About Me

I have done a lot of things in my life and have also worked in many different jobs to make a living and to experience life. This blog is just some of my musings, sometimes funny, sometimes inspirational, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes simple but all the time, it's just me.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A weekend in Antwerp

Went to Antwerp, the 1st of 5 cities I plan to visit around Europe.

Antwerp is in Northern Belgium and just about 2.5 hours away from The Hague. A train ride, a bus ride (because there were some ongoing repairs on the tracks) and a train ride again and I was there late morning on Saturday.

I thought Amsterdam station was huge but Antwerp station was 4 levels deep and had more than 25 platforms.

Walked from the central station to the hotel which I was living in. It is an old monastery, so it was beautiful to say the least and had a very interesting garden with very interesting statues like below.

The room I booked was small and I felt like a Gregorian Monk on a silent vow when I was in the room. But it served the purpose and it was really clean and nice with all the amenities. Furthermore, the "monastery" was smack in the centre of Antwerp with everything within a walking distance.

Among things in walking distance was Peter Paul Rubens house. Rubens is a famous Flemish artist and he sure lived in a beautiful house.

Pictures below are from the garden and outside as we are not allowed to take pictures inside.

Outside the Rubens house, there were a few statues amongst which this caught my eye. Mainly because it is actually smiling. How many statues have you seen clearly smiling?

In the evening, I went to the square which is all around this huge cathedral which is called Onze Lieve Vrouw van Antwerpen. It is a 16th century building and basically translates in English as Our Lady of Antwerp Cathedral.

The Belgians are big fans of comics and Belgium is known to have many many comic bookshops of which I went to one yesterday. I nearly bought some Tin Tin merchandise until I saw the price, and quietly put it back down.

On my walk in the evening, I came across this street and thought hmmmm, Superman Street, only in Belgium. By the way, it is a graffiti on Suderman street. After this, I actually had some hot chocolate with chili powder, very interesting flavor.

Why do I put up this Cathedral again? Well, I went for Sunday Mass at the church this morning. Very nice choir and simple service. They actually had written translation of the readings and therefore it was easy to follow although the readings and prayers and songs were all in Flemish.

And walking around the square, I meet my good friends the horsies which I cannot resist but to take a picture. I just like to take pictures with animals.

Was not feeling to great yesterday evening, so did not have a Belgian beer. So, today, made sure I had one. Babar Bok beer with 2.5% honey and 8% alcohol. Initially did not like it but it sort of grew on me. I also bought some beer from a shop.

The place where I had the beer had very interesting statues all around the restaurant but the service at the places here are not very good.

After my beer, decided to do what also seems to be very popular here, eating fries. So bought some fries and a vege burger and ate them with some samurai sauce which is their spicy sauce and it was quite spicy.

After this, went back to the hotel, checked out and packed my bags with all the beer purchased. Decided to take the 3pm train which I managed to catch. And arrived back in Rijswijk just before 6pm.

So, a weekend this time outside of The Netherlands, the first amongst many.

Take care and be well.


Ser said...

You said the service at the place you had beer was not good - are the Belgians generally unfriendly or just cold. I thought Belgians are quite decent people. Well, at least in Brussels (during our last trip in 2002)?

Did you buy Monsieur Ton Ton key chain? (To replace the one you had lost in The Nile last year?)

Nil said...

The service industry in Europe is down the drain. The metallity is that you should be thanking them that they are serving you. I could not find a Monsieur Tin Tin key chain but not giving up yet, we still have a trip to Brugge.

Ser said...

IDIOTS then (refering to the service industry in particular food industry, restaurants etc.)