Once you’re back from Belgium’s famous comic book trail, rejuvenate yourself with some spring-therapy. By Anita Rao Kashi
Visit Gravensteen, the medieval 12th-century stone castle in Ghent, which stands on the Lieve River. The castle, with a large moat and formidable dungeons, is Gothic in style and has a tumultuous history—it was a prison for a significant amount of time. Torture chambers and instruments are still on display, making for a rather memorable visit.
Try the mussels at Kombuis in Ostend, Brussels and frites or French fries from little stalls in the Grand Place/Grote Markt area; waffles are available everywhere in Belgium, but the best are at Max in Ghent, where they are served with fresh strawberries and whipped cream; and in Bruges, taste the piquant cuberdon, a nose-shaped chewy candy. However, for the most unusual experience, head to Chocolate Line, a unique chocolate store in Bruges, to sniff chocolate powder for an unusual high.
The comic book trail in Brussels is a huge hit, with the city’s walls sporting over 50 gigantic strips from popular comic books created by Belgian artists. The trail towers three to four storeys high, and the highlight is, of course, Tintin created by Herge; there are references everywhere, including a massive mural near the station. Not just for comic junkies, this is a fun and interesting way to explore Brussels.
The term ‘spa’ originated in Belgium from the eponymous town in the Ardennes, which is also the location of Les Thermes de Spa, a throwback to the discovery of the mineral springs in the 12th century. Stylish and classy, the spa is located at a vantage point, overlooking lush greenery. It offers modern wellness treatments as well as ancient hydrotherapy, peat baths, balneotherapy and water games, and emphasises on drinking water from the springs.
Guesthouse Bonifacius in Bruges overlooks a canal and is located in such a manner that everything is accessible on foot. It dates back to the 16th century, evident in the thick stone walls. Although it calls itself a B&B, it is luxurious and done up tastefully. The rooms are all different, with beautiful linen fabric and exquisite antiques and art objects.