Saturday, 7 July 2012

Top 10: Antwerp

Pierre and I had a fab time in Antwerp (a bit like the two above.)

Here's our favourite Antwerpian Top 10. 

1.  Favourite artist:  Rubens
Now this man knew how to paint but also knew how to do lots of other fab things...he was also a diplomat, architect, interior decorator and writer.  Needless to say, he became very, very rich.

2.  Favourite maison:  Rubenshuis
Back home in Antwerp, Rubens fancied an Italian that's exactly what he built for himself....right in the middle of Antwerp.

3.  Favourite square:  Grote Markt
A fab place for people watching and cold Belgian beers.

4.  Favourite garden:  Courtyard of Museum Plantin-Moretus 
Absolute bliss...a quiet 16th century garden where you can smell the lavender and listen to the bees.

5.  Favourite museum:  MoMu (Mode Museum)  Fashion Museum + Museum Plantin-Moretus
Can't choose between these two.  The Fashion Museum had an extraordinary exhibition of clothing from 1750 to 1950.  If you visit Antwerp don't miss this.  The Museum Plantin-Moretus is also a must-see for book and print lovers.  The oldest printing presses in the world are here...all ready to rock and roll.  The workshop is just as it was in 1579 (well, maybe a bit tidier) but you can really sense how it would have been in its heyday.

6.  Favourite lunch:  Moules, frites and beer
Goes without saying!

7.  Favourite street:  Cogels-Osylei
The owner of our wonderful B&B  told us about this street.  It has the most incredible eclectic architecture....Flemish Baroque, Neo Classical, Art Nouveau and more...must find out more about it and do a post on this street.  It was bizarre.  And thank you Patricia and Paul...we loved our stay with you.

8.  Favourite shop:  Dries Van Notten
I really like Belgium design and fashion.  Simple, clean uncluttered style and Antwerp's fashion is right up there with the fact, many international fashion students come to Antwerp to study in its prestigious fashion school.  Dries Van Notten tops my list of favourites.  His palette and designs are always beautiful...and I couldn't resist a little splurge.  Well, it is SALE time!

9.  Favourite fountain:  Brabo Fountain....the hand thrower 
This is the voluptuous Baroque fountain that depicts the legend of Antwerp's name.  Legend has it that a giant would force passing shipmasters on the Scheldt River to pay a toll.  Those who refused, lost a hand!!!  But along came Silvius Brabo, a Roman warrior, who killed the giant, chopped off his hand and chucked it in the river.  Hand werpern (hand throwing) subsequently evolved into the name, Antwerpen.  (And today we see little 'friendship' hands decorating all manner of things in Antwerp.)

10.  Favourite chocolate:  Belgian
Goes without saying!

Take a look at Antwerp:
I wonder if Rubens would have walked up this staircase.
Inner courtyard of Rubenshuis
Grote Markt
Courtyard garden of the Printing Museum....the scent of summer lavender was sublime.
MoMu Fashion Museum
An intaglio press used for printing etchings and engravings.
This house was the world's first industrial printing workshop
producing bibles, dictionaries, religious texts et al.
Burrens used by the printers.
Pierre's favourite lunch
The Antwerp hand of friendship decorates glasses, butter biscuits, chocolates et al.
I had the Van de Chef....seriously yummy!
The architecture on this street was AMAZING!!!!!!!

Dries Van Notten's gorgeous shop....just down from MoMu fashion museum.  
That beautiful Baroque fountain in Grote Markt....
depicting The Hand Thrower.
Sit closeby....and you'll feel the spray of the fountain.
As long as I keep walking (a lot)....I can indulge.
A bientôt Antwerp!

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  1. Stunning images + What a lovely city! Have a sweet

    1. Antwerp is a surprising city Peggy. Thanks so much.

  2. Your living a dream my friend! Thank you for sharing! Keep doing exactly what your doing because your doing something right:)

    1. I must admit that I'm very fortunate and very thankful. Lovely to know you're enjoying it too.

  3. You're living all of our dreams!! I read recently that "travel is the only thing that you can spend money on and end up richer." I would love to see that Mode Museum someday, and I will await expectantly to hear all about this trip next THURSDAY!!!!!

    1. Dawne..MoMu is fantastic. Try to get'll love it. See you Thursday.

  4. Antwerp must have been absolute Bliss!! Thanks for sharing the experience. Jude

    1. It is a lovely city Jude....the old city was gorgeous.

  5. Simply stunning! I enjoyed flicking through the photos and reading comments while having my morning coffee. I was taken with the MoMu museum. Once again very enjoyable and informative. It was also nice to see a hint of Peter.
    Happy travels

    1. Bonjour Linda...Pierre is alive and well..and enjoying those Belgium beers!

  6. I discover this only now... Prefect reportage of beautiful Antwerp.
    Glad you enjoyed it