tower) on the left next to the top of the Taverne Flandria - Veurne

 

 

belgium118There's a couple of bar-restaurants in the Grote Markt and of course there's a local Veurne beer to taste - Veurne

 

 

belgium115Past the Belfort is the Spanish Pavilion; the Vleeshuis is obscured by an ice skating rink, followed by St Niklaaskerk on the right - Veurne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium126Admire St Walburga church (left) and the Belfort (right) from the quaint St Walburgapark - Veurne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium121The Veurne-Nieuwpoort Canal is a few minutes walk from the Grote Markt - Veurne

 

 

belgium122A snow-laden path next to the Veurne-Nieuwpoort Canal - Veurne

 

 

belgium128Sunday morning in Veurne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium130An orange sunset glow over the southern outskirts of Ghent

 

 

belgium139Lights illuminate the swirling snow outside the Stadhuis – Ghent

 

 

belgium140Oude Begijnhof (almshouse) - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium142The Gravensteen is a 12th century castle in the city centre - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium153Down the road from the Gravensteen is the cheeky back entrance to the Design Museum - Ghent

 

 

belgium152Restaurants in the Groentenmarkt opposite the castle - Ghent

 

 

belgium156The cobbled streets of the Patershol area - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium159The Vrijdagmarkt is a large welcoming square - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium161The Vrijdagmarkt has plenty of bars and cafes to keep you going in the afternoon and into the evening - Ghent

 

 

belgium160Lots of paraphenalia hangs from the ceilings of this Vrijdagmarkt bar - Ghent

 

 

belgium162Golum welcomes you to a graffiti alleyway off Hoogpoort - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium172It's not just Brussels that has a Manneken Pis - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium150The Korenmarkt is another square with its fair share of cafes and restaurants - Ghent

 

 

belgium178St Nicholas' Church (St Niklaaskerk) is on the edge of Korenmarkt - Ghent

 

 

belgium171The Belfort tower and the huge Stadhuis (Town Hall) - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium191Go to the top of the Belfort tower for sweeping views of Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium195Straight across from the Belfort is St Nicholas' Church and behind is the Korenmarkt - Ghent

 

 

belgium189Walk 180° around the Belfort tower and take a look at St Bavo's Cathedral (St Baafskathedral) - Ghent

 

 

belgium181The van Eyck brothers sit beneath St Bavo's Cathedral. Jan van Eyck painted The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, found in the cathedral - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium184aThe 13th century Duivelsteen castle - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium198St Niklaaskerk and the clockface of the Belfort behind - Ghent

 

 

belgium201Cheap canal tours allow you to get a different perspective on Ghent

 

 

belgium206The Leie canal - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium208The canalside streets of Graslei and Korenlei are very picturesque - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium209A reconstructed townhouse on Graslei - Ghent

 

 

belgium211The 15th century St Michael's Church (St Michielskerk) as seen from St Michael's bridge - Ghent

 

 

belgium212Reflections in the Leie canal - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium213Just visible on the left is the Oude Vismarkt or old fish market, now a fancy looking restaurant - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium215There's enough shops in Ghent to suit all pockets

 

 

belgium221South of the centre St Pieter's Church is part of St Pieter's Abbey, founded in the 7th century - Ghent

 

 

belgium218As well as a botanical garden, pond and several pathways Citadelpark contains two notable art museums, SMAK and MSK - Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website and content Copyright © 2008-2013 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.

 

LINKS

www.visitbelgium.com - the Belgian tourist office

www.visitflanders.com - Flanders

www.visitantwerpen.be - Antwerp

www.visitgent.be - visit Ghent

www.eurostar.com - Eurostar train from London to Paris, Brussels and more

 

I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

 

 
 
 
   
 
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