The train system in Belgium is fantastic. This day trip to Antwerp from Ghent gave us a chance to experience it without having to drag luggage along. That's certainly my preference as it's always much easier stumbling blindly around an unknown train station without dragging heavy bags along.
We had booked a walking tour of Antwerp which started at Christmas Square, so our first destination after leaving the train station in Antwerp was the square. On the way there we ran into one of the scallop shells which mark the Camino de Santiago.
We knew the Camino de Santiago trail system was large, but we didn't realize it extended all the way to Antwerp or that pilgrims could, theoretically, pick up the trail in Antwerp and follow it all the way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, roughly 1,770 km (1,100 miles) away. That would be a fun walk, though even if you walked 8 hours per day it would take roughly 50 days to reach your destination. Hmmm… might be fun!
We reached Christmas Square with plenty of time to spare. It was nice having some extra time to explore on our own and take some photos in the area. In the middle of the square is this statue of Silvius Brabo.
On our walking tour we were introduced to one of the "hidden secrets" of Antwerp, the Moeder Gods, or statues of the Virgin Mary, scattered throughout the city.
One of the stops on the walking tour was a view of the inside of the Saint Charles Borromeo Church. The church was built in the 1600's.
Our walking tour took us all the way back to where we had arrived in Antwerp, the Antwerp Central Train Station.
On the previous day in Ghent we had been on a walking tour. The tour guide had recommended a great restaurant which also happened to be vegetarian. As I'm sure some clueless Americans will be glad to know, there are vegetarian beers, such as the one below. Not only that, they're very good! They might though disapprove of the one below which is a tripel that was first created on the same day as Albert Hofmann, a Swiss physician, took the first LSD trip. Full of joy, Albert rode his bike home and the day became known as "Bicycle Day." The label below celebrates both Dr. Hofman and Bicycle Day.