An Afternoon in Antwerp

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As I mentioned before, Brussels was not exactly my favorite city, so during my time there, I decided a little daytrip was in order. Given Belgium’s tiny size, there are an abundance of options for taking a quick trip, but I settled on Antwerp, Belgium’s second largest city. While Antwerp is known for two main things – being a port town and having a huge diamond industry – those weren’t really the focus of my time in town.

Instead, I was content just to wander around the heart of Antwerp’s old city, stopping to visit whatever caught my eye. Before I even began my exploring, however, I was impressed with something else: the train station, which was gorgeous! I, apparently, wasn’t the only one who thought so, as Newsweek named it the fourth best train station in the world.

I left the magnificent train station and headed toward Antwerp’s old town, where the main attraction was the Great Market Square. With its triangle-roofed buildings and flourishes of gold, it reminded me of Brussels’s own Grand Place, albeit on a smaller scale.

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I also peeked into the Cathedral of Our Lady, a Roman Catholic church constructed in 1521. Its stark white, impossibly high ceilings were impressive, as were its small collection of paintings – it even has a few pieces by Peter Paul Rubens.

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Other than that, I didn’t do much more in Antwerp, save eating a nice lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant (because, you know, who doesn’t think of Vietnamese cuisine when they think of Belgium?!?) Antwerp wasn’t the most exciting city I visited this semester, but it was certainly a cute one, and well-deserving of a quick stop.

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