And we are back again with another piece in the “Travel Diary” series, this time featuring beautiful Antwerp, Belgium!
Even though Ben and I had visited other places on our tour of Europe before coming to Belgium, I had already gushed over lovely Lisbon and sunny Seville earlier on in my travel diary series, whereas Antwerp was a new experience for the both of us!
You can see our updated travel vlogs from Lisbon and Seville where we discovered new places and indulged in new experiences!
Belgium was a weather-shock, to say the least! It was about 20 degrees colder and that drop coming from sunny Spain…well, you DEFINITELY notice it!
We were definitely prepared though! Our last few days in Spain, we stocked up on all our winter basics – from fluffy scarves to thick coats. We got some strange looks at the airport as we left sunny Spain! We were all decked out in our “Christmas-is-coming” gear, but as long as I didn’t freeze in Belgium, I didn’t care!
New City, Same Routine
First sights of Antwerp definitely leave an impression! We stepped off the train and walked into a stunning station, with beautiful architecture and large glass ceilings. The details were so intricate and it was mesmerising to wander around whilst waiting to check into our apartment.
Ben and I arrived at our little apartment in Antwerp on the 4th of November. It was sweet and had lots of character, but it was a bugger lugging four suitcases up the twisting staircase!
After settling in, we spent the evening exploring the area around our apartment. We noted all local amenities, routes for evening strolls and of course our closest Lidl and Carrefour!
We arrived mid-week, and so, as with each of our new destinations, our first few days in the new city were quite mundane. It involved mainly working from home and watching the hustle and bustle of the streets below from our apartment window.
Ben and I usually finish our work at about 4/5 pm and so have the evenings and weekends to take in as much of the city as we possibly can!
A Visit from the Folks
Our first weekend was a beautiful treat! My parents travelled from Cambridge, England and stayed just around the corner from us for the weekend. We spent all of Saturday with them, with a lovely lunch in Antwerp’s historic city centre and all of Sunday with a delicious, fresh brunch at a little local cafe near the bustling market and Ruben’s house.
We had such a lovely time, and after two months with zero face-to-face family contact, it was definitely needed! I mean, seeing Ben 24/7 is great and all, but sometimes it’s nice to have a familial change of face!
An Evening with Mr Zimmer
On Saturday evening, Ben and I visited the Sportspalais on the outskirts of Antwerp to witness the phenomenal music of Hans Zimmer. His music was performed by a live orchestra complete with incredible lighting, effects and projected motion pictures relating his various films.
I have been a movie-score fan for as long as I can remember, and Ben and I first got the opportunity to see Hans Zimmer live back in 2014 for one of his first-ever concerts.
It was just as thrilling the second time around, and the atmosphere of the audience around us was absolutely infectious!
All-You-Can-Eat Ribs & Delicious Belgian Waffles
Ben and I went out for a rare date night the following Friday at the quirky Amadeus II on the outskirts of Antwerp. It is a cosy restaurant serving a variety of traditional Belgian dishes, as well as the tiny, insignificant menu item of ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT RIBS!
The ribs are delivered by waiters with a huge plateful handing out new racks as soon as you finish wiping the sauce from your fingers from the plate before! They are served with a curried baked potato and were unbelievably delicious! Ben was VERY happy with the ribs and ended up having three platefuls – he definitely made the most out of it!
On Saturday, Ben and I took the train into Brussels for our BELGIAN WAFFLE COOKING CLASS! We had the best time at the Waffle Workshop learning the history of this delicious dessert and making the batter from scratch!
We then cooked our waffles in rotating waffle irons and ate as many as we possibly could with a huge variety of toppings to choose from to decorate! Even though the traditional topping for a Belgian waffle is simply powdered sugar, I have to admit, I did go a bit crazy with the speculoos biscoff spread, and now it is even a contender against Nutella!
Unlimited Ribs to Unlimited Chocolate
The following day, Ben and I visited the Chocolate Nation museum, the largest Belgian chocolate museum in the world, and a place we had been wanting to visit since we arrived in Antwerp.
It was an immersive experience taking you through how Belgian chocolate is made, transported and sold across the world. It was interesting and unbelievably tasty! We ended the tour in a room with 10 chocolate mills, each with a different type of melted chocolate. We got given a spoon and went wild!
The chocolates available for unlimited tasting varied from the traditional dark, milk and white, to the more unique, such as gold, caramel and ruby chocolate.
We spent ages in the gift shop afterward and bought chocolates to take with us for the rest of our travels!
There is lots to see in and around Antwerp and we will definitely be revisiting!
Ben and I had such a lovely experience in Antwerp! We are cherishing our time travelling and count ourselves very lucky. We are humbled to have the opportunity to be able to visit so many beautiful places whilst working remotely.
It has been a dream of ours for so long and we are currently living it in real-time.