I was talking to a friend today, who confirmed something I knew but didn’t want to admit. I have a travel blog where I go to Belgium, talked about grocery shopping and then don’t post again until the trip was basically over. For those of you just joining me here, that was three whole fucking months.
I feel justified in saying that I stopped blogging so that I could better enjoy my trip. I was overwhelmed in a land where I didn’t know the language. Ask my boyfriend, I spent a fair portion of my trip in tears because I didn’t know how to order my own food or ask the cashier a question in Dutch. (I could have asked in English, but I felt SUPER guilty about being THAT foreigner.) In retrospect I should have spent time writing, but I didn’t know how to balance moderately wildly exploring the big bad world with settling down to write. But I tell you what, here’s where I make it up to you.
Starting from where I left off, we’re going to talk about my trip! First stop: ANTWERP!
When we hopped off the train, this what what was waiting for us. Antwerp Central Station. This is the most beautiful train stations we visited, and we did get to see a few. This beauty is massive. If you look at the picture above, we’re walking away from the trains and this is the massive gateway into the rest of the station. The doors themselves seem like afterthoughts compared to the rest of the place because they’re so small in comparison.
We walked through the doors and into the rest of the station to find this waiting for us. The ceiling is so high I wasn’t able to capture both the ceiling and the floor in a single picture.
The view to the right.
When we came through the doors and turned around, this hit me with the force of one of an arriving train. I failed to capture the stairs in the picture because I was far too focused on the rest of it.
Finally, the outside of the station as we were walking away.
Antwerp has a stunning shopping street that begins right on the foot of the train station and as far as I could tell, never stops. Most of the buildings look like these above, just with amazing shopping outlets in the bottom windows.
This statue. Is holding a squeegee. The statue was also twice as tall as us, if not taller. This took some real dedication to do.
This is one example of the shopping street. Pretty swanky right? I didn’t get to do any shopping but it’s now a personal goal to shop here for a whole day.
Our main reason for being in Antwerp was for a work event through yonder boyfriend. (He’s the scruffy one in the back.) Here we see two Antwerp Ace team members taking turns playing Counter Strike with random customers in the Antwerp FNAC in a contest to win some gaming gear.
While out for lunch we found an ORANGE JUICE MACHINE. Freshly squeezed orange juice? YES PLEASE.
I know it makes me a bad person but I have no idea what this is. *click click clickity type* Ah. Turns out it’s the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of Our Lady. See what I mean about long as Dutch words?) What I can tell you is that this is the first time I went out of my own. It was a HUGE moment for me. I have no problem navigating my own country on my own but for whatever reason I was having anxiety about doing it in Belgium. Well, it turns out when you spend nine hours at a mall and get bored enough, you will risk life, limb and purse. I didn’t go too far away, but it was an important stepping stone for me. I checked out the multicultural fair (see the giant white tent in the above picture), went through some shops and even purchased some postcards (which i never sent).
Before we headed home, we had BELGIAN WAFFLES. These babies are warm, soft, sweet piles of amazing. The trick is to eat them slow enough to enjoy them but fast enough to keep the melted whipped cream from dripping all over you.
We went to Antwerp again for a short visit at the end of August, but we stayed in the same area. This is a city I want to visit again and again because I really feel like it won’t stop surprising me.