Antwerp - Day 1 - COLD

Antwerp Travel Blog

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The Cathedral of our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kathedraal)

We got to Belgium early in the morning, and got to Antwerp at about 5:30 or 6am.  The only map we had was a general Europe road atlas, without city details, so we really weren't sure how to get to any main places, so I just had Tom drop me off at the first train station we saw.  It turned out it wasn't too far by tram from where I wanted to get to, but it was too early to check into the hostel, so I decided to kill a few hours in the train station.  Turns out the train station was super cold too.  By the time 8am rolled around and I headed out to find where I was, I was literally chilled to the bone.  But eventually I got checked into a fun hostel (Heksenketel) which is very close to the historic district, and quite close to the Cathedral of our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kathedraal) - close enough that I could hear the bells chime from my room.

Statue depicting "Antwerpen" in front of City Hall
  I got a nap (didn't sleep much in the car ride - and definitely unable to in the cold of the train station) and then looked around a bit.  There was quite a bit of misty/fog (they call it smog, but it certainly isn't the same "smog" as what I know from Los Angeles ... they even limited the speed to 90 kph as we were approaching Antwerp, the reason given was "SMOG").  Two areas (squares, or whatever they might call them here) were decorated for Christmas and had activities going on.  Groenplaats has the Christmas market, where I ended up actually buying another jacket and a scarf.  Grote Markt, where the city hall is, had an ice rink for ice skating, and booths with food and drink - most common drink from both areas would be Gl├╝hwein (hot mulled wine) or Jenever (a Flemish (and Dutch) alcohol, from which gin was eventually developed).
With Sylvie on a bitterly cold night!
  Grote Markt had a number of warmers full of hot coals, which served as nice heating stations.

As I was so cold, I didn't actually end up seeing much else today, at least in terms of sights/buildings, but what buildings I did see were remarkably beautiful!

Later in the evening, I met briefly with fellow TravBuddy Sylvie.  She is a great person and we had a good, if short, conversation.  A bit of warmth in an otherwise cold day!

After our meeting, I stopped by a random restaurant off Groenplaats and had a few glasses of Hoegaarden - one of my favorite Belgian beers from when I was in the States, but as I had never been in Belgium before, I obviously had never had it freshly poured on draft before.  Yummy. :D

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The Cathedral of our Lady (Onze Li…
The Cathedral of our Lady (Onze L…
Statue depicting Antwerpen in fr…
Statue depicting "Antwerpen" in f…
With Sylvie on a bitterly cold nig…
With Sylvie on a bitterly cold ni…
Antwerpen-Centraal
Antwerpen-Centraal
Antwerpen-Centraal
Antwerpen-Centraal
Antwerpen-Centraal
Antwerpen-Centraal
Groenplaats
Groenplaats
Groenplaats
Groenplaats
The Cathedral of our Lady (Onze Li…
The Cathedral of our Lady (Onze L…
Rubens statue
Rubens statue
Groenplaats
Groenplaats
Door to The Cathedral of our Lady …
Door to The Cathedral of our Lady…
The super narrow and uneven steps …
The super narrow and uneven steps…
view from my room
view from my room
Grote Markt
Grote Markt
City hall - Grote Markt
City hall - Grote Markt
Christmas market - Groenplaats
Christmas market - Groenplaats
Grote Markt
Grote Markt
Antwerpen
Antwerpen
City Hall
City Hall
Ice skating - Grote Markt
Ice skating - Grote Markt
Antwerp!
Antwerp!
Drink Water! :D
Drink Water! :D
Sylvie looking as good as always!
Sylvie looking as good as always!
With Sylvie
With Sylvie
Hoegaarden. :D
Hoegaarden. :D
Antwerp
photo by: skydiver