Thursday, March 30, 2023

At the Hilton Antwerp Old Town

As we arrived at Antwerp’s Central Station, we realized that Belgians can also build impressive edifices, this one with trains on more than one level.

Our €10 Uber ride became €20 as the driver’s GPS took us to a street blocked by a crane and a construction site, eventually leading to a u-turn and retreat.There are cyclists and scooters all over the place.

Antwerp is the second largest city in Belgium, after Brussels, and sits only 9 miles (15 Kms.) south of the Dutch border.

The Hilton is an elegant property. A few complain that it’s somewhat worn and tired, but count us among those who like it as is.

On top of that, Kathy’s Hilton Diamond status resulted in an upgrade to a junior suite, about as large as our previous two hotel rooms combined.

There’s a welcoming bottle of Australian Shiraz and some chocolates on the coffee table. 

Kathy will make good use of the soaker tub.

The views from our fourth-floor windows are pleasing.

We visited the Executive Lounge on the fifth (and top) floor for a cup of coffee.

We then went for a walk, spotting in front of the cathedral a prominent statue of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), the great Flemish painter who spent most of his life here.

We returned to the Executive Lounge for Happy Hour. The young employee in charge, wearing an “in training” badge, seemed more interested in her phone than in replenishing the food or clearing the tables. Things improved after two or three customers accosted a supervisor who appeared, but we lost interest and went for a light dinner at a nearby Thai restaurant.

The cathedral’s nighttime lighting is impressive.

Thursday will be a day to explore the Old Town, no doubt  dodging cyclists as we wander around. We’re clearly in the Flemish region of Belgium, and will probably encounter the same when we visit Bruges in a couple of days.

Brian can finally lay off his fractured French, and Kathy can brush up on German interpretation of Dutch 

We also learn at the Hilton’s generous buffet breakfast this morning that true Belgian Waffles are sweet; ours were a little crunchy.with sugar. Who’d have known? Travel is broadening, but please no more waffles to further broaden our waistlines.

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