Sunday, 18 May 2014

Amazing Antwerp

Cathedral of Our Lady

After being bagpiped in Brussels, we did a quick hop by train to Antwerp.    Because this was my daughter's first visit to Antwerp I was determined that I wasn't going to be the annoying mother-with-camera and intrude on our precious time together by photo-bagging.  So although  Antwerp is worthy of a photo at every step, I only have a few glimpses to show you.

Vrijdagmarkt

We stayed in a self-catering apartment overlooking Vrijdagmarkt, or 'Friday market'.  Unfortunately we weren't there on a Friday, so missed the market, but the square was a microcosm of Antwerp life.  A mix of cafes, residential apartments and one of Antwerp's major museums, daily life went on under our windows.  Most striking of all, life cycled by under our windows - the square was criss-crossed by cyclists at all times of day.  Early morning workers, the husband on the baguette run for breakfast, children being taken to nursery on the back of bikes, business people with laptop cases strapped on the carrier, students pedaling dreamily towards lectures.

Plantin-Moretus Museum
The museum, Plantin-Moretus, is on the right in the shot above.  If you've heard of the Plantin typeface, it was named after the original printer Cristoffel Plantijn, whose home this was.  The printing presses are still there, set up ready to print 440 years later, together with some of the earliest printed books, ancient manuscripts, paintings by Rubens, and all the furnishings of daily 16th century life.  To make up for my lack of photos you can catch a glimpse in this video - although the ferociously elegant 'visitor' skips past the most fascinating manuscripts! 

Downstairs cafe

Below, one of my few words of Dutch, but an important one: 'winkels' means 'shops'.  This is Antwerp Central Station - a cathedral of rail travel from the turn of the last century at ground level, with two futuristic underground levels dating from 2007.


Antwerp station

More transport - a typical Belgian bike.

Typical Belgian bike

If you're lucky enough to visit Antwerp, do consider staying at Aplace apartments.  Decorated in quirky vintage style complete with vinyl records and a ferocious coffee machine which we failed to master despite looking up a tutorial on daughter's phone, our apartment was an absolute delight.  (Edited to say that the coffee machine failure was all ours - we are not a coffee machine family at all.  Our most technical piece of coffee apparatus is like the yellow 'Koffie-Automaat' in the shot below.)

Aplace living room

Aplace kitchen

Aplace dining area and view to square


Retro

Ferocious

More my style
I wanted to stay.  For a long time I've thought that if I wasn't British I'd like to be Norwegian or Canadian, but now I have to add Belgian to the list, or more particularly Antwerpish.  I think Dutch is going to have to be one of this autumn's evening classes.

8 comments:

  1. It looks like it was a fabulous place to visit! I love the cathedral and the apartment looks great.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I must admit that I am a tad jealous of this visit. It all looks just divine to me!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cool city! Thanks for sharing you pics.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love Antwerp too! Thanks for sharing your photos. They reminded me of a very nice trip there... 10 years ago! We stayed in a hotel across the station and I thought was beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a fun trip for you!!! That's on my list of places to go...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your pictures are wonderful! Mine were just taken rush rush....
    I have visited Antwerp a few times in the last months because I was driving my son who has a voluntary job there.
    I enjoy the opp to go.
    The apartment looks great . You did a lot of the "things to do".Plantin Moretus is interesting, is it not ?
    Volgende keer, afspraak in Antwerpen, we zullen dan Nederlands spreken op voorwaarde dat de afspraak plaatsvindt na de herfstcursus. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. That all looks perfect! You are very self-disciplined to lay aside the camera in order to enjoy the time with your daughter. I hope you get to go back again soon.

    ReplyDelete
  8. How cool! And I totally would have thought "winkels" meant stairs... from the placement of the arrows, and the stairs. I have always loved the word "winkle", as used by an elderly lady in the movie "Sense and Sensibility", in the phrase "You can't have a secret around here, we'll winkle it out of you!".

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails