Monday, December 03, 2012

ANTWERP, Belgium: Part 1

True to form, it's taking me two weeks to get all my Antwerp photos processed!  So, let's start at the very beginning....

Antwerp is only an hour's drive, 100 km, from our apartment here in the Netherlands.  To give even me some perspective, it took us an hour to get to the airport from where I used to live in Atlanta.  That's nothing!  But when you think about it being in another country from where we live now, it just seems farther away.  But it's not!

If you need to cover your eyes, do it now and skip this collage....
but if we can't take a joke, right!?!
This was the first corner where our cameras got busy as we walked towards city center!
Robin had already warned us about it when she was there recently.

 By now you know that the market square is the center of these wonderful European cities.
The town hall and the guild houses mark the perimeter of the square.
The huge Christmas tree was up, ready to be trimmed, probably the following week.

And see that statue (bottom left above)?

Yup.  That's the giant's hand being thrown into the Scheldt River. 
The giant, Druon Antigoon, severed the hand of anyone who wouldn't pay his tax to cross the river.
Eventually, he was slain by a young Roman soldier named Brabo, 
who cut off the giant's own hand and flung it into the river.

Thus the name of the city, Antwerpen = hand and werpen = hand throwing.

And with that history, we were ready for our koffie met appeltaart!

Energy for the Church of Our Lady, to be exact....
Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal, a Roman Catholic church.

One of those churches you see from almost everywhere in the city!

And then you go inside.  Very Roman Catholic!

In fact, more Roman Catholic you cannot get.

Besides, the country itself is a Roman Catholic country
(compared to the Netherlands, which is Dutch Reformed).
So, Madonna niches were everywhere as we walked around.

Everywhere means everywhere!
(Does it make up for the first collage???)

Don't you love how some things really catch your attention?
Umbrella in Dutch and French is parapluie.
See how it stands in the shadows of Our Lady!

 Robin had also told us about the Goossens bakery from 1884.
The site tells you to be prepared for a long line.  They're not kidding.
But it was totally worth it.
And how can you resist these penguins just waiting to be captured!

By then our appetite was fully whetted.
Astrid had been dreaming of mussels for as long as we were planning the trip!
She can have them!  And I enjoyed my pork medallions.
Lovely.  At De Kleine Post

We then took our time, as it started getting dark, to walk back to our car.
Lots of window shopping, getting ready for Christmas.

We got a good night's sleep at a nearby hotel and prepared for the next day.  To be continued....

28 comments:

  1. Antwerp is a fun city to be in. There is lots to see. The church is wonderful and I never get tired of seeing it, as well with the houses on the Market square. The bakery was the real stuff. People even waited outside the shop to get in. I do hope they don't change anything in the future.
    The mussels were good and so was your pork medallions. Reason to go back at least once a year. A wonderful post again. I love the collages with the 'hand werpen' statue.
    Another memory to keep.
    I cannot say it enough; thank you so much for all the time and love, you put into these posts.

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    1. And I cannot say "you're welcome" enough, MLMA. You're my biggest fan and this is all for us! :) How could we ever possibly remember everything without the pictures??!!

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  2. Another set of wonderful pictures and information.... so that's why Antwerp is called that!

    Looking forward to the next instalment :)

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    1. Thanks, Anne, and YES, that's why Antwerp is called that! :)

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  3. Oh these captures so make me yearn for a return trip to Antwerp! So happy that you got to the bakery. It certainly seemed one of a kind to me. Thank goodness the "boys" from the pub told me about it! Now that bakery is PURE LOCAL! So happy for you two that you're able to travel and see all that paradise has to offer! xoxo

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    1. You really did whet our appetite, Robin, paving the way for us. We thought of you everywhere we went, of course. :) Thanks.

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  4. Antwerp looks like a really interesting place to visit. I shall have to add it to my list :-)

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    1. What we should do one day, Cherry, is swap homes for a week. We stay in your place and you stay in ours! HA!

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  5. Ooooohhh my! I am laughing myself to tears over your first collage, simply awesome! The city looks beautiful and I look forward to seeing the next installment. {{hugs}}

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    1. If we can't take a joke, Linda, right??? :D What a way to start our photo hunt. HA! You would absolutely love Europe. Talk about a photo op for you. One day you'll come....

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    2. Yes my friend, one day WE will come and fun will be had by ALL! Love you (and Astrid too).

