Euro Trip 2010: Short Trip to Amsterdam

PauTravels in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

As part of my 2 week business trip to Belgium, I have planned to have myself go to its neighbor country of the Netherlands which used to be known as Holland.   My main target is to see is its capital city of Amsterdam.  Well going to Brussels, my KLM flight from Manila had me connecting through Schipol Airport in Amsterdam but was not able to actually see the city that time.  And so with my other colleagues, we have set a trip to the city.

Well the trip was just a short one since we just planned to drive to the city back and forth within the same day.   The drive to Amsterdam is about 3 hours from Brussels.  And so we left Brussels at around 8am on the 31st of October.  Our route took us to driving past through Antwerp at the north before reaching the Belgian border and through Utretch in the Netherlands.  Well, before heading to Amsterdam, we first made our way past the city to its north to the small town of Akersloot to visit my colleagues friend from there.

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Euro Trip 2010: 2 Weeks of Brussels

Two weeks in Brussels, Belgium

This year, I had one of the rarest opportunities to have myself set foot for the first time to Europe.   And this is for two weeks in Brussels in the western European country of Belgium.  Aside from being the political capital of Belgium, Brussels also stands as the capital of the influential European Union (EU).  It also serves as the center of the Dutch speaking region of Flanders which is the northern part of Belgium.

And so for two weeks, I was booked at the B-Aparthotels in Square Ambiorix.  Square Ambiorix is a oval shaped park named after one of Belgium’s heroes.  The square had different bronze statues and fountains which are unfortunately not on while I was there.  I’m not sure if it’s related to the climate.  Anyways on both ends of the square are two elongated parks, to the east has a playground while to the west is another open park.   The whole square is also surround by different residential buildings, mostly new buildings but traditional looking buildings line up the streets that ends at Ambiorix.

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Euro Trip 2010: In Bruges

Pau at Bruges' Grote Markt

After learning that I will be sent by my company to see Belgium, I set out to look for what could Belgium offer.  And one of the most recommended destination in the country is Bruges, northwest of BrusselsBruges or locally known as Brugge has been known to be a fairy tale type of town for being the most preserved medieval town in western Europe.Also during my research about the town, I had stumbled upon this movie that came out in 2008 entitled In Bruges that starred Colin Farrel.  The story mainly plotted around this old and charming town giving me a good picture of how it looked liked.  And I’d say I was pretty much pleased to have actually set foot into this town.

And so on the 24th of October on my second day in Belgium, together with 3 other friends I drove about an hour and a half to the north to Bruges.  We made our way there and parked beside the train station for the park and ride facility.  And so for 2.50 for parking, we got a free bus ticket for the four of us into the center of town.

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Euro Trip 2010: Road Trip to Antwerp

PauTravels to Antwerp Belgium

On my first day in Belgium, I had gone with the rest of my colleagues on a road trip around Brussels and we first traveled into the nearby city of Leuven.  And after that short visit as the rain started to fall down, we have thought of extending our road trip to Antwerp to the north of Brussels and near the border of Netherlands.

From Leuven, we took a long turn going east on E314 and connecting on E313 going northward into Antwerp. Going into Antwerp was quite a challenge as there were a lot of roads to pass through to actually get into the center.  Entering the city, we pass by its streets where its trams pass through. As we made our way into the city, I have noticed that it seemed that Antwerp residents are of different cultures, many of which are of middle eastern origin.

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Euro Trip 2010: Visiting Leuven

PauTravels in Leuven, Belgium

On my very first day in Belgium, I decided to tag along with the rest of my colleagues who had their own day planned and they’ve thought of seeing the next town, into the historic town of Leuven.  Leuven is about an 30 minutes drive east of Brussels.

Well going into Leuven by car from Brussels, we have mainly relied on using the GPS to get there.  All I remember is that we passed through the Ring Highway and connecting to E40 to the east to reach the town.

The town seems small and we just parked somewhere near the town center and the first thing that I have seen that struck me is a statue of what looked like a gnome.  I actually thought that he looked like Dobby of Harry Potter.  It was actually the statue of Paep Thoon who once lived in Leuven in the 15th century. And from where we parked, we simply walked a short way through a small market where stalls of fruits, flowers, waffles, ceramics, and other stuff.   

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My First Euro Trip: Belgium

PauTravels in Belgium

For a number of times, I almost had the chance to see Europe but this year it finally came true.  For two weeks, my current employer Besix sent me to our mother office in the city of Brussels in the Flemish side of Belgium in Western Europe.

First Euro Trip to Belgium

my passport and my KLM boarding pass for Brussels

First Euro Trip to Belgium

Almost quiet Brussels Airport upon our late night arrival

From Manila, I flew into town with a colleague via KLM Royal Dutch Airlines with a connecting flight through Schipol Amsterdam Airport in the Netherlands after a 14hour-long flight.   Around 9:30pm we arrived in Brussels and took a taxi to get us to our hotel at the B Apart Hotels in Ambiorix area.

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Where Have I Been?

Here I will be logging all the different places that I have been outside the Philippines.  I’ll be linking my other travel blogs to the places I’ll list below.

October 8 – November 9, 2003Hanoi, Vietnam

Through my work, I was sent by my company to Hanoi to provide technical support for our client situated in Thang Long Industrial Park just outside Hanoi.  I was here for 4 whole weeks.  I connected through Hong Kong to get to Hanoi.

November 1 – 2, 2003Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

With some Filipino friends, we visited this UNESCO World Heritage site which is east of Hanoi.  We took a cruise on a traditional Chinese junk.

May 25 – 27, 2004Singapore

With my brother and his then girlfriend (now wife), we took a packaged tour to Singapore via Singapore Airlines.  We were booked at Grand Central Hotel.

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