Spending a Weekend in Antwerp

Hey, everyone! Apologies for my recent absence from blogging; work-life has been keeping me busy. But I simply couldn't resist sharing my incredible trip to Antwerp last month.

The main reason for my visit was to see my best friend Amanda, who recently moved to the heart of Antwerp. This trip not only allowed me to check off another country from my travel list but also gave me the opportunity to reunite with my dear bestie! The last time we saw each other was back in London around this same time last year, when I went to see her shortly before the end of her masters degree. You can read that post here!

I took the Thalys train from Paris to Antwerp on Friday, and of course with my horrible luck, my train was delayed almost two hours. But nothing could spoil my good mood! I got to Antwerp before midnight and Amanda welcomed me, taking me to her amazing apartment and preparing hotpot at home. 

It actually was the very first time I had ever met her boyfriend Alex in person, and this was such a strange but cool meeting. Strange because I feel like I knew him from all the video calls where he's been in the background or popped in to say hi, but in reality we had never actually met!

I was instantly very at home, and Amanda and I spent the night talking and catching up with each other before falling asleep, just like we always did when we had sleepovers in Japan.

We had a lovely, sunny day ahead of us on Saturday, and we spent pretty much the entire time talking and walking around the city center. Antwerp has a big diamond and shopping district, where there are plenty of independent boutiques selling handmade jewelry and small batch accessories. Though we didn't buy anything, it was fun just to window shop and take photos together.

I've said this in other posts before, but whenever Amanda and I meet we always take hundreds of photos together, and then lay down at the end of the day and sort through them, picking our favorites and quietly editing them. This trip was no different, we took so many photos together! This one below is one of my favorites.

We spent the second day visiting Ghent! We hopped on the train (which was also experiencing delays, looks like my bad luck followed me!) and got there around 2pm, where Alex picked us up in his car. We were very grateful, since it was getting pretty hot out. Ghent was a very pretty city to walk around in, we went near the water and wandered down different cobbled streets. 

It was here in Ghent where I finally had some Belgian french fries! We went to Fries Atelier, which was recommended by Alex, and they were pretty good! I'm not really a big fry person myself but I would definitely come back here again. However, I think the heat got to me a bit and I started to feel quite sick in the late afternoon, so after a few hours we decided to head back home. We ended up having a chill night at home and watching TV together. 

I decided to take a day off work so I could stay a little bit longer, and I'm so glad I did! Amanda and I had a delicious Turkish breakfast together at a nearby restaurant, and walked together to pick up souvenirs in the morning. 

We were talking a bit and said that it's a shame we don't live closer to each other so we could visit more often, but thinking back on it, we actually live relatively 'near' each other now. Before, I was in NY and she was in either China or Belgium, so now that I'm only a train ride away I feel so close. 

Though I don't think we will ever live in the same country again, just knowing that I'm only 2 hours away from my best friend makes me really happy and grateful! 

I hope you enjoyed my little photo spam, I'll make another post soon I promise! <3