Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Antwerp, Belgium

Fri Aug 7, 2009 10:56am EDT
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By Verna Gates

ANTWERP (Reuters Life!) - Got 48 hours to explore Antwerp, a Belgian city with a rich history, delicious food and an artistic heritage that makes it one of Europe's hidden delights.

The home of the 17th century artist Peter Paul Rubens, Antwerp is known for its diamonds, chocolates, museums and beer. It is perfect for a 48-hour visit.


9 a.m. - Enter the Oude Stad (Old City) where you will encounter a statue of a youth tossing a huge hand. Legend has it that a giant used to stop ships with his hand until he was slain by the young hero. The hand "ant" was thrown "werpen" into Europe's second largest harbor.

10:30 a.m. - Visit the 'Grote Markt' where Flanders Golden Age flaunts its glory with ornate gilded buildings and a town hall that reflects Gothic and Renaissance styles. The hall was once a center of power.

11:30 a.m. - Grab one of the city's famous beers. Connoisseurs look for logos with churches or stained glass on them. These are the Trappist beers made by local monks.

12 p.m. - Time for lunch. Taste a local dish of mussels and fries in the Rooden Hoed, a Belgium/French restaurant in the Old City. www.ROODENHOED.BE

1:30 p.m. - Stroll to the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of Our Lady), Antwerp's cathedral. Built in 1351, it stands more than 400 feet tall, dominating the skyline of the Old City.   Continued...

<p>A meerkat warms up under a heat lamp at the zoo of Antwerp January 14, 2009. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet</p>