Saturday, 17 February 2018

Antwerp


The trip to Antwerp was lovely. I had forgotten how many things about Belgium that I really love. We both came home with lots of new experiences, inspiration, interests, and new knowledge. Not a single new item bough.

The opera was not great (the story is uncomplicated and some of the characters silly and deserves to be slapped). The Opera however is a traditional building and wonderful in itself. The performers fantastic and the dancers truly inspiring. The scenography by Marina Abramovic´ was just as dramatic and fantastic as the reviews have said. I really admire what she creates and although she sometimes scares me, it it just for my own good.
Just look at this picture from the OperaBallet Vlaanderen:
It was even more fantastic than it looks. 
Our seats had restricted view but with binoculars there was very little we missed.
The patat met afterwards (fries with mayonnaise) were, of course, the best in the world.

Also memorable from the weekend was the Museum van den Bergh - currently part of the Ecce Homo exhibition in Antwerp and with several pieces moved around - but so good, such fantastic house, such extraordinary collection that we went back twice in one weekend. Now a must for every visit to Antwerp.

Another must is Belgian food - I had jambonneau (ham on the bone) and although I am predominantly vegetarian these days, Belgian cuisine will make me disregard that. It is wonderful. I also had rabbit in beer stew - equally unforgettable and delightful.  (When I eat meat from animals I have not killed myself, it really has to be worth it.) It was worth it.

The bus trip was smooth and enjoyable and punctual - the trains to Belgium had major delay that weekend (when don't they?) and considering I think we paid €7 per person one way, the train to Belgium is out of the question for future trips.

All in all a wonderful weekend. In total (with transport, good hotel two nights in the centre, bus, opera, entrance fees and all food, snacks and coffees included) we spent €200 per person.
We celebrate the anniversary of our first meeting with a trip back to the scene of the event - and Antwerp never disappoints.  (Could the renovation of the Schone Kunsten Museum BE any more delayed? Yes, it can! Now the reopening has been delayed another two years.)
Mais c'est la Belge - je vous adore!

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