Belgium (pt 2)

My last post on the Antwerp trip took you through Sunday evening and the end of museum adventures. Onward to Monday!

Monday was a nice, relaxing day. We spent the morning just hanging out in the apartment, then left around 11 to go to Darcy’s school. She didn’t have class, but she had to meet with a professor, so I went with her on the bus and just read a book while waiting for her. Afterwards, we went to the Quetzal Chocolate Bar for lunch.

Oh, how right you are.

Oh, how right you are.

There were tons of options, and it was very difficult to choose, but I ended up ordering a Brownie Supreme (a brownie with whipped cream, melted chocolate, and ice cream) and a mocha milkshake. Darcy ordered an equally-delicious-looking chocolate and fruit fondue.

This would look delicious if I liked fruit...

At least, this would look delicious if I liked fruit…

So, so decadent

So, so decadent

After walking around the city a little bit more, we took the bus back towards her apartment, stopping at the post office so that I could mail a postcard home. In between the post office and the apartment was a nice park with a pretty great playground — so, like mature adults, we stopped and played for awhile.

Swings are still my favorite part of playgrounds!

Swings are still my favorite part of playgrounds!

I am way too tall for this.

I am way too tall for this.

Me and Darcy

Me and Darcy

We also walked through the park itself for a little while. It’s a very pretty one, with a pond and ducks and lots of wide-open spaces. I imagine it would be a really great place to read or play Frisbee, especially once it’s a little bit warmer. Monday evening, we went out to get fries to go with dinner; apparently they’re just as important a Belgian food as waffles! And boy, were they delicious. Thicker and heartier than French fries in the US, and less salty, too.

Fortunately, this was shared between 4 people.

Fortunately, this was shared between 4 people.

After dinner, I said goodbye to Darcy and her family and made my way back into the central city. It was lovely to stay there, but since she had school on Tuesday, I’d booked one night at a Hosteling International hostel. It was a comfortable hostel, and nice enough, although there was no soap in the bathrooms (even the ones next to the cafeteria and not inside the rooms), which was a bit troubling. I sat in the lobby for a little while, emailing some friends, because that was the only place there was wi-fi. After a little bit of reading in my room, I went to bed.

The next morning, I partook of the free breakfast downstairs and then stripped my bed and checked out of the hostel a little after 9am. I made my way towards Central Station, stopping on the way at a little store to buy a pair of earrings. I like earrings as souvenirs because they’re something I enjoy, and they’re much more useful than magnets or keychains, plus they don’t take up much room or weight in my suitcase.

Aren't they neat?

Aren’t they neat?

My bus didn’t leave until 5:45pm, so I had a whole day to fill, and I’d already decided how: the zoo! Antwerp has a great zoo, located right next to Central Station. It was a little expensive to get in (19,80 euro including the guide), but it was worth it. I had a wonderful time, even if it was a little bit chilly. I took so many photos of the animals that I ran out of memory on my phone before I left and had to delete some duplicates to make room for the rest. Whoops!

There were plenty of ordinary zoo animals (elephants, giraffes, seals), but also a bunch that I’d never heard of (babirusa, anoa, takin). I put all of my photos in the Facebook album (the same one I linked to in the last post), even though they’re not really high-quality.

Can't resist adding one giraffe picture, though.

Can’t resist adding one giraffe picture, though.

When I left the zoo around 2pm, I went to an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet for lunch. I’d picked up a youth-oriented map of Antwerp at the hostel, and one of the suggested restaurants was this one. I thought it would be a good idea to eat at a buffet because that was the only meal I’d have before I got back to Paris after 11pm. Unfortunately, it was pretty disappointing — not much variety, and the naan bread was not very good. I suppose the excellent Indian buffet in Auburn has me spoiled! Still, it was a solid lunch. Afterwards, I wandered around the city for the next hour or so, window shopping and just admiring the scenery.

Around 4pm, I went into Central Station to purchase my last Belgian waffle. I ended up spending the next hour there because they had stations where you could charge your electronics by riding a stationary bike. I charged my iPod for the long bus ride home, which turned out to be a very good idea; the battery had run down almost completely. A little after 5, I made my way to the Eurolines bus station, checked in, and then waited for the 5:45 bus to show up. It arrived on time (hooray!), and except for a half-hour stop in Brussels in which everyone had to exit the bus, it was a pleasant enough ride home. I listened to music, looked out the window, and slept a bit, and the bus even arrived about 15 minutes early in Paris. One ride on the metro, another on the train, and I was back in my dorm around midnight.

Thus ends my excellent, fantastic, super-awesome, lots-of-fun Antwerp trip! I look forward to taking other trips on my other break and after classes end.

A plus!

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