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  6. It's interesting to know the origin of the name of Antwerpen, Ginnie, it sounds a bit gruesome...

    I love the collages of Madonna niches. Together the statues look unbelievable. And the hand with the keys... it looks so symbolic! It's interesting to see so many faces of one city and I'm looking forward to the next part.

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    1. These stories behind the images are always so intriguing, Petra, aren't they. I love that the Antwerpen story is there in the midst of Market Square to let everyone remember!

      I started looking for the Madonna niches like I look for gable stones here in the Netherlands. It was like a treasure hunt. And every one was different. Similar but different.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting here again. It means a lot to me!

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    2. Ginnie, you're welcome. :) There are so many photos which are not that stunning themselves but when connected with others they make a stunning whole. That's what I really like about your collages telling the stories and what makes me think of us people.

      And when it comes to the Madonna statues, all of them are beautiful but this way I can see how similar and yet unique they are. Thank you for showing this.

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    3. I see what you mean, Petra...a way to compare and contrast. I don't think I had thought of it in quite that way before, so thank you for that comment! For me, I just like to see all the different styles as well as the different sides of the same stone, so to speak. :)

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  7. All the elements of a wonderful city like Antwerp are balanced in that warm and delicious food! :D I loved it all, and was amazed at the back story of the name!

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    1. I ALWAYS think of you, sister, whenever we eat on these photo hunts. :) And I always wish you could be with us, experiencing the whole thing. One day. One day!

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  8. Loved it all! even the first collage! and your reference to how long it takes to get anywhere in Atlanta! The churches are gorgeous, the windows so colorful, so neat how Astrid's jacket matched the penguins! The food looks lovely and I especially appreciate knowing how the city got it's name ~ thanks, Ginnie.

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    1. You're more than welcome, Susan. I do these accounts for Astrid and me, as you know by now, but if someone else can enjoy them, I'm delighted. :)

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  9. i envy your situation and location. you are so close to many different countries. you can visit the entire region so easily it seems. 100 km drive from where i am is still within the bay area region, not even outside of cali.

    saint nick is coming up again, right? hope you're going to blog about it. it's an annual tradition i look forward to.

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    1. I think the thing that still surprises me more than anything, Maria, is how CLOSE everything is to us. Paris is only a 5.5-hour drive away. And that's after driving all the way through Belgium!!! An hour's drive in Georgia meant I was still in the Atlanta area, so I know what you mean.

      Yesterday was Sinterklaasdag and I do plan to mention it in my next post. The German Christmas market will be the post after that! :)

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  10. Only one hour from Belgium – oh my! Yes, it takes me one hour + to go to the airport in Atlanta or 1 hour to the Roswell square – what would I give to be in Belgium instead… I was laughing at your first collage – if those figures were shown in the Marietta square there would be the lady of the league of decency making a fuss – or the Tea Party who knows… Astrid’s “moule et frites” made my stomach envious. What a great outing.

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    1. Oh yes, Vagabonde, you totally understand. I have to laugh at the "200 miles vs. 200 years" difference between America and Europe. 200 miles for us is nothing while 200 years for them is nothing! And yet we live in the same world, don't we!

      Next time Astrid eats mussels, I'll think of you and send you good wishes! :)

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  11. I think you are getting some spam comments (those annoying Anonymous posts above). Perhaps you haven't noticed them yet... I'm so glad I backtracked to see this collection of images... My goodness... you are MASTERFUL at collage creation. And I didn't mind the first at all... although it took me a minute to really notice the full impact, as it were! I love all the colorful collages you've put together... I could see that I would have a LOT of material in Antwerp... I especially enjoyed the collage with the penguins and Astrid photographing them. Now I'm off to see today's post (at least, I'm guessing you posted today). Thanks for stopping by my blogs. :-)

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    1. UGH re those anonymous comments. I had to update our printer the other day and ever since then, I've had to re-start several sign-on options. My spam filter always used to catch those comments.

      Anyway, thank you, as always, for stopping by, Victoria, and making me feel so good about what I do. I have so much fun doing it! And yes, you would LOVE Antwerp. A photo-op city, for sure.

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  12. You outdid yourself with the collages in this post. I love old Roman Catholic churches. I know, they are dated, but the do get my senses going. Fascinating, these old places - and we think we have "old" here in the U.S. Ha.

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    1. I know, Margaret! The Dutch think 200 miles is far and we think 200 years is old. I'll have to do a post on that one day! :) Thank you!

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