Thursday, 8 June 2017

Thursday 8 May: Antwerp

Where’s Bertie? His wheels haven't turned. He's still at the paid-Aire on the S side of Antwerp (€10 per night).

It was Mick who chose Antwerp as a stopping point on our journey north, from a number of options I gave him. "I've never been to Antwerp" he said, "Let's go there."

It was 11 before we got ourselves together to head out the door this morning and forty minutes and two tram rides later we reached the main square in the city (we could have walked the whole way in 50 minutes, but sightseeing can be a tiring business so we went for the lazy option). Ten minutes later as we rounded a corner towards the main entrance to the cathedral, Mick exclaimed "I've been here before!". Unsurprisingly, having forgotten, until that point, that he'd even visited the city before, he didn't remember much of it.

No museums or churches were toured today. It was just a day of ambling around ... and eating.

The most striking of the squares we visited

Good fountain!

There is a group of people on the right of this shot wielding golf clubs, little mats and rubber balls. Their objective was to hit their ball into the fountain. Not sure why. Perhaps it's the theme of their tour of Europe?

Quote of the day

Chips and seaweed for me, chips and beef stew for Mick, at a lunch spot chosen because of how busy it was (that many people can't be wrong)

A snap showing many aspects of the city, from the cathedral (highest cathedral tower in the Benelux countries, you know), to ongoing construction, to industry and graffiti.

The oldest building in Antwerp, with a bronze statue of two little men staring intently at the nether regions of a big man.

Not a church, as I had assumed on our approach, but the first guild hall to have been built in the city, by the Guild of Butchers. It's now a museum.

More food! As we're in Belgium it seemed only right to have a waffle. We had them adorned with ice cream. Mine defeated me.

Back at Bertie a couple of hours of considering maps and reference materials led to a vague plan as to where we're heading next, but in the meantime we decided to stay here another night.

"Here" incidentally is a parking area for the Antwerp Expo (Exhibition Centre), although it looks more like a grassy campsite than a car park. It is, apparently, run by volunteers, but with a threat of closure hanging over it as plans are afoot to re-purpose the land. We didn't realise until this evening that it is still used as a car park too. At about 1930 cars started being directed to park opposite us and we soon noted two things about them: 1) they are all prestige brands; 2) with two exceptions, they are all black. I do hope that if their owners are late back, then they leave quietly (we spend a lot of our lives sleeping in car parks and laybys and I fully accept, in those locations, that people are free to come and go, and to make noise right next to us, at whatever time they choose. I don't, however, expect the same when we've paid good money for the privilege of parking in a designated motorhome parking area.)

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