A day in Antwerp
Antwerp Travel Blog› entry 1 of 12 › view all entries
Antwerp was my first city to visit in Belgium, so I was excited to see what it has to offer. After parking my car at Waalsekaai (which is a bit south of the centre and free of charge to park there) I walked along the Scheldt river to the city center. My first stop was at the viewpoint close to Het Steen where you have a good view of the river and the Church of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwekathedraal).
There I also got a first taste of Belgian waffels for which the country is well known. One plain waffel costs about 2 Euro and it was very delicious. After this snack I walked to Het Steen (literally: The Stone) which is the only remaining part of Antwerps fortifications. Later I walked to St Paulus Church which has a nice front garden with statues, a little cave and a beautiful white interior.
Walking south I reached the Grote Market, the beautiful main square framed by pretty house walls and the town hall. In the middle of the square stands a statue which shows the giant´s hand being thrown into the Scheldt river by Brabo. Silvius Brabo was a mythical Roman soldier who is said to have killed a giant. This story also explains the name of the city Antwerp, meaning "hand throwing". So this Brabo guy once killed a giant who asked money from people who wanted to pass by the river Scheldt. When they didn't want to pay, he cut off their hand and threw it in the river. Because of this Brabo also removed the hand of the giant, and threw it away. Just a little culture here for you ;-)
From the Grote Market it´s not far to the Church of Our Lady. Entrance fee is 5 Euro (3 Euro for students).
After all this sightseeing I was hungry again and got some French Fries, another specialty not to be missed in Belgium.
Vincent: You know what they put on French fries in Holland instead of ketchup?
Vincent: I've seen 'em do it, man. They fuckin' drown 'em in that shit.
Well, even though in Pulp Fiction they are talking about Holland, I thought it was more appropriate for Belgium. The fries were indeed drowning in mayonnaise, but still they were quite tasty :-)
After finishing this greasy meal I sat down in a café on Grote Market and had a coffee. After a while there was a kind of folklore show going on on the square with drummers and elderly people all dressed up in traditional costumes which was quite nice to watch.
After basking in the sun for a while, I decided I had seen enough of Antwerp, walked back to my car and drove on to Bruges...