Sunday, March 29, 2009

Antwerp: Friday 27th March 2009

Today we ventured by train to Antwerp, about an hour north of the capital, but only 45km away The Antwerp railways station is considered to be a highlight of the cities architecture, but sadly the outside was being renovated, but the inside was still impressive.

Paula inside the railway station

Walking downtown we stumbled upon a shopping arcade that looked absolutely fabulous. Later we found out it had been destroyed by fire and had only re-opened in 2007 and really it isn’t a shopping centre but used as an events complex – markets functions etc.

At the restored Stadsfeestzaal if you look closely, the man in the blue coat on the right is Andrew checking out prices at the Champagne bar

Walking along the main streets to the market square it is obvious Antwerp has numerous gorgeous buildings and most are highly decorated. Antwerp is also well known for its design edge – fashion designers gravitate here and the home design stores were inspiring. Sadly we can’t really carry anything home.

The Cathedral of Our Lady was a fantastic church. Over €25million has been spent on it’s restoration which is largely complete, but there is still some significant euros still to be spent to complete it. It has three enormous Peter Paul Reubens paintings, one of which was particularly striking in it’s intensity “The Elevation of the Cross”

Paula in Market Square, Our Lady Church spire in background

Church Interior

AJ looking at Peter Paul Reubens painting

From there we wandered and enjoyed the buildings and shops. This was a stimulating town to visit. Today was the first day we have had any Belgian chocolates – but it won’t be the last Belgian chocolates we eat on this trip!

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