24OCT 2016 (Monday). BRUSSELS – ANTWERP – AMSTERDAM. (Day 22)

A wake up call at 6:30AM was made by 4 Points by Sheraton Hotel here in Brussels Belgium. Hotel 4 Points by Sheraton offers plenty of space and comfort. Amenities like high-speed internet, Lazy-Boy chair and flat screen TV will make you feel like home with tea and coffee-making facilities. Upgraded quarters add iPod docks. Room service is available. It is near the bus station. This modern brick hotel is 1.7 km from Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and both 2.5 km from Manneken Pis fountain and Grand Place.

Breakfast was free. There was also a casual restaurant and a bar, plus a fitness room and a rooftop garden. Parking was available and of course with fee. Shopping, sightseeing, restaurants & bars nearby. As a hotel guest, I really appreciated the friendly and professional staff.

This hotel has 128 rooms. All of the 128 rooms are double beds. The Hotel is open all year round; reception manned 24 hours a day. The earliest check-in was 15:00 (3PM) and the latest check-out was 12:00. Multilingual staff on hand 24 hours a day, English-speaking staff was also available during the day as well as at night. All 128 rooms are non-smoking rooms.

Hotel’s address is in Rue Paul Spaak 15, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium.

IMG_20161024_073859Breakfast was served by the Hotel 4 Points by Sheraton at 7:30AM. We checked out and at 8:20AM we departed this hotel and travelled to Antwerp, Belgium and it was still very dark. We were only 8 who availed of the 9-day extension to Paris, France, Belgium and Amsterdam (Holland or Netherlands) and riding on a big tour bus. We were 10 actually but the other 2 went to USA while we were still in Nice, France. The distance from Brussels from Antwerp is at 53.1 kilometers or more or less 1 hour of travel by bus. And from Antwerp to Amsterdam is 171.8 kilometers or more than two hours of travel by bus again.

Antwerp is a Flemish city in Belgium, the capital of Antwerp province in the state of Flanders. With a population of 510,610, it is the most populous city proper in Belgium. Its metropolitan area houses around 1,200,000 people, which is second behind Brussels.

Antwerp is on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the Westerschelde estuary. It is about 40 kilometers (25 mi) north from Brussels, and about 15 kilometers (9 mi) from the Dutch border. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking second in Europe and within the top 20 globally. Antwerp was also the place of the world’s oldest stock exchange building, originally built in 1531 and re-built in 1872; it has been derelict since 1997.

Antwerp has long been an important city in the Low Countries, both economically and culturally, especially before the Spanish Fury (1576) in the Dutch Revolt. The inhabitants of Antwerp are nicknamed Sinjoren, after the Spanish honorific señor or French seigneur, “lord”, referring to the Spanish noblemen who ruled the city in the 17th century. Today Antwerp is a major trade and cultural centre, and is the world’s second most multi-cultural city (after Amsterdam) home to 170 nationalities. It is also known as the “diamond capital” of the world for its large diamond district. The city hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics.

IMG_20161024_111405 Gothic Cathedral

Our Lady Cathedral in Antwerp, Belgium

We reached Antwerp at a parking lot near the port, one of the world’s largest ports waiting for guide. Our tour started at 10:15AM because, maybe of miscommunication, our tour guide came late whose name was Frans. We have had our walking or sightseeing tour towards the Our Lady Cathedral. We saw the railway station; walk through the old city starting at the Steen, the impressive 13th century castle that guarded the city and its port; saw guild houses at the Market Square; saw the River Scheldt; visited the MAS-museum, famous for its spectacular views of the harbor and the old city; and had our visit of the Our Lady Cathedral. The Mass was celebrated at The Our Lady Cathedral here in Antwerp. Fr. Estong was the presider of the Mass. After the Mass we ate our lunch near the Cathedral and went back to the bus. Then at 1:58PM we left Antwerp bound for Amsterdam City. We were reminded again of fastening the seatbelt because it’s a law in Europe.

While on our way to Amsterdam City, we stopped at a convenient store (Shell) for a 15-minute toilet break at 3:25PM (Holland’s time). But I paid 50 cents Euro for my toilet use. Then after the toilet break I bought chocolates on a bottle worth 8,99 Euro and orange juice worth 2,25 Euro. We left for Amsterdam City at around 3:42PM.

IMG_20161024_162646 we stated in this hotel here in Amsterdam CityAt 4:25PM we arrived here in Amsterdam City and checked in in a hotel called Mercure, the same hotel name we stayed in Paris, France. Our room number was 3031.

Dinner was at 6:30PM. After dinner, some of us went out from the hotel and visited the place called as Red district or De Wallen. De Wallen or De Walletjes is the largest and best known red-light district in Amsterdam. It consists of a network of alleys containing approximately three hundred one-room cabins rented by prostitutes who offer their sexual services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red lights. These “kamers” are the most visible and typical kind of red light district sex work in Amsterdam and are a large tourist attraction.

De Wallen, together with the prostitution areas Singelgebied and Ruysdaelkade, form the Rosse Buurt (red light areas) of Amsterdam. Of these De Wallen is the oldest and largest area.

The area also has a number of sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows, a sex museum, a cannabis museum, and a number of coffee shops that sell marijuana.

But I did not join them. At 1030PM, I and Fr. Estong went to the bar of the hotel and drank some beer. Since the bar would be closed at 12 midnight, so we just drank 3 bottles of beer only and then went to bed.

For more pictures, please see this link:  My Facebook

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