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Up North

So for my February break I decided to head north to Belgium to visit my aunt and uncle and see the country of beer, frites (fries), chocolate, lace and Tintin. In case you have never read comics in French, Tintin is an extremely popular character. The first museum we went to in Brussels was the Musée de Bande Dessinée (comics) where Tintin is paid quite the homage.

Tintin et Milou

Weird fact that I did not know: Milou, Tintin’s dog, is translated into English as Snowball. C’est bizarre!

Today we drove to Antwerp. Antwerp is primarily a Dutch speaking area (Flemish) so my panic was put to ease when I realized that my French really isn’t that bad. Antwerp or Anvers is a port city also known for lace as well as its diamond district. The architecture here is unique. The first thing we saw was an old fortification built to protect the city (looks like a small chateau to me):

Het Steen

After this we headed into the historical center of the city.

Cathedral

The Cathedral of Lady (behind the buildings in the above photo) is magnificent on the inside and outside and houses some Ruben paintings which are incredible. The area in front of city hall has a great statue (you’ll notice that the man is holding a hand; essentially he will do whatever it takes to protect Antwerp):

City Hall

After this we went to the Royal Fine Arts Museum in Antwerp (yes, Belgium still has monarchy). There was a very cool ground sculpture near the entrance to the museum. The museum itself houses painting by Belgians such as Van Dyck.

Cool Leaves

So far I’m enjoying Belgian cuisine a lot. Lunch included frites, croquettes (which is this fried dumpling-like dish stuffed with mini shrimp), and a beef stew cooked with beer. Yum! I will post more in the upcoming days and I leave you with a photo of a beautiful street in Antwerp:

Winding Rues

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