Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wandering Wednesday - Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp, Belgium was the very first place I traveled to in Europe back in 2007. It may seem like a random destination for a Europe first timer, but our visit here was for the sole purpose of Mitch attending a work conference - and our subsequent move from Australia to France. Honestly, after an entire week here I feel no need to go back to Antwerp - it certainly was a good spot to recover from jet lag (it was something like a 32hr journey to get there - yuk) and although its buildings were pretty, there are much more interesting destinations in Belgium. When we were in Antwerp, it felt so incredibly foreign and far from home, and yet just the other week, we drove past it on a day trip to Belgium. It's funny how it used to be so far away from anything I knew and now it's only an hour or so down the road from home. Driving around the ring road and seeing it this way made it seem significantly smaller then in my memory - it's funny how a few years and a whole lot of countries later affects your memory of a place.

We stayed in the city centre (very close to where the conference was being held so Mitch could duck off to see me whenever he had a break!) and while he was presenting papers and learning away, I kept myself entertained exploring the city. There was plenty of shopping, lots of typically Belgian/Dutch looking buildings on the Grote Markt, green parks and even a castle. I had been reading about this 'castle' down by the river and although it was a little disappointing (I think I was expecting a French chateux) it was definitely still a highlight of the city sights.

Once the city sights had well and truly been seen, we decided to spend an afternoon visiting the Antwerp Zoo. Right in the city centre, it actually wasn't a bad zoo - some of the monkey enclosures did make me want to cry (they seemed to be well looked after, just small places for such active little creatures) but overall it was pretty interesting.

Antwerp - I'm glad we've done it, but I have to say - once in a lifetime is enough...

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