Belgium – April 2018
Leaving booking a holiday until the last minute is not the way to go! Flights are ridiculously priced so paying for 4 tickets just becomes out of the question, unless you have an extremely high budget and are willing to spend heaps. A trip was needed to be had and it had to be one we could drive to. Suddenly, it dawned on me that it’s tulip season and I’ve always wanted to see them in Holland and we could drive there. And…done! Holiday planned.
Jon wanted to go a few days earlier then what I booked for Holland to spend some time in Ghent and Antwerp in Belgium. Totally fine with me, he organised that side of the holiday and I organised the other bit.
The drive over to Belgium and across the ferry was easy and didn’t take very long. I’d say we spent more time waiting in The terminal at the ferry (because we arrived a little too early) then we did driving on either side of the crossing. The children travel so well. They were well kitted out in the back of the car with snacks and iPads and books and activities to keep themselves entertained. I even managed to sleep for an hour and a half in the car whilst the children just got on with their own thing.
The children loved being on the ferry as it had a children’s section where they got to play and watch Minions (in silence) with loads of other children. They played with the other children and ran off all their energy which was great.
After unpacking in our Holiday Inn, we headed straight out to the city. We drove and had the scooters packed in the boot for when we got to the city. We tried to take a bus but we didn’t have cash on us so there was no way to pay for a ticket. The evening was spent walking through the city, eating Mc Donald’s on the river banks (something I don’t usually do with the children but I feel a once off isn’t a bad thing) and taking some photos at sunset. The children got to bed later than usual but they were fine to stay up and slept later the next morning.
The next day, we took a tram to get into the city. Caleb was desperate to ride a tram so we walked 15 minutes to the stop and then caught 2 trams to where we wanted to go. It was a long day, 10am – 6pm in the city, and a lot of walking. The little tots were amazing and coped so well. They scooted for the most part. When they got tired, we pulled them on the scooter and later in the day, I put Lil’s in the pouch for about an hour so she could catch her breath.
Ghent was a beautiful little city, great looking buildings, with impressive looking cathedrals and a river/canal that runs through it. We did a river cruise which I would say was a waste of time. You didn’t really see more then what you could have seen from the banks of the river. We ate Belgium chocolate, had ice creams, Belgium’s waffles and Jon drank coffee. Belgium chocolate is definitely a must try. Coming from someone who absolutely loves chocolate, I can guarantee you that this chocolate is good – the melt in your mouth kind!
We had great weather, it was hot, hot enough to wear t shirts and because it was so warm, there were people out everywhere and it was bustling. According to the locals, this was the first warm weekend they’ve had since Winter so everyone was out and about. This tended to make it quite festive which added to the atmosphere of the place.
Our third day was spent in Antwerp. After driving for half an hour, to get there and a tram ride, Jon realised he had left his camera battery at the hotel. All Camera shops were closed because it was Sunday so he spent the day carrying his heavy bag around without being able to take a single photograph. He wasn’t happy about it but he did well to not be grumpy all day.
Antwerp is definitely not nearly as nice as Ghent but it was good to see. There were massive markets in the centre with a lot of food stalls that were super expensive, as well as a free jumping castle for the kids to enjoy – which they didn’t hesitate to go on. Again, the children were on their scooters all day and were so easy going and did so well to keep up with us all day considering they are only 3 and 5 years old.
The city was walked flat by us exploring every part we possibly could. From grand train stations, to impressive old buildings, to the small Belgium buildings, to the new Fashionable buildings where you could go to the roof top and look over the city, to castles and lastly to a local bar area where they had a large playground area for the kids. It was supposed to have water features for the kids to play in which is why we made the mission up north to Bar Noord but upon arriving, we saw they weren’t on and that’s because it’s not Summer yet. Surely the guy who switches the switch for it could have foreseen the really warm weekend and put them on? The children were a little disappointed but were happy to see there was a playground for them to play in. There was a huge slide, that was about 4 times the size of Jon. Caleb climbed on ropes up to the top and went down a really fast slide. I couldn’t believe that he was brave enough to do it and he was by far the youngest child climbing it.
Jon spent the evening in Ghent shooting the sunsets (no he’s not here for work) whilst I showered the kids and put them to bed. Being in one room is always fun – my children are used to it by now. They even share a bed with no issues. But it means, I spend the evening in darkness but I get to read and blog and upload photos to Facebook so I don’t mind at all.
We had a great time in Belgium and my rule is you can always eat chocolate guilt free in Belgium (you can’t go over board because it is quite expensive). Next, we drive to Holland for a week. Fingers crossed the tulips will be out in full force whilst we are there.