Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 7, 2012

Amazing Antwerp

Arriving in Antwerp by train has to be the best way….the railway station is amazing.

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The stone terminus building was designed by Louis Delacenserie and built between 1895 and 1905. It has a huge dome and 8 smaller towers, 6 of which are reconstructions. There is also a huge glass and iron arched vault which covers the tracks and several gold and diamond shops.

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There are construction works taking place in front of the station, so I was difficult to get a good photograph of the exterior which shows how very impressive this building is.

I was keen to go to Antwerp because I am a fan of Dries van Noten, one of the famous Antwerp 6, a group of designers who are based in the city. I went first to see his beautiful shop.

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The building itself is gorgeous and his clothes beautiful, unfortunately no photos are allowed inside the shop.

I really had no idea what to expect of Antwerp, but I was delighted with the city. It is full of beautiful buildings and buzzing with life.

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There is of course, the hand thrower of Antwerp ( more on that in another post )

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There were some really fabulous old buildings.

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We went to Peter Paul Rubens house. He bought a house in the city and added another house which was his studio. He also built a beautiful garden behind the houses. No photos were allowed inside the house, which is a pity, because it is an interesting insight into life at the time. The courtyard and gardens were lovely.

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The original house.

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The added studio.

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The artist’s garden.

We found lots of good things to eat in Antwerp.

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Belgian waffles…..mine had cherries and chocolate.

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Jim’s had chocolate and cream.

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We had famous Belgian chips.

And of course, we saw lots of Belgian chocolate.

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There were chocolate hands.

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A chocolate Napoleon……why not?

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A chocolate poodle.

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Chocolate poodle poo.

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A large chocolate frog.

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We couldn’t decide what to buy so we went for a walk. By the time we went back the shops had closed. We found an open supermarket and bought some Cote d’Or, which was delicious and first made in 1883
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The elephant on the packaging refers to the times when elephants transported the cocoa beans through the jungles of the Congo. (That’s one explanation, there are others) King Leopold II invaded the Congo to facilitate access to the cocoa fields. These days many chocolate makers work within Fairtrade practices.

Many cities would be delighted with the number of people wandering and shopping in the city centre.

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Antwerp is a bustling, sophisticated and interesting city. One day is not enough. I need to go back.

And you just have to love a building with a camel on top.

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Responses

  1. Did you go to the Fashion Museum Deb?

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    • No, it was a quick trip and I was with Jim. I’ll save that for another time.

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  2. How exotic Debra! And so different to Italy. Europe amazes me like that…. Those chocolates look reason enough to return. Soon!

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  3. That architecture is amazing.

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  4. Too bad photos weren’t allowed inside Rubens house. I would have especially loved to see inside his studio. But goodness, that train station is stunning, isn’t it? Wow!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

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  5. Impressive architecture … .which was almost as good as the desserts.

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  6. Magnificent buildings and architecture,statues and chocolate! x

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  7. Wow!! Beautiful photos – good reason to go to Antwerp. We passed through on a train once, on a day trip from Eindhoven (Netherlands) to Brugge. We had no idea what we were missing. All the best,
    Cheryl

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  8. Wonderful photos of a beautiful city. What a treat! Thanks Debra.

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  9. Thanks for this fantastic post Debra…..we are planning on visiting Antwerp for a short stay very, very soon. Love Dries too!

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  10. Belgian waffles, little chocolate hands and poodles … count me in! Lovely photos and the train station is just beautiful!

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  11. That’s just for transportation? That’s so so cool! I wouldn’t mind going to work using that station everyday. It looks so magnificent. I probably would be late some days though, being stunned at the sight of it.
    Your images says so much about the places you go to. I love the gold contrasts. My word, I wish to go back to Europe so badly. Debra, can I be in one of your luggages?

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  12. Dries van Noten would have been my first stop too! Great looking shop.

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  13. what a beautiful looking city. So many gorgeous buildings to be distracted by… not to mention cherries, chocolate AND waffles?…oh my.

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  14. What a fascinating looking city and the range of chocolate is heaven to me 🙂

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  15. great photos. the chocolate one’s are ofc my favourites. I had no ideia that antwerp would be such a great city to visit until now. Hope to go there when the economy gets better.

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    • I was surprised by Antwerp, it is a beautiful city.

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  16. […] Amsterdam we did a day trip to Antwerp and were very impressed with the city, the chocolate and the […]

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  17. Oh this post is giving me wanderlust for Belgium.. Lovely captures 🙂

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    • We really enjoyed our day in Antwerp. I would like to see more of Belgium.

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  18. What a gorgeous place!!

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