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toxic avenger

Bruxelles/Antwerpen

I've just booked cheapo Ryanair flights over to Belgium for a long weekend in September.

I've no plans yet but my instincts are pointing me towards Antwerp rather than Brussels. Seems like my kind of place. Plenty of edgy avant garde art and fashion, pubs 'n' clubs galore, the diamond district and some *ahem* adult entertainment.

Anyone been to Belgium? If so, any pointers, things to see, do or avoid?
Late Doors

Just been to Bruge for a few days and that is that as far as Belgium goes. One of the first trips me n MrsD did together i  recall. Nothing remotely left field or avant-garde i have to report but then again we weren't searching for that.

A very pleasant place, we stopped in the Sofitel where that German team who beat manu in Europe the same year also stopped. Bought The blonde headed full back a beer that he toasted me MrsD and Leeds United with. which was nice.

Best things i remember were the ace canal, some high octane beers that you couldn't expose  to a naked flame and the best Mussels I've ever had, with a rake of really thin chips. Oh and i disgraced myself when a barman told us about the horrible Chelsea fans wrecking the place,,, i laughed when i rather think i shouldn't have..

So not much help but i remember the Belgium folk being nice and jovial
sheeps

Done Brugge which is pretty much as LD states, pleasant city centre with a couple of nice squares, the streets are pretty narrow too with some interesting architecture.

Also done Liege which is more industrial but worth a visit, if it's on spend an hour in the Friday night market. Great atmosphere with several 'stalls' selling mulled wine and the like, very civilised, I recall wondering how this would go down in England. It wouldn't.

On the beer front forget the Stella and try a Juliper.
Late Doors

They call Stella "Cooking Beer" over there
toxic avenger

I got back yesterday so here's my take on Belgium.

I flew with Ryanair for around fifty quid return from Edinburgh to Charleroi. The flight touched down at around nine pm. I had to wait around forty five minutes for a bus into Brussels. It took around an hour. I had a dormitory bed booked for one night in a youth hostel. It was late, I was tired and half drunk by this point and had no idea where to find it so I jumped in a taxi. I'm not sure if the cunt was genuinely lost or if he wilfully fucked me around but the journey cost me around twenty euros. Foreign taxi drivers piss me off and I usually avoid them like the plague, but my hostel was down some little side street and I'd have struggled to find it by myself. The hostel itself was nothing to write home about. I went to bed immediately and slept like a baby until around eight am. After checking out I took a stroll in central Brussels. It seemed like a bit of a concrete jungle, all I saw was office blocks and rush hour traffic. After walking for about half an hour I reached the Gare Du Nord. There was a train for Antwerp leaving in five minutes so I said au revoir to Brussels.

The journey to Antwerp took around thirty minutes and cost six euros. The scenery between the two cities is not particularly pleasant, just flat, featureless and pockmarked with pylons and power lines. Antwerp Central station is a very impressive building, ornate pillars and details everywhere and a huge dome above the central entrance.

I had a room booked for three nights at the Hotel Billard Palace, which is immediately outside the station. It was too early to check in so I dumped my bag at reception and made a beeline for the red light district.

The red light district is near the harbour and consists of three streets with around a hundred or so windows. There are youngish and not so young sex workers of all sizes and nationalities. Eastern Europeans, Africans, Asians and Latinos are all competing for your attention. It's like a United Nations of pussy. There's even a few tough looking trannies with fetish gear and stiff cocks bulging away in their tiny g-strings. I imagine these geezers must make decent money helping elderly Flemish perverts live out their prison bitch fantasies.  There's also a sex shop with a peep show and private video cabins. I entered one of the peep show cabins and dropped a couple of euros into the slot. The screen opened up to reveal an over the hill forty something strumpet lying on a revolving turntable with one leg in the air, cupping her saggy tits with one hand and fingering her gaping vulva with the other. When I left, some poor, unfortunate African guy was mopping up jizz  from the floor in one of the other booths.  Back out in the street some buxom Bulgarian babe with a blonde bouffant and big tattoos grabbed my attention. Twenty minutes later I had a smile on my face and a fifty euro hole in my wallet.

I checked into the hotel. It cost around thirty euros a night for a single room with shared bathroom facilities. It wasn't exactly luxurious but the room was clean and it suited my needs.

To the left of the hotel there's a small Chinatown district of Asian restaurants and grocers. The diamond district is in the opposite direction. Apparently eighty per cent of all diamonds pass through this area. The annual trade is worth around sixteen billion dollars and polished diamonds make up around ten per cent of Belgium's exports. The stats are more interesting than the area itself though. It's just a few ugly office buildings with dozens of gaudy jewellery shops.

