WONDERFUL PARK: STADSPARK!
Heeelloo ladies and gentleman!
Last ride of our tour!
We left you in Antwerp after our awakening, a great breakfast at Starbucks and a tour of this beautiful city! 😀
Before leaving we went to the Stadspark, a beautiful park located next to the central station that contains what remains of the Fort Herentals, an old fort of the 16th century.
What a sad life for medieval people. How did they live without bikes?! 😀
We’re joking. We are fascinated by the Middle Ages and by the remains from the past eras.
It’s like to get in touch with those who lived in the same place centuries before and imagining how they lived.
No, we’re not drunk. 😀
You know, visiting a town in autumn, especially its parks, is something magical.
Autumn lights and colours can be a panacea for your mood as it was for us.
This park is the only romantic park of the city and it is the favourite of people who are in search of relax or joggers, walkers, mothers with children, rollerbladers and duck-feeding elderly.
ROAD TO BRUSSELS!
It was time to pedal until Brussels now, 50kms were waiting for us! 🙂
Also this time the road was very simple, just follow the N1 from the city center of Antwerp to the center of Brussels.
Easy, isn’t it?
we really appreciated that important cities are easily reachable by bike, without many changes of direction and a lot of road signs.
This is definitely a good thing for those who don’t know how to orient themselves or just don’t wanna look at the navigator too many times.
Back to us, following the road N1 you will pass through some little town, including Mekelen, which is located halfway.
If you have time, we suggest you to eat something here and take a tour of the Saint Rumbold’s Chatedral and its tower.
This is the most significant church in the entire country. The tower is 97 meters high and it can be climbed, for a total of 514 stairs.
People like Louis XV, Napoléon Bonaparte and a few Belgian kings and queens have climbed its steps.
We ate only a sandwich ’cause our aim was to arrive in Brussels around 3 pm, get a look at the Atomium and reach our friend Alice who hosted and guided us around the city.
A good plan huh?!
WHY TO NOT BLOW A TIRE? 😀
Yeah, it could have been great, if Arthur had not decided to puncture the wheel! 😀
Not a normal puncture, but a real hole due to a piece of steel pointed to the asphalt road.Damn.
He had just finished exulting for the road sign “Brussels” , indicating that we were less than 8km from arrival, when it happened 😀
And think that Bruno had warned him to exult only on arrival: the worst but hilarious situation ever.
Sadly the bike shop didn’t give us a repair kit or any kind of assistance (we’ll speak about that in the next post in which we’ll summarise Belgium and its services,spreading some useful tips)
In the bad luck, the fortune was that the train station was only 4 km away, so Arthur reached the city center putting his bike on a train and Bruno continued by bike.
If someone had told Bruno that cycling in Brussels was that hard, he probably would have taken the train 😀
The last 6 km by bike were extremely Up and Down. Also Brussels has nice cycle paths, but they go Up & Down, insanely Up and down.
Maybe it was accentuated ’cause Bruno was really tired in the last part.
Brussels is a very functional city. You can bring your bike everywhere, by train or underground, even if with bags you will be a bit bulky.
Like a bull in a china shop!
In spite of everything, even that day we reached our destination! 😀
Finally at Alice’s home, finally here in Etterbeek, one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital region.
You know, we love unexcepted events, like doing 4 storeys of stairs carrying the bikes ’cause they don’t fit in the elevator.
We were a little bit tired because of the accident but after an hot shower we decided to go with Alice to the Parc du Cinquantenaire (JubelPark in Dutch and Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary in English) to meet her friends. Of course, we are in Belgium, Belgium has good beers so we stopped to buy some at the local 24h shop. It’s full of this kind of shops here!
The park is immense, a triumph of autumn colors and full of people walking and chilling.
The buildings that dominate the entrance were built from 1880 onwards by King Leopold II in occasion of the National Exhibiton to commemorate the 50 years of the Belgian Independence.
So this was our afternoon: some beers chilling on the green field and a football match with Alice’s friends! They were very kind to invite us to play! It was like being kids again, one of the best feeling in the world. We played with her friends and other people who added themselves by simply asking if they could play.
It’s crazy how people from different countries can communicate and empathize easily even by speaking different languages. Sports connect people!
Sport connects people but tries to break Bruno’s knee, but this is another story and Bruno is really a bad player. I swear!
After the match we were hungry so we went to eat in a very good restaurant named Brasserie La Terrace just outside the park. It had different dishes from typical cuisine to everyday food so if you ever decide to visit the park in the afternoon we really suggest you to stop here for dinner 🙂
One of the best things in the world is to talk about everything, and when I say everything I mean everything, in Italian being sure that noone can understand you and then discover that the people in the table next to you are from your country. Ahhh really cool!
Time to go back home on our drunky feet and sleep on our fabulous air mattress (it was really fabulous) but first let us take a
selfie another beer!
The next morning we woke up with a little sadness mixed with happiness. Sad for the end of our adventure and happy for the beautiful experience we had! After we said thanks and goodbye to our friend Alice we went back to the city center to enjoy our last day!
WHAT TO SEE IN BRUSSELS!
Brussels is the city that you don’t expect, it’s a city we think deserves to be included in what we define “tourism of the majors european capitals”. Unfortunately, many pe
ople decide to visit Brussels only when they finish their ideas about travelling in Europe and we think it is unfair. It is unfair because it has a lot to offer: only the Grand Place deserves the airline ticket.
The Grand Place is considered one of the most beautiful squares in Eur
ope and would you miss it? Would you miss the amazing Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art, the charming Fine Art museum with an amazing collection of flemish art paintings?! Would you miss simply the buildings of this city?
Another incredible spot is St. Michel and Gudule Cathedral. Really close to the city center, this building is a true melting pot of art. With its stained-glass windows, its ghotic towers and its fifteenth century facade it is one of the most impressive structures of Brussels.
One of the most visited sites of this city is the Heysel Park and the Atomium, the modern landmark of Brussels. This structure stands 102 metres tall and it represents a unit cell from an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Each sphere of the Atomium have a diameterof 18 mt and inside they host exhibitions and sometimes private parties. Moreover, it is possible to have dinner in the highest sphere in a beautiful restaurant and enjoy one of the best views of the city!
It was built in 1958 for the EXPO and as the Eiffel Tower was meant to be dismantled at the end of the exhibition.
BACK TO MILAN!
And here we are. After 5 days wandering through the beautiful cities of the Flandeers and its unforgettable countrysides we returned the bikes and did a last walk in the city center before going back to our everyday life.
We learned so much from this Belgian experience because we had the opportunity to get in touch with the locals and know their point of view.
Thanks to all the people who follow us and encouged us during this trip. We really hope that our little adventures make you want to take a flight and explore countries by bike like we do, to taste their real essence.
Now we are here, writing these lines with google maps and various airline companies websites open wondering which will be the next trip!
See ya! Keep pedaling!
PS: we didn’t have to pay for the flat tire. WE ARE SOOOOOOO HAPPY 😛