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Het Melkhuis, Antwerp

Organic breakfast at Het Melkhuis, Antwerp

I’m always on the lookout for affordable and comfortable places to sleep when I travel.  When I find something within budget that is also unique and memorable, it’s an unexpected bonus.  On a recent visit to Antwerp, I spent two nights at an eco-friendly bed and breakfast, housed in a former dairy in the heart of the city.

Translated from Dutch,  Het Melkhuis  means “the milking house”.  As late as 1982 the building housed a working dairy farm.  No cows remain, but a few hens nest in the backyard, supplying guests with fresh eggs for breakfast.  Upon greeting me, my host, Henrik invited me to have a seat at his table, where he offered me a drink, and asked about my stay and my interests.  Pulling out a city map and guidebook,  he outlined a cycling route around the city, covering all the top spots on my wish list.  In 2003 Henrik created the bed and breakfast by taking  a historic property, modernizing it with ecological design, and decorating it with finds from his own travels and simple mid-century furnishings.  There’s a lending library in the breakfast room, full of useful information for a first-time visitor, including books about the history of Antwerp.

For just 50 Euros per night I had a floor of the home to myself, with a quiet bedroom and private bathroom.  This included a delicious organic breakfast, served in a peaceful sunroom overlooking the backyard.  All this, plus free wi-fi, and use of a Dutch bike make it a perfect home away from home while visiting Antwerp.

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