I loved Antwerp, I am not sure whether this was because of the city or the people that I stayed with but regardless, originally planning on only one night, I ended up spending three nights there and loving every minute of it.
I arrived, tired as a dog… a dog that has been deprived of sleep for 3 days. Why do people say tired as a dog? It makes no sense.
After getting back from my ridiculous Hamburg journey, Wooten kindly let me stay at his on Saturday night, my bus was leaving at 9.30 the following morning arriving in Antwerp at 1.30pm.
Lousie (my friend I met in Lille who I was staying with) was coming back from a trip too and wasn’t getting home unitl 9pm that night, thinking it would be weird to beat down her parents door before she had even arrived I spent my first day in Antwerp wandering around finding good places to sit, read, eat and drink… this seems to be the theme of my Europe trip.
I found an awesome sandwich shop called Maison Tartine, sat there like a real loser with my giant pack as my friend but thoroughly enjoyed myself. I spent most of the day in a park studying the map and noting down things I wanted to see and do.
Antwerp has an awesome central square… thing… and the afternoon was beautiful and incredibly sunny so all the terrace bars around the square were packed. Of course, I just had to join them, sitting up with my beer at about 7.30 Catherine (Louise’s mum) messaged me on facebook to tell me that Louise didn’t have wifi and her plane had been delayed and said I was welcome any time.
So. Off I went to be extremely intrusive on these poor strangers. Well… I could not have asked for better hosts. They welcomed me in with open arms and explained that Louise’s plane wasn’t getting in until tomorrow but I was welcome to stay regardless.
The following day I had hours to kill until Louise got back so I set off to Ghent, renowned as a beautiful city to visit. I think it deserves its own post so I will chat about it later.
Finally! Louise has arrived. We had dinner with her parents and an old colleague of Catherine’s then set out in search of ice-cream and night time sightseeing.
Antwerp is a cool city, its small enough to walk around but big enough to boast some impressive architecture and attractions. We went to the other side of the river and checked out the distant view of the city that it gave you. There is also a random castle plonked right on the bank.
Fun fact: according to Louise, there are tonnes of statues of Mary holding baby jesus on buildings because the church did a promotion where putting a statue of Mary would get you a free lamp on your building…
On our last night we went to a mini-circus. It was great, heaps of slapstick. Apparently this group puts on heaps of different arts shows. I am lucky because I would have not known about any of this stuff unless I was going around with a local.
Catherine also organised for me to give an English lesson to her French colleague which was very fun. Staying that extra night meant I had one night in Cologne before heading to my workaway in Fellerdilln in Germany where I would be working for a week at a horse riding place.
No idea what this work away is going to bring and I am a little bit nervous to be honest, as you do when you commit to something and don’t know how it is going to pan out.