Living very close to the beach, we have the pleasure of paying lots of money to live in a box, well, that and experiencing perfect weather, pretty immediate beach access, and a ton of fun stuff in walk-able distance. Our apartment doesn’t even have a heater or AC because the temperature is mostly perfect (anyone who feels envious, just remember glorified closet + $$$, there are pros and there are cons).
Needless to say, when we landed in Germany and it was snowing, we were a bit out of our element. But warmed and motivated by our shear excitement to be out of the country and on a fun, new adventure, we somehow we made it to our rental car and drove straight to Belgium.
And thus begins our trip in review, with Antwerp.
This may be a reoccurring statement for all the places we visited – but it is cold there in March. If you are making traveling plans, keep this in mind. But besides cold, it was charming, totally walk-able, not completely touristy and just super interesting.
We were Bert and Marley’s roommate for two days – using the spare bedroom, and I can’t recommend this AirBNB spot enough. Beautiful views, stylish furnishings – including a piano that had been brought in by CRANE the day we arrived-, friendly cat (Marley), and what is probably the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on. I’m serious, he had a guest book and almost everyone (I’d say at least 50+ people) commented on the bed.
We spent our days exploring. Alex is a beer guy, as I discussed briefly here, so we made a point to try a few of the local breweries. Almost everyone has a Double and a Trippel. I tend to prefer the Trippel, but Alex was feeling more of the Double’s. All beers come in goblet-style chalices, which will make any peasant briefly feel like a royal.
Alex’s only real complaint was regarding the size of coffee’s available. I, on the other hand, didn’t mind their size, or their price as much because that was some very delicious small sips of coffee.
My favorite spot was easily the MAS, the Museum Aan de Stromm. The way the entire building is organized was really fun and intuitive – you knew exactly where and what to see next; and it gave us a great overview of Antwerp and its history. You can also walk on the roof and get a full 360 degree view of the city. It is absolutely a must-see if you ever find yourself in the area.
Another amazing spot was the Middelheim Open-Air Museum of Sculpture. It was huge. And this would have been the best day, had it been summer – grab some food, have a picnic in the park, and stroll through some incredible art.
We also tried the fries, as many suggested. Now, we don’t speak Dutch, like not a single word, and while this was fine because everyone was super nice and often spoke at least conversational English, the fry place was a challenge in that there was just a TON (like so much, you guys) of fry-able items that were completely indiscernible. Rather than being those annoying American’s who ask what everything is (since it was labeled in Dutch and again, indiscernible) we stuck with the fries and the fries alone. Anyway, I thought they were OK, maybe there was too much hype beforehand. And maybe I tried them with the wrong sauce (I went with ketchup) because, like the options for frying, there was a great many options when it came to sauce too. The best part was that they come with mini forks, which are just adorable.
All in all, it was beautiful, and would only have been more so if we had been there on a friendlier-weathered month. I also really loved taking photos of our cat roommate. Only regret – there was this great little place down the street from us called Burgerij – Burgers voor Burgers (Burger also means citizen in Dutch, which is why THAT’S super cute), but when we tried to go they were very busy and ended up getting doners instead – Alex’s favorite.