Today I got my lazy butt out of bed, took some vitamins and set of to Antwerp.
The welcoming view is this at the central train station! Magnificent!!
Basically Antwerp is what Brussels ought to be if Brussels wasn't being all serious being the 'capital of Europe'.
Antwerp is sexy (well, besides it's name, and what do you call the folks that live here? Antwerpians?) Antwerp is beautiful architecture, pedestrian walks, shopping, diamonds, churches, food, shopping, diamonds, churches and shopping. 🙂
I should have David here with me. There were lots of sparkly things, enough to make a grown woman giggle with delight. (yes me, swooning, oohing, aahing) But I did not buy a single sparkly thing! (David can now relax).
I did walk along what appears to be the Belgian Rodeo Drive. A lot of familiar shops, and some new ones too. I have to admit I did buy a few items, but they were on sale!!
Lots of restaurants. I stopped for lunch at 'The Bistro'. You know how some restaurants ensure their waitresses look a certain way? Well this restaurant must have a hiring agent that also books male models! Every guy in there (and there were only men waiters) was cute (and way way to young for me). The food was good too! I think I am getting used to my one Belgian coffee per day. There was a Starbucks at the station, but I had no urge (2 days back in Canada, I will be in their power again).
I went on a little tram tour, and met these lovely 5 older ladies. They were babbling away in their language and pointedly ignoring me. But when one of them accidentally made eye contact with me (my leg brace does that to people) I smiled and asked where they were from. Turns out they are Dutch and when I told them I am Canadian, well, they chatted with me thru the whole tour! So I didn't hear much of the descriptions! But it was okay.
I decided to check out the church. It's a little over the top! Has several Rubens (the painter, not the sandwich) that were done for this church specifically. He paints HUGE! It is a beautiful edifice. With gorgeous stained glass and alters and statues.
While in the church I took a seat just to let it soak in. Now, no offense to anyone reading this, but I am not a religious person, however there is a calm in churches that I do appreciate. (enough about religion)
When I came out the clouds had rolled in and it was starting to rain, so I ducked into a cafe and sat by the window. It poured, it hailed, so I had a beer (I like Trappist beer) and it still rained so I had a waffle with my beer (suggested by the waiter, why not?). The waffles are crispy and light. No butter, no syrup, just a liberal dusting of powdered sugar. The clouds left, and the sun came out. Picture is from my seat in the cafe.
Antwerp has multiple working fountains! I saw 3.
This is the most famous. Legend has it that the name of the city came from a story about a soldier cutting off the hand of the ruling evil giant and throwing the hand in the river. There are words in Dutch that fit this a bit. Anyways this is the statue commemorating the event. Kinda weird with a severed hand spouting water. But it is a fountain and it has water running through it, so full points.
I took a lot of pictures because Antwerp is pretty. Not in the full out medieval Brugge way, but in a more cosmopolitan way.
I caught the train back to Brussels and now I have to pack and get ready for country #4 – France!.
Okay confession time. I had to wait a bit for the train so I had my last waffle….covered in melted chocolate, yum!! You can buy these things at stands everywhere and it was my first one!