Antwerp and Brussels, Belgium (October 2016)

Kissing that diet goodbye – and visiting places because of drunk people stories

02.11.16 – The day after returning home

where: Antwerp and Brussels

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to my mother on the phone and proudly told her that I’d lost weight and I’m no longer snacking, overeating or drinking too many sugary beverages. Not that I  was ever really fat or anything, but I definitely gained weight after I moved to France. And recently I’d managed to lose some of that weight…..but then, trips to Belgium happen.

I love Belgium. I love how it’s a bilingual country. I love the traditional Flemish architecture. And I love Belgian food!

I had always wanted to visit Antwerp. Not because it’s the city of diamonds, but because I’d heard great things about the city from a drunk guy I once met at a party. He wouldn’t shut up about how fantastic Antwerp was, how nice the locals were, how great the beer and local food was, and how much he wanted to find a nice Belgian girl to settle down with. The guy had fallen in love with the city and I was curious to find out why. This was ten years ago, but I never forgot that story. And that’s what brought me to Antwerp last weekend.

My boyfriend wanted to go on a road trip to Brussels, which I was perfectly fine with as I had never been to Brussels before. And I begged him, “if we’re going to Brussels, can we please please please also spend a night in Antwerp?”. He gave me a weird look, questioning why on earth I wanted to visit such a random city. To buy diamonds? I told him the story about the drunk guy, and he burst out laughing. Was it a dumb reason to want to visit a place? He smiled and reassured me that although, yes, it was a dumb reason, he was cool with it. “Fine, one night in Antwerp and two nights in Brussels”, he said.

Saturday afternoon. Antwerp was as charming as I had imagined it to be – and the Belgian beer tasted as delicious as always. A bunch of people were lining up to order fries from a specific “frituur”-restaurant , others were buying fine Belgian chocolates from one of the many chocolate boutiques. My boyfriend seemed more in love with me than ever, as he gave me sweet little kisses and plenty of attention as we walked hand in hand, exploring the historical center of the city I had always wanted to visit.

Sunday. Time flies when you’re having a good time. Sadly, it was time to leave Antwerp. It was time to visit the capital. It was time to say “Bonjour Bruxelles!”

Before we reached the city center, we went to see the Atomium. We ended up only taking pictures in front of it, as the lines to enter were just as long and boring as the ones to enter the Eiffel tower in Paris on a Sunday afternoon, so we both agreed that we’d rather spend more time in the city center than waiting in line for what seemed to be an eternity.

Brussels was what I had expected it to be. Big, kind of expensive and very crowded. But the Grand Place sure is beautiful. And Manneken Pis? He’s a tiny little thing with a tiny little thing.

My boyfriend is obsessed with American football and desperately wanted to watch the NFL, so our first evening in Brussels was spent in a sports bar eating burgers and watching football. Not really my cup of tea (football, not burgers. I love burgers) but I knew he’d make it up to me the next day. After all, relationships are all about making compromises. So the next day was spent visiting a local coffee shop, eating a lot of chocolate, drinking beer and having dinner at a local restaurant called C’est bon, C’est Belge – which means “it’s good, it’s Belgian”. And it was. Good. And Belgian.

Before leaving Belgium, we went to what was supposed to be the best place for Belgian waffles in Brussels and ordered a large waffle each. We kissed our diets goodbye and enjoyed our last taste of Belgium – for now.


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