This weekend I went to see what else there is to do in beautiful little Antwerp.
I met up with Elias and told him I really wanted to see something I haven’t seen before in town, so he could decide on our plans for the day.
That way, before we joined Ayke in the evening, we went for a walk around the city center and saw the tallest building in Antwerp (which was quite a surprise from my Londoner’s point of view!) and a couple of sculptures of hands around the town hall.
Hands? For those of you who might not know it yet, according to the folklore, the city got its name after the mythical giant Antigoon, who exacted a toll from all the people who wanted to cross the Scheldt (the river that flows across the city) and those who couldn’t pay would have their hand cut off and thrown in the river. One day, the young hero Brabo thought good to teach the giant a lesson and feed him his own medicine so he cut the evil character’s own hand and threw it in the Scheldt. Hence the name Antwerpen, from Dutch hand werpen which is the same as ‘throwing the hand’.
I also found another huge hand sculpture with kids jumping all over it with their parents trying to take a still picture – with a total lack of luck, I assume. One fact about that hand is its size as the artist might have wanted the public to imagine how big that monster must have been to own that massive hand. Try and give it a high five when you come to Antwerp!
Still daydreaming about giants and heroes and castles and peasants I ended up in a lovely tea room called Desiré de Lille (www.desiredelille.be), with an amazing looking menu and even more amazing looking desserts, highlighting the Belgian famous crêpes and waffles. The place looks smaller than its actual size when you walk in, so don’t turn around in disappointment but go further – there are a few extra floors, a cosy inside terrace and plenty of space to sit down and enjoy a nice warm waffle and a hot chocolate. If you’re around the city centre, don’t forget about this small hidden gem as all the other nearby cafes will be most definitely packed and might not offer such delicious treats worth queuing for.
Our last stop was the harbour. I’ve always been fascinated by ships, especially the non-passenger ones like the commercial vessels, so I took lots of pictures of all the ones that passed by. Now I really want to go to the port to shoot industrial landscapes, my favourite ones.
I also fell in love with the sunset that you can get to see from there. It gives me inspiration to write fairy tales, so I started fantasising about submarines, the end of the world and the Scottish Nessy monster and came up with a movie plot that I’m planning to send to James Cameron.
Hope he gets back to me about that.