Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rick Steves' Snapshot Bruges & Brussels, Including Antwerp & Ghent by Rick Steves (2011)

I'm continuing my research for our summer trip to Belgium by dipping into some good old dependable Rick Steves with Rick Steves' Snapshot Bruges & Brussels, Including Antwerp & Ghent (2011).

This volume gives a brief overview of the culture and history of Belgium and then dips into a snapshot of each of the four major cities, including a suggested walking tour, a list of sights and neighborhoods, recommended hotels and restaurants, and general travel and transportation recommendations. Included with each city are Steves' patented hand-drawn maps, which I find really appealing. It's easy to make fun of Steves' PBS-approved travel guides, but I find his writing style to be very approachable, and his tips all seem very practical and reassuring (particularly to this first-time European traveler).

We'll be spending most of our time in Ghent, which is great because that's the city that appealed to me the most in this guide. It seems much less touristy than Bruges, more academic than Antwerp, and more cozy than Brussels. Also, it is the home of the Boekentoren (oddly not covered in Steves' guide -- come on man, people love books!).  This wonderful tower of books is currently under renovation, but you can experience its wonder (and get a taste of Ghent) through this series of videos. I imagine I will still get to see some kind of library / book / bookstore action while I'm over there. Oh plus museums and canals and beer and mussels and waffles. Getting nervous/excited/pumped! Five more months!

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