An April 2005 trip
to Belgium by flyingscot4
Quote: Belgium is frequently overlooked (except for Bruges and Brussels), and is worth so much more than a brief visit. I will do Journals on each or the Flemish cities: Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp, and Ghent starting with Bruges. Most of the photographs include locations.
Like much of Europe, the Euro is the currency of Belgium. It is always a good idea to bring some Euros with you when you enter any of the countries on the Euro standard (50-100€). After that, use an ATM card. Traveler's checks may be good in an emergency (I carry two 50's and two 100's that I have had since the early 90's and have lost my a-- on), but the ATM card gives the best rate of exchange and you will find them everywhere. WARNING: If you see exposed wires running from the ATM to someplace else, it's a smart idea to avoid that machine. While improbable, the machine may have been hacked and the wires may lead to an identity thief. They are safe if they are built into a wall. Also, avoid currency exchanges! They may say, "No commission," but rates are low and there are service charges that will amount to close to 20% of your currency or traveler's check.Like many European cities, the old baroque or medieval parts of the Belgian cities are wonderful for wandering. The small streets and alleys often lead to scenes of great beauty and wonderful shops which are frequently MUCH less expensive than those in the main shopping areas. I found this to be true especially in Ghent and Antwerp. This is also true of restaurants.As mentioned, like the Netherlands, many Belgians are fluent in English. This is especially true in Flanders where travelers will find English menus and English-speaking servers, clerks, bank personnel, travel specialists, and cashiers. The Tourist Information (TI or just "i") are great sources of information in English as are local travel agents who can frequently offer special discounts on different things in the area.Small towns in Europe can be wonderfully picturesque. They are different than towns in the US because the farmers live in the town, and not on the farms. In agrarian Europe, the town was protection and the farm population lived inside the town walls. That is why one sees so few farm houses on the land. Cattle, goats, and sheep were were "put out to pasture" every day which meant that they were moved or driven back and forth to the town on a daily basis. The towns were the entire community 400 years ago and they still are. They also have train stations, so they are very accessible.
Attraction | "A Tale of Churches - Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk"
Church of our Lady
Hotel | "A Tale of Churches - Sint-Walburgakerk"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 25, 2011
St. Walburga's Church (Sint-Walburgakerk)