Old Travel Series: Antwerp and Bruges (Europe, Part 8)

This post is part of a series where I’m incorporating old travel journal entries into this blog. This part of the series is from my first ever trip to Europe, when I visited the Netherlands, Belgium, and France with a group from my college. This is transcribed from the original hand-written journal I kept during that trip while I was still just a wee college student. I hope you enjoy it! Stay tuned for more tales of our adventures!

Didn’t catch the first post in this series? Start from the beginning!

The next morning, we had to get up quite early to catch a bus into Belgium. It was a huge, bright yellow bus, which hardly could make it through the tiny streets of Haarlem. The bus ride was long, but we entertained ourselves by looking at the amazing views of the countryside, filled with picturesque windmills and lots and lots of cows. Not that I find cows to be terribly interesting, but I figured that writing about it would help me to visualize it when I read back on this journal in the future.

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Back to my story…we stopped along the way at some place that looked like a truck stop for sandwiches and restrooms. I ended up getting some really nasty, slimy chicken wrap. Yuck! Then we got back on our giant yellow bus and we were on our way. We stopped in Antwerp and went to the Royal Fine Art Museum, Our Lady Cathedral, and Rubens’ house.


The Royal Fine Art Museum was absolutely amazing, but we were really rushed through it.

I did get to see some amazing paintings by Pieter Paul Rubens. (see my sketch, left) and img_0666many other beautiful works. I bought some postcards from this museum, which I will paste in my journal later, but they didn’t have cards of all my favorite pieces, which was extremely unfortunate. There was this one that had all these devilish looking creatures that was really cool, and several others which had mythological creatures and castles, neat things like that. I was really disappointed there weren’t any postcards of those ones.

After the museum, we went to the cathedral. All I can say is wow. It was the most amazing, beautiful building I have ever seen in my entire life, and that’s no exaggeration. I didn’t feel like I had nearly enough time there, either. We were behind schedule, so I didn’t get to see much of Rubens’ house, but from what I did see, it was absolutely beautiful, and I took some great pictures of the outdoor courtyard area. Then it was back on the big yellow bus. We got into Bruges in the late afternoon, just in time for dinner at Au Bon Apetit. I was pretty tired, but I went to the hotel bar with Norwood, Brett, Andrew, and a lot of other people. I had a drink. I ordered a lemon drop martini and ended up with a glass of gin and tonic with a lemon stuck in it, but I decided not to worry about it because the bartender was this older lady and she looked really stressed.

We were going to go in the pool, but it was closed for the day already so Norwood ended up getting drunk with Brett instead, which turned out to not be that fun of a night for me. The next morning, Norwood was pretty hung over so we skipped out on the activities the group was doing and had a relaxing day. We had breakfast sent up to our room, which was quite nice, and eventually we meandered out into the town. We came across a flew market and walked around there for a while. I got some nice new clothes and Norwood got me a present: a pretty necklace with flowers on it and a heart pendant made of amber. We ran into Laura, Adam, and Andrew on our way out from the flew market and we all decided to go back to the hotel to go swimming.

The water in the pool was a bit cold, but there was a hilarious group of old British people in there who were all yelling at each other about taking off their pants and getting in the water, so all in all it was a good time.

Other than that, we walked around, had some snacks, ate some Belgian chocolates (ok…a lot of chocolates), and enjoyed the city. We had dinner with the group. We didn’t really stay out that night though, due to being tired from the shenanigans the night before.

Didn’t catch the first post in this series? Start from the beginning!

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