"Pampered in Antwerp and a Bangelijke meeting :)" Top 5 Page for this destination Antwerp by Norali
Antwerp Travel Guide: 2,877 reviews and 7,099 photos
+++ I was there again for the Antwerp meeting on Nov. 2. And it happened that I was part of organization team of my very first giga-meeting. Find here the report of this meeting. I had fun meeting lots of people there. I am SLOWLY updating the page with what i saw there +++
Danielle and I were arranging a meeting in Antwerp weeks ago. After some attempts and cancellation (from my part), we eventually agreed on a day and it was on Friday June 27.
We had to meet at Antwerpen Centraal station at 13.06 pm. Discover hereafter why we had not met at this moment...
My day started quite strangely. I woke up with a headache. This is after celebrating Madagascar Independence day the evening and night before with too much champagne, sleeping at 2.00 am. In addition to that, I woke up with sun rays on my face, heating up my already hurting head. In fact, for the last three hours, I had been sleeping under the sun...
Up to now, it's OK. I slowly prepared myself to catch the train at 12.13 pm to arrive at Antwerpen Centraal station on due time. That was without allowing for an event in a Brussels metro station...
While I was waiting for a metro that would carry me to Brussels' Gare centrale station, I went upstairs to fetch some free newspaper. I had it and rushed downstairs to catch my metro. Just in front of me, I saw a guy, "busy" with a backpack. He was stealing a female tourist's backpack. This happens in every city, of course. But I was shocked since he was doing it pretty cool! The girl had noticed it before I warned her. The guy took the wallet, fled in front of us and the only thing I had to do is running after the guy, of course. Unfortunately, I could not catch him. I joined the girl, she was in a state of shock. She kept her passport but the wallet was stolen. Luckily enough, her embassy is not far from this metro station. I showed how to go there and deal with authority since she lost her ID card. All that made me miss my train. I was sad for the girl. Don't get me wrong, this happens in every urban area, not only Brussels.
The time spent on queueing up to buy a ticket at Gare centrale did not allow me to advise Danielle on my delay (I know, I would have to have a mobile one day :-). I bought my ticket and headed to the platform where I jumped in my train.
Met Danielle at the Antwerpen Centraal train station. First time we met. Hugs and kisses.
One who comes in Antwerp by train will not miss the magnificence of Antwerpen Centraal station. The use of marble makes you think of anything but a train station.
It was not the first time that I went in Antwerp. Though, this time, I wanted to have an overview of the city with a local who knows it well... an overview that I wanted as vast as possible. Rather than focusing on a particular monument, I chose the option of wandering through the city. So, we walked... for six hours or more... in the city of Rubens, the city of "Six" who are the first to epitomize Belgian fashion.
The (re-)discovery was even more exciting since I had not prepared my trip at all.
What I (re-)discover there is a bustling city, packed with pubs and shops... I knew about that... as well as with churches and other monuments of all kind, Madonna statues included. Important antiques area, a huge Fine arts Museum, fashion and jewelry design workshops. I will return there of course. At least, to focus on some monuments I discovered "from far". At least to sip some beverage at pubs' terraces... At least... at least...
What I appreciated most is finding preserved areas. Like this house that was built in XVI century in a bourgeois corner near the Bourla (French opera). Locals made tremendous efforts to preserve buildings dating back to Antwerp's golden era (XVI century). This led to the "façadisme" trend that involves keeping facades of those pieces of jewelry and completely reshuffling interior design, materials and configuration. You would see in my general tips about it...
Even those who live in more modest corners have concerns about keeping their place lively. I saw a little street with concrete pavement that had greenery in it. Along the street, pots of plant abound to create some kind of alley. Without that, it would have been a sad street since buildings there are not that beautiful.
Old buildings adjoin with modern architecture in Antwerp. Though I don't value concrete blocks at all, I spotted some nice glass-and-iron buildings. Details on buildings on waterfront remind of port activities on river Scheldt.
Dannie and I had fun taking pictures of pieces of art in a abandoned corner that locals want to preserve. The works are graffitti on walls that authorities wanted to demolish. See pictures in one of my T-Logs.
My tips are built with what I saw from our walk through the city. I will keep chronological order so as to enable you to spot the walk on a map. Of course, those tips will include anecdotes from here and there... Later, there will be focuses on some monuments or streets as, for sure, I will return there to see more.
I will not end my short tale without mentioning the warmth, hospitality and helpfulness of a good VT friend of mine, Danielle (irisbe), who lives in the neighbourhood.
Above all, she is the most precious guide I have ever met. You feel in her the love for this city. She lent me her camera as well since I don't have any (mine was stolen). All pictures in this Antwerp page are here thanks to her.
She let me have a view on local customs, especially during this particular day. I ended my trip in Antwerp with a tasteful barbecue at the back of Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Have a look at my off the beaten path tips to know how it came to happen.
Here is sweet Dannie spotted in above mentioned graffitti area. I had fun taking this picture. Mainly because, believe it, I hadn't noticed the two-girl-play, rather the one from left. I was going to take a picture of Dannie on a tyre. As I was adjusting the view, I spotted the two-girl-play. I realized how fun it was seeing Dannie posing this way within this scenery. Thinking of how kinky I am sometimes, I uttered something like "Oh My God!"'. Then I moved around to have this view of the four ladies. I really laughed while taking the picture, imagining that Dannie was starring some kind of film with the girls... Kinky me, of course. *LOL* .
She was worrying about sitting on a tyre but she hadn't noticed the scenery on the wall. I eventually explained her what I saw...
Hey, looking at it, it really seems like she is part of the crew... Even colours match!.
Thank you so much, Dannie. I had fun with you. Hmmm... How to reciprocate?
By the way, it was my first VT meeting, a small and lovely one...
- Pros:Hectic economy, epicurian life within amazing setting... all I fancy! Not to forget: Off beat tack & atmospheric St Anna pedestrian tunnel with its two steep flights of wooden escalator. Aah, that sound !
- Cons:Wait for 2005, when works end, to have a whole outside picture of Antwerpen-Centraal station
- In a nutshell:See more than the Meir and get yourself pampered with shops, pubs, nightlife, cultural events and a caring guide!
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