Showing posts with label TRAVELOGUE-ANTWERP-BELGIUM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TRAVELOGUE-ANTWERP-BELGIUM. Show all posts

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Grand Place - Grote Markt , Antwerpen

Grand Place building is nothing but the #Stadhuis or townhall of #Antwerp. But, It's not just an ordinary town hall.

If you’re touring Antwerp, this town hall is something that is hard to miss - it's the large beautiful building with all colorful flags flying, on the banks of river Scheldt. The town hall is so beautiful and steeped in rich colorful history. It an attractive example of #Brabantine Gothic architecture, which was constructed in 1565 and still standing strong. (Infact, the city is celebrating it’s 450th birthday this year in a grand way! )

The town hall is an impressive architecture and located in an equally impressive square. So far, we have not gone inside, but I heard that the inside is also so gorgeous and has some excellent paintings. No wonder it is a #UNESCO World Heritage site.

The square has an attractive statue in the centre – “The statue of Brabo” which has an interesting story behind. It’s childish!!, but still let me share what I heard ;P