On a foggy Saturday morning, this is what we saw as we approached her.
In our peripheral vision, just off to the left of the station, is the Antwerp Zoo.
It's the oldest zoo in Belgium and one of the oldest in the world, from 1843.
Another day. Another time.
When we entered the train station.....W. O. W.
The station, finished in 1905, has 4 levels with 14 platforms.
And what wondeful light!
After touring the inside, we exited at the back (or another front?)
and saw the Church of Our Lady, Onze Lieve Vrouwekathedraal, from the day before.
At this side of the train station, were veered off to the left into the Jewish neighborhood....
...where all the Antwerp diamonds are! HA!
Antwerp is one of the biggest centers of the world's diamond industry
and is home to the Hasidic Jewish community of ca. 15,000 people.
Totally unplanned by us, we just happened to be walking through the neighborhood late morning...
just as worshippers were leaving their synagogues on the Sabbath!
OMG! Talk about being "short of eyes."
I tried to be as discreet as possible, of course, while taking pictures.
At one point Astrid stopped one of the men with the big fur hats
and found out they are Polish Jews, wearing the hats of their grandfathers' grandfathers!
As we continued walking around, we started "collecting" Mezuzah doorpost blessings.
Notice the two spots where they've been removed!
And with Astrid's foot, she's pointing to a shoe scrapper in the outside wall.
At that point we walked back to the train station for a koffie break before continuing on....
...to Chinatown, on the other side of the train station, where we first entered earlier.
What a shock, to go from the Jewish section to the Chinese section of town!
Talk about two sides of the same track!
As I've worked on my images these past two weeks, I have many impressions, of course.
Surely you know that Belgium is a country known for its beers!
I wonder if "99 bottles of beer on a wall" came from there?
Except, make it 300 or more.
There are 178 breweries in Belgium. Count them.
Wouldn't it be fun to visit them all!
And just to say we did it, we entered Bier Central with 20 beers on tap
and another 300 in bottles.
No, we didn't sit down to try one because....
...we were on our way to Wagamama for our main meal of the day.
Great beer with edamame...and a main course I forgot to capture!
We LOVE Wagamama, wherever we can find it!
You know me and architecture....
...and gevelstenen (= gable stones) and weathervanes, of course.
And more impressions.
Antwerp in two days. Now you know why at only an hour's drive away, we have promised each other to go back at least once a year...if nothing else for the mussels alone! If you liked mussels as much as Astrid does, wouldn't you drive an hour away to eat some good ones?!
And now for next week, the Christmas market in Köln, Germany! It IS that time of the year....