Monday, February 2, 2009

Anticipating Antwerp

We left Leuven Sunday morning with plans to hop off the train in Antwerp and spend the day there before continuing home. Our list was long and I was ready for a more exciting day. Unfortunately, Antwerp was a little colder than we had bargained for, but we were here and we were going to see it.

We started our day with a walk through the general and live animal markets. I had thoughts of buying a lamb to bring back to our apartment to snuggle with when it is cold, but all we found were live birds and bunnies. And while I am now okay with fresh from the farm, don't need be refrigerated eggs, I think I will pass on the fresh from the farm chicken that still needs to be killed and defeathered.
There were also tons of beautiful birds needing new homes and they were tempting. But then I remembered that we have enough trouble sleeping between the wind and the fireworks and don't need to add a squawking bird to that orchestra.
Next we were off to the Mode Museum; Antwerp claims to be the fashion capital of Europe and this was their fashion museum. I think Matt only agreed to go in to escape the howling wind. The current exhibit features Maison Martin Margiela, a fashion company created by a Belgian stylist in Paris. The exhibit was wonderfully done and the clothes, for the most part, were beautiful and original. My favorite concept was how they would make a shoe and then cover it in another color. As you wore the shoe the second layer of paint would wear off and the under color would show through. This ensured no two pairs were alike, since the paint would wear off based on how often you wore them, how you walked, and what you did in the shoes.

Since we were in an art mode, we decided to see the local art. And by local art, I mean graffiti. Antwerp has something going on. There is a park where graffiti is legal and encouraged - hopefully this saves the rest of their 300 year-old buildings from spray paint.
I don't really understand Europe and the graffiti. You are lucky enough to have dozens of buildings in every town that would make the historical register in any US city and, yet, you allow them to become covered in graffiti. And it isn't even good graffiti - not even graffiti good enough to grace the 34th Street wall in Gainesville. I wonder if what Antwerp is doing is working. Now if they could just do something about the dog poop on the sidewalks!
By now our hands were frozen and our cheeks were pink from wind burn, so we headed into the warm oasis of a Portuguese restaurant. Lunch was lovely and dessert was divine. I don't know what it was, but it was a lot of chocolate, banana, whip creme, pastry goodness. We were warm, full, and not ready to go back outside. And upon leaving the restaurant to re-enter the frigid city, we decided Antwerp was only an hour and half away by train and we would finish our list on a warmer day.

1 comment:

K said...

Sounds like a lovely day.

I would definitely find myself adopting a poor chicken.