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Help: 2 days in Belgium next week . . . what to do?

Help: 2 days in Belgium next week . . . what to do?

Old Jun 14th, 2009, 02:29 PM
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Help: 2 days in Belgium next week . . . what to do?

The good news is I have a last minute business trip to Liege next week. I'll be flying into Brussels from the US. I was able to get a better deal by leaving on Saturday so that leaves me my jet-lagged Sunday (arriving 10 am) and all day/night Monday to myself before my business affairs in Liege on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The bad news is I have no idea what to do nor much time to plan (I'm normally the research/plan type). I like history and sites. Not as big on art. I'd rather avoid driving and I unfortunately just speak English. Should I stay in Brussels or hit Brugge? Ghent? other? Must-dos? Must-eats?

I'll start wading through the posts but time is unfortunately short. Any suggestions for how to spend my time would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Jun 15th, 2009, 05:15 PM
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It doesn't sound like you're going to have much time to travel to other destinations - why not just see Brussels and Liege? That way you won't be exhausted by the time you need to do business. There is a hop-on hop-off bus that goes around Brussels leaving from Bruxelles-Midi train station and that will take up a bit of time and show you the major sites. If you then wanted to go back and explore by yourself you would at least know what you wanted to see (cartoon museum, Atomium, the main square and surrounding streets, including the Galeries St-Hubert). Or just go and enjoy the food, which is a very positive part of the Belgian identity. There is a restaurant street near the main square, or explore the streets of St-Catherine where you will find seafood restaurants. Have a drink at Place St-Gery, near St-Catherine, and try out some of the Belgian beers. I haven't done Liege in as much depth but it is quite a pretty city and there would be at least a half day's sightseeing. For my money eating is about the best thing you can do in any Belgian city, the food is fabulous.
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Old Jun 15th, 2009, 05:28 PM
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Thanks, Lavandula. That's how I was leaning. I've made arrangements to stay in Brussels those first two nights. I know a lot of people like Brugge but I don't think I can fit it in this time. I may try Ghent on Monday since it seems an easier and less crowded trip . . . or perhaps another day in Brussels.

Any other suggestions?
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 01:02 PM
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The train trip to Ghent from Brussels is only about 30 mins and well worth the trip. We were there last weekend and really enjoyed it. Ghent is gorgeous, full of buildings from the 1600's, pretty canals, shops, churches etc. Loads of places to eat too.

The tourist office is underneath the Belfort/Belfry and offers walking tours for 7 euro, usually 2.30pm and they run for 2 hours. They are in two languages, as we were the first to book (booked in the morning when we arrived) we chose English and the other language was French. You will get by just fine with English in Belgium.

If you do decide to visit Ghent, get off at Ghent St Pieters station (Gand Saint Pierre in French I think) then go outside the station, buy a ticket in the machine or on the tram and get the No.1 tram into the city centre, which is 2km away. The trams run every 15 mins. Don't forget to punch your ticket in the yellow machine on the tram.

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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 01:15 PM
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I also agree that if you can find the time, Gent is just treat. The Van Eyck masterpiece in St Bavo's is astonishing even if painting is not your major interest. But strolling through the historic quarter is filled with revelations about the business life of centuries ago.

I much preferred it to Brugge which is utterly devoted to serving foreign tourism.

My favorite city in Belgium in Antwerpen. I've never been to Liege but it's often sounded very rewarding. Brussels can be very abrasive, but the Grand Place is spectacular.

To me, the unique thing to try is jenever, and there is a famous bar for serving it in Gent's historic center is "Dreupelkot". My other favorite belgian foods are waffles, chocolates, mussels, lamb shanks cooked in cream mustard sauces, and there were some frites I liked better than others (and they weren't at the most famed frites shops). Beer can be a real revelation in Belgium, especially for me the light and fruited beers.

Have a great time!
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 01:25 PM
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Absolutely agree with KayF and Zeppole regarding Ghent, specifically the Altarpiece. It was unbelievable, and probably the highlight of my trip to Paris and Belgium (Brugge, Ghent, and Brussels).

IMO, when you're in Belgium, doing a bit of a beer tour and trying their amazing brews is a must, even if it's self-guided. And as others have stated, the food is top notch. A few bars/restaurants in Ghent and Brussels that I think deserve attention are:


1. L'Imaige de Nostre-Dame €10 for three biers, and the bar was complete with a kitty named Mickey. Off Rue du Marche aux Poulets.
2. A La Becasse €10 for la palette, four tasters of Lambic Doux, Lambic Blanc, Kriek, and Bourgogne
3. Delirium Awesome bar with over 2,000 biers to choose from. Large barrels made up the tables, and bier trays covered the walls and ceilings. Great music and ambiance, with a young crowd. Just off Rue des Bouchers.
4. Bonsoir Clara €50 for wine, bier, two bottles of water, salad, mushroom risotto, and dessert.


1. Brasserie Vaudeville Lunch here of waterzooi de poulet and spinach lasagna for €30 with two Bavik beers. Located in the Korenmarkt.
2. Pink Flamingo Bar On a recommendation from our hostess, we went here. Quite smokey, but an obvious locals bar in Ghent. Onderstraat at Schepenhuis.
3. Tollhouse Bar On the Korenlei. Absolutely gorgeous spot at night, and the bar's size didn't disappoint; it was maybe 10 feet wide. Address: Graslei No.11.

Enjoy Belgium...I can't wait to go back!
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