Antwerp is Art

by - 3:00 PM

'This city has many faces,' my friend likes to say. Not just about Antwerp, she actually says it about a lot of cities.  But, as we were road tripping our way to Belgium, she mostly said it about Antwerp. It made me curious. To be honest, I'd already been curious about this city since October, when I heard a story about pizza, night clubs and general weirdness that took place on the streets of Antwerp. A much different face than the one my friend, who'd been there on a getaway with her ex, had seen. From the minute we left our tiny hometown and set course to Belgium I was wondering which face Antwerp would show me. It wasn't long before I found that out. Antwerp, to me, is one thing: Art.

"Art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something." You've probably seen these words from the book Eleanor and Park float around the internet. I understood their meaning, but never felt it resonate within me until I visited Antwerp.
Antwerp doesn't always look nice. It's a harbour city, so it has it's rough edges. Only adds to the atmosphere though. The banks of the Schelde are among the least impressive river banks I've ever seen, yet walking along the river made me feel excited about seeing more of the city (even when my feet were sore from walking at least ten miles through the city due to the not so tactical choice in parking space).
At first I was very nervous. We only had 24 hours in this city and no idea where to start and what to do. So my friend and I did the thing any sensible millennial would do: search for coffee and wifi.
The smallest little coffee chop near the Groenplaats made me see how Instagrammable the place was. How artsy and alive.

We walked all through town that day. From south to north and back again. From the Schelde to Central Station and vice versa. All the while I felt like I was in a city of art. And not just because Central Station is pretty.
That's the classical beauty of Antwerp and you'll see it in plenty of places. What caught my eye were the tiny things. The rusty buildings on the river banks. The weirdly shaped windows of MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom), a tower which my friend and I probably climbed illegally. The street art. Everything made the city feel so much more alive than my old hometown. There's so much to see and do.

Now in case you find yourself in Antwerp and you think I'm a serious travel blogger, here's a short list of things you should and shouldn't do. Going to the tourist information might be a better idea, but I'm speaking from personal experience and that's also worth something, right?

Things you should do:
  • Climb MAS without paying and see all of Antwerp
  • Eat fries. I'm serious. You can't go to Belgium without eating some real Belgian fries. McDonald's won't do!
  • Go to the Grote Markt after sunset. It's amazing. 

Things you shouldn't do:
  • Vlog in front of a condom vending machine.
  • Try to get past a group of angry-looking people waiting for their new Yeezy shoes.
  • Park your car in the south, walk all the way to the north, then back to the car. Repeat three times.
The great thing about Antwerp is that you can do all these things, both the ones I recommended and the ones I don't, wekk within a day. The city is more than worth a visit and, as my friend said when we went home: 'Antwerp does have many faces. Many faces indeed.' If you go there, let me know which face the city showed you!

x Envy

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12 Fellow Ramblers

  1. I actually didn't know Belgium was famous for their fries - me trying to think of what else I have in my mind for Belgium.

    "my friend and I did the thing any sensible millennial would do: search for coffee and wifi."

    This sentence describes a millennial when visiting any country ahaha. I haven't had Belgium on my list to travel, but after reading this I think it's time it made it to the list!


    1. Belgian fries are the original fries actually, but Americans mistook the French-speaking Belgians for Frenchmen, which is why they called fries 'French fries'. They're as Belgian as can be though!

      Millennials live on wifi, it was the right thing to do XD I hope you enjoy Belgium if you get to go there!

  2. Sounds like you had a fab flash visit :)
    That station is stunning!
    Cora x
    (I loved Eleanor & Park btw)

    1. It was so great to be there for a day! If I ever need a break from life in the Netherlands again, I'm probably going back to Antwerp :D

  3. YOUR TRAVEL POSTS ARE MY LIFE. Antwerp sounds amazing <3

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. Oh my god thank you so much! I'll have a few more up in the next month or so. Antwerp is awesome, probably my favorite place in all of Belgium :)

  4. This is so well-written lovely! Even though I am a Belgian myself I loved reading this! And you are 100% correct about the fries thing, they're BELGIAN fries after all!

    1. Someone from the country the post is about complimenting the post, that's honestly the biggest compliment I could ever get on a travel post!
      Stupid Americans messing it up with their French fries. At least us Dutchmen call them Vlaamse frieten ;P

  5. Antwerp is one of my favourite places in the world! I am a Belgian myself and I used to live there before we moved. I always miss the life, compared to the part of Belgium I live in now. xx Nikita

    BLOG//Jasmine Loves

    1. I'm so jealous of you for having lived there! Antwerp seems like such a great city to live in, I can totally see why you miss it!


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