diamond geezer

 Thursday, June 29, 2017

I took a day trip to Belgium yesterday.

Thanks for all your suggestions! But which station did I go to?

One popular choice from your 100+ comments was the Kusttram.
» I've always been fascinated by the Coastal Tram - obviously if you go then I won't have to. [Dan]
...but there were hints it might not be totally scenic throughout...
» I also like the idea of the coastal tram, although be aware that some stretches of De Kust feel like the Belgians built apartment buildings all the way along the coast between the tram and the beach. [Peter]
Waterloo, the 202-year old battlefield, piqued my interest....
» The new(ish) Waterloo battlefield visitor centre is definitely worth a visit, but it is a bit distant from Waterloo station - you may need a bus connection. [Jon]
...and I wasn't really planning on a multi-modal safari...
» There isn't a huge amount to see at Waterloo and the battlefield is a fair trek from the station. [whiff]
A much more appropriate anniversary would have been Ypres...
» I'd go to Ypres. It's 100 years this year since the 3rd WWI battle there, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele. [Ian]
...but it proved too hard to fit a decent tour into a day trip...
» For a rather different experience, there is Ieper (Ypres), especially if you have the means to get to some of the memorials outside the town. [timbo]
Jimmy and Joff each had the same idea...
» I think you'll seek out the least visited station and go there. [Jimmy]
» Is Belgium's least-used railway station within one hop of Brussels? [Joff]
...but I was not entranced at the thought of spending my day in Hourpes.

Bruges was really popular, I suspect because a lot of you have been there...
» Go to Bruges a beautiful mediaeval city, and travel on the canals. Eat lots of chocolates!! [Sara]
...but you offered mixed messages...
» I would say Bruges but I don't think one day would be enough to do it justice [Tim]
» Bruges, without a doubt. It's stunningly pretty and small enough to be seen well in a day. [pkoconnor]
...and Chz sealed it.
» If you've *never* been to Bruges, it sort of has to be done. There's a reason it's crammed with tourists. [Chz]
I have actually been to Bruges, as a stop off on a school trip on the way back from Germany in 1980, so that became a 'no'.

Eventually I narrowed my choice down to these two great cities....
» Antwerp is very cool with a great mix of Dutch / Belgian culture, some super interesting architecture (old and new), an insanely huge port, a massive river, the train station is quite something and hey, there's a huge zoo next door. [Kevin]
» Ghent is often overlooked but it is also really very pretty, full of very old buildings - Grass Quay in particular is lovely. No cars are allowed in the city centre so it's a really nice town to walk around. [Kevin]
I eventually decided in favour of Antwerp...
» Antwerp every time, fantastic city. [Burntweenie]
...plus it's massively into diamonds, which fits perfectly with the name of the blog...
» Nice Flemish architecture, newly renovated railway station, new port museum. Also you are the diamond geezer - you can pick up some serious bling! [kissenme]
... plus who could resist this?
» In Antwerp there's the wooden escalator under the river. [ap]
But at the last minute I changed my mind and went to Ghent, because more of you recommended it.
» Ghent. It's a bigger city than Bruges, and more of a living city and less of an open-air museum. There are a lot of attractive old buildings, but also more other things to do. [Mike]
...and that's where I went yesterday with my Any Belgian Station ticket.

Thanks everyone! And next time I buy one, I have so many great suggestions to follow up.


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