Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ansichtkaart from Antwerp

It was worth every drip of sweat when I decided to carry my camera on that beautiful summer day because I tend to regret not having any visual memories of my trips due to my laziness. I remember when I was a kid, all my relatives from overseas were so adamant on buying postcards from The Netherlands. However, I feel my own photographs depict my feelings of that day better than any prefabricated card could ever do. Also, the thing is with taking photographs is that, unlike most people who love to document their meals, I'm more of the history and architecture geek. Much to my sister's dismay, because she's the agonizing type who makes people wait before they can stab their steak.

But I digress. Our journey began at De Grote Markt square where the city hall is located, a truly impressive building with flags from various nations sticking out of its facade. Despite the size of the square, it's a very cosy and pleasant spot to sit back and relax. With 27˚ degrees Celsius burning at the back of my head, it was the perfect resting stop after a two hour drive.


      A visit to Antwerp wouldn't be complete if you don't visit the main shopping street Meir. From high street to budget, there's always something for someone. I personally loved the cosmetics shops because they carried a lot of high-end luxurious brands such as Tom Ford (no, I could not justify buying anything, alas). One store that caught my eye was Planet Parfum, it's a real fragrance heaven where you can marvel at gorgeous perfume bottles. I mean, everything is stalled in perfect displays (the thought of "misplacing" a giant display sample of Salvatore Ferragamo's Signorina did cross my mind for a split second. But that would mean I had to carry 2 liters of fake perfume with me for the entire day and that didn't sit well with me). Shopping in Meir is a real visual experience because there's loads of room for pedestrians and the interiors of the shops are huge!  Do remember to look up every now and then because the buildings are exquisitely detailed! Almost every corner is embellished with statues, elaborate tiles and gilded murals. What I loved about strolling through this street was the fact that you could barely notice the tourists (although you can pinpoint the typical nagging Dutch families just by sound). If anyone asks, go walk in Amsterdam for five hours and you'll find yourself suffocating from the tardy crowded tourists. 

The whole reason why I went to Antwerp in the first place was because my sister told me about this restaurant where they served unlimited spare ribs and baked potatoes. And thus we concluded our trip with a scrumptious dinner at Amadeus located near the river Schelde.
Afterwards, we took a long walk during sunset past the medieval borough called Het Steen. It felt like I was swept into a modern fairytale, which isn't at all surprising since there are several legends and folklore surrounding this majestic building. The docks of the river are located just a little bit further and provide a perfect spot for lovey-dovey couples or people who want to rest and enjoy the view of the riverbanks.

8 Hours isn't nearly enough to explore every nook and cranny of this place, but a well-prepared day trip could cover a lot of ground. If I could return to Antwerp again, I definitely would because there's still so much to see. This city is breathtaking and has so much to offer, whether you're a shopaholic, an artsy-fartsy nerd or a chic quaintrelle

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