An Afternoon in Antwerp, Belgium

Cool sign in the train terminalAfter spending a few days in Brussels, we decided that we needed a change of scenery. We went to the train station, and on a whim, we chose to board a train to Antwerp (quite inexpensive too, about $4 US). None of us knew much about the town (go figure), so we just decided to hop on a train and check things out. The train ride took about 40 minutes, and we were immediately impressed by the beauty of Antwerp.

Cool buildings all aroundWe left the train station and walked around with no destination in mind. Within a few minutes it became clear that we made a good choice in visiting Antwerp. The town was beautiful, busy, and had the perfect combination of modernity and history. There was a very long street filled with every designer shop imaginable. Just beyond the street, we could see a towering cathedral peaking out above the buildings. We walked down the street with the cathedral as our ultimate destination.

KathedralThe cathedral was huge, and looked very cool. We went inside, but no photography or noise was allowed, so we had to admire silently. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as fun to be in these buildings when you can’t talk, so we only spent a few minutes inside before moving along.

By this point we were all hungry, so we started searching for restaurants. Everything was expensive, so we had to settle for a Doner Kebab restaurant that was reasonably priced. For those of you who don’t know, Doner Kebabs are very similar to a Gyro sandwich you would have in the US. These stands are EVERYWHERE in Europe, and they are all run by immigrants from the Middle East/Turkey. They are well known for their cheap food (both quality and price), and can be your best friend or worst nightmare while in Europe. They are your best friend because it’s as close to American food as you’ll get (Fries and Pizza), but your worst enemy because the quality of food is poor, and it’s all greasy/fried. Needless to say, I only ate this type of food 2-3 times the entire trip.

Beautiful Pipe Organ... I wish this photo would have turned out betterAfter eating, we took off for more sightseeing. We came across the most beautiful church that I have ever seen (and I saw tons of them in Europe). It’s odd, because there were no visitors to this church, and it was not featured on our map of Antwerp. The inside was immaculately detailed, and I couldn’t believe that this church was so unknown. There were murals on the walls, gold leaf on the ceiling, and the most beautiful pipe organ I could ever fathom (it was broken so I donated a few Euro to have it repaired). Be sure to look at the pictures below to see the church in its true beauty as my words most likely won’t do it justice.

Mary and JesusI was in love with this church. I don’t know if it was the lack of attention that it received, the fact that the back outside wall of the church had graffiti all over it, or if it was truly beautiful, but this church really made me feel good inside. I don’t know how to put it into words, and I don’t like using this space to talk about religion, but for one of the few times in my life, this church made me feel so proud to be Catholic. I have had my questions in the past about my faith, so to see a Catholic church of this nature (completely unassuming, almost forgotten, yet remaining beautiful as ever) served as a metaphor for my own faith. It shows me that even if I question things or have uncertainties, my religion will always be there for me. That’s a powerful connection that I could never have in the USA. We just don’t have the history necessary to arouse such emotions. Europe is like a recruiting ground for Catholicism; it is everywhere, and it is beautiful. If you ever want to reinforce your faith, spend a day or two in Belgium or France.

Buying Beer out of a Vending Machine!The rest of our time in Antwerp was simply walking around and taking in the sights. Within a few hours we were tired and ready to get back to Brussels/Waterloo. At the train station, I discovered that their vending machines have beer! Here’s my drinking a Jupiler brew

I only spent a few hours in Antwerp, but I was very impressed. It’s a beautiful city, yet cosmopolitan as well. Perhaps the brevity of my trip lead me to appreciate it more than my time in Brussels, or perhaps it is just a great city. I’m not entirely sure, but I would like to go back to Antwerp in the future!

Check out the rest of my photos below. Click on a thumbnail and the photo will enlarge in your browser. Shuffle through the photos by clicking the “Next” and “Prev” buttons.

Enjoy!

Ty loves peep showsMy Great Grandmother was born in LierCity Scene right outside of train stationSexual Harrassment lawsuit waiting to happenHuman Statue... 2nd coolest of the tripInside the KathedralCool Building... Est 1564Close Up of the same buildingDifferent angle of cool buildingThe top of the buildingFountainMore cool buildingsViews like this were quite commonAnother KathedralInside ViewAwesome Mural and AltarEven the ceilings were incredibly detailedSt. Thomas Aquinas... My Boy!

About Jeff Sauer

I started blogging in the year 2000, and go in spurts of inspiration followed by long dormancy. I love writing, and your comments keep me going, so comment!

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Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading your story. Excellent diversion. Peace, brother.