On my final day in Belgium, I did not pack my bags, raid the grocery store for chocolate and pay a last visit to my 96-year-old grandma, like I usually do. I had squeezed all that into the previous day. No, this year, my final day was spent with my mom, going on a daytrip to Luik by train.
Luik might be better known as Liège, since it is located in Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium. The Germans of our country call it Lüttich. Yes, we have three official languages in this tiny country, none of which is English. This can cause some confusion with visitors, who have no idea that these three names actually are the same city.
The multiple rides to get to Liège –Guillemins railway station took 2.5 hours. The building itself, a vaulted glass and steel masterpiece created by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava (who also designed the new train station near the World Trade Center in New York City) was our first destination to gaze at.
After looking at the station from all possible angles, and ignoring the Salvador Dali exhibition, we set out on foot towards the little park of La Boverie, located on an island in the Meuse river. A brand new footbridge makes access to the park easier and more attractive. We were there to visit the fine arts museum with its exhibition “En plein air” (“Out in the open”). In cooperation with The Louvre in Paris, a plethora of masterworks is currently visible here, over the summer.
It was already past lunch time when we showed our tickets, but luckily, the museum café offered a few healthy options to fill our bellies. Afterwards, we strolled the temporary exhibition for a couple of hours, finishing up with the permanent collection of the museum. “Miss, you are not allowed to take photographs here,” a museum guard whispered, after I had snapped a few of the works. “Really? I thought it was OK without using a flash.” I present my nicest smile and my most immaculate French. “Nope. So next time, be a bit more discreet…” You gotta love the French attitude sometimes. 🙂
It was a beautiful day and soon, my shoes were traded for my flip-flops. My bag became heavier with each piece of clothing I took off. Mom and I decided to walk to the médiacité mall. Not to go shopping, but to check out its modern design. We were being on a cultural tour, and getting tired.
Next, it was time to enter the historic center of Liege and get some impressions of older buildings. Eating a renowned Liège waffle could not be skipped. So very tasty, but so bad for you! After a little bit of a rest, we kept wandering around, until we reached the stairway of Mount Bueren in the heart of old town.
While I would have loved to climb all 400 of the steps to enjoy a view over the city, my feet were shot and my head was hurting from the hot weather and exercise. I stared at them in apprehension and disappointment. We made the right decision to save them for another time. Instead, mom and I found some back alleys that looked intriguing, before making our way to the Liège-Palais train station and, eventually, back “home” for a last night in my childhood room.
Have you ever visited Liege, or other places in Belgium? Do you prefer walks in nature or in historic cities?