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Published: September 25th 2019
We departed Leuven for the city of Antwerp (Antwerpen in Flemish or Anvers in French). Situated near the Dutch border, Antwerp is known for diamonds. We had booked in for a free walking tour the next day, so after checking in we walked downtown towards the Grote Markt to acquaint ourselves with the area and also have something to eat and drink! Belgium is famous for their beers, which is what the world outside Belgium would call craft beers. Belgium has over 200 active breweries and several different categories of beer such as red Flemish ales, lambic (sour), wit (white), ambers and trappist to name a few! After some lunch and beers we wandered around town and then I went for a quick bout of shopping before dinner. We saw a Greek restaurant on our walk around, so we went there for some delicious yiros and retsina wine!
The next day we met up with our walking tour and the lady providing the tour was from Venezuela but she must have lived in Antwerp for awhile as she really new the city and its history well. The tour was succint and she provided lots of energy so its one of
the better walking tours we had done. The other side of the small river, which is only accessible by car tunnels or a pedestrian tunnel, is residential only the the city centre was on our side. After the tour, we went to walk the St Anna's (Sintaanna's) pedestrian tunnel which is 572m long and 13.57m underground. The tunnel was opened in 1933 and you can access it either by lift, which is HUGE as it was built that way as back in the day that was the only tunnel so they built an extraordinary large lift in case an ambulance needed to cross to the other side, as well as wooden escalators. We took the lift down and escalator back. The walk was good but there was a large group of school kids chanting something along the way so it was extremely loud! After a return trip down the tunnel, we headed back to town for a beer and somemore shopping. That night we ate Lebanese yum!
The next day we did laundry at a great Belgian restaurant/laundromat - the Wasbar - a great business idea! We also visited the nearby Ruben house museum. Ruben was a Flemish painter
who painted in the Flemish Baroque style. Thet turned his house into a museum showcasing his artwork as well as furniture. The museum actually displays artwork from several other artists as well. Later, we went to a diamond factory and did a free tour to see how diamonds are cut and saw one of the very many master diamond cutters at work. There's an actial diamond museum you can go to for €10 but we were advised on our walking tour there's a free tour at a diamond shop near the station so that's what we did! Antwerp is known as the city of diamonds as the diamond industry revolves around Antwerp and all diamonds come through Antwerp. We wrapped up the day by going back to the Greek restaurant for dinner. Antwerp, you were great glad we went but we have ticked it off our list!
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