The old town area is very pretty. It's a labyrinth of cobbled pedestrianised streets with old buildings and churches and plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants with tables and chairs outside. The weather was lovely and I had a relaxing time sitting in the sun sipping a coffee or a beer.

Plenty of middle aged Belgian fellahs are packing pretty impressive beer bellies and that's hardly a surprise with the quality of ale on offer. Belgian beer is often regarded as the best in the world and I sampled plenty of it. I particularly like the fruit beers, cherry and raspberry. I also tried another Trappist beer that weighed in at a hefty eleven percent ABV but tasted of herbs and caramel. Price wise the beer wasn't too expensive, about the same as any large city in the UK. The food was hit or miss and was pretty dear. The average meal in a pub was around fifteen euros.

Antwerp is a well known fashion destination and has produced several designers, such as Dries Van Noten and Raf Simons. There's a fashion museum but it was closed for refurbishment. The immediate area around it is rammed with high end boutiques and vintage clothes shops along with a few stores selling arty farty shit like Taschen books and Lomography cameras. Needless to say there's plenty of poseurs strutting and pouting their way around. Some of these jokers looked like they'd just stepped out of  Vogue magazine.

I was quite lucky that my visit coincided with Liberation Day. Antwerp was liberated by Allied troops in September 'forty four and they have a street party every year to celebrate. There was plenty of forties style swing music, a parade of old Jeeps and a few marching military bands. It was all good fun.

After a few beers I popped into the Cafe D'Anvers nightclub. This is a proper dance venue. The DJ for the evening was Andrea Oliva. I'd never heard of this guy before but he's the big cheese of the Swiss techno scene and often performs in Ibiza. The club was chocka with quality fanny but I'm in my late thirties, my hair is receding and my waist is expanding. I just don't represent the erotic dream of some big titted, decadent Eurotrash bitch.

Before flying home I decided to take a stroll around Charleroi  but I was not impressed. It's run down and dirty with ugly tower blocks and populated by knuckle dragging mouth breathing buffoons. It's like a francophone Falkirk. After a few beers and a pizza I headed to the airport. Charleroi is beaucoup bad shit and I was glad to get back to Blighty.

I'd strongly recommend Antwerp for a weekend away. It's hip, happening and interesting and the beer just goes down so well.
Forest

Top reporting TA, but it could do with some pictures of Antwerp or failing that a photo of the buxom bulgarian babe.
carp

Thanks TA. Sounds like a long weekend potential for Mrs C and I. Good heads up.
toxic avenger

Forest wrote:
Top reporting TA, but it could do with some pictures of Antwerp or failing that a photo of the buxom bulgarian babe.


Sadly I have no pictures of the Bulgarian Brass. Pulling a camera out in a red light district is just asking for trouble.

I have a few pictures from around the town though.

Here's the opulent interior of the railway station.





The old town area is very pretty. There are churches and religious imagery galore.





Even some of the pubs have a religious theme. This one is called Het Elfde Gebod, which is Dutch for The Eleventh Commandment.



Some of the beers are pretty good.



There are a few basketball courts hidden down little sidestreets.



The Liberation Day Parade was a great photo opportunity.





The nightlife is up there with the best. The chick in the background of this pic is Maayan Nidam, who often DJs at such clubs as Watergate in Berlin and Pascha in Ibiza.



Plenty of sexy ladies strutting their stuff on the dancefloor.

Dalek

I remeber that the clock in the platform facade at Antwerp station was impressive - did you take a picture of that?
toxic avenger

I didn't take one myself, but here's a pic from google.

Sir Bulldog Craggwood

I shall be visiting Antwerp now and shall use this write up as a guide  
Dock

Cheers for the report TA. Great pics. Thanks for taking the time to post.
Grind

Looks and sounds quite pleasant - not somewhere I'd even thought of dropping in on before.

I might now, if only to try that weird strawberry (?) beer.
sheeps

Sir Bulldog Craggwood wrote:
I shall be visiting Antwerp now and shall use this write up as a guide  


You would  

Cheers TA, did she take it in the skull?
Late Doors

Top top reporting TA. loved it, just what is that bloke behind the bird in the marching band doing with his trumpet. Where exactly is he trying to put it, by the look of her face and the lasses next to him i dont think it is back in its case

I can imaginge the trannies getting a lot of trade from the fruity beer drinking fraternity. If they are anything like the ones over here anyway.

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