We are planning to move outside of the big city with our little family, and those plans are getting more and more concrete now. It will not be very far from Antwerp, just to Lier, a smaller city just 25 km away from Antwerp and the place where I lived until I was 12. But it will be a big change still since I’ve lived in Antwerp from the moment that I moved out of my parents’ house…
With those things in mind I do look at this city quite differently, more with the eyes of a tourist, noticing things that I never noticed before. I know most of my readers are from all over the world, so I thought they might enjoy some ‘local flavor’ from Antwerp for a change.
Let’s start with Mother Mary. Belgium is historically a very Catholic country, with a lot of catholic churches and building, and also small Mary-statues everywhere in older places. I had never noticed this one before, on a corner of the eiermarkt on a house that is recently restored and turned into a shop for cameras and photograpic equipment and so. It actually does look quite good now they’ve got it cleaned up, not?
The picture was taken from a place with also a good view on the tower of the cathedral of our lady. (Yes, Belgian Catholics like Mary a lot) which is more than 100 m high:
There are more interesting churches in the old center, like this one called ‘Carolus Boromeus’ a few streets further on the Conscienceplein:
But Antwerp is not just a city of old churches. This here is the famous café ‘de muze’ (the muse) where good live-jazz can be heard if you go there on the right time. It also has some fine Belgian beers. In the sixties it used to be quite an infamous a rough place where the weirdest of hippies came together to do their weird and possibly illegal hippie things, but nowadays it’s completely harmless and family-friendly. May ’68 is a long time ago…
We do have other gods too here on the old continent. Somewhere in this ‘skyline under construction’ you will find a statue of Neptunus, the god of the sea, for example:
And what would a city be without shopping streets. This is the beginning of the famous ‘Meir’, where cars are not allowed during the day, but bicycles are, and they seem to be present in large quantities today:
‘And this here is the ‘police tower’, which looks a bit like the upper parts of some subterranean alien spaceship to me:
Speaking of crime and aliens, this thing seems to say that the backstreet boys are touring an will be in the Benelux… The rest is for the graffitiologists among my readers…
And this is also for the grafittiologist, from the prison walls, in French:And then an impression from the pre-metro (underground tramline) station Groenplaats close to the cathedral. Gives you the safe big city feel, not?
Back to more interesting stuff for tourist: In this place in the middle you find something Belgium seems to be famous for among Americans and other tourists from faraway. I let you guess yourself what I’m talking about…
I wouldn’t go there for the coffee though, but get it directly from a good barrista (my friend Mangoo from Cuperus coffee made this one. I can recommend to drink your coffee there if you ever are in Antwerp! It’s in a street called Katelijnevest.)
And to finish a picture of how it looks from out of our window:
I will miss our apartment and the city in general when we finally move out later this summer, but it’s really time to move on
(We’ll continue next week with my explorations of the occult world, unless I get back at sexism or another topic hits me in the face. <— Man, that sentence is kinda creepy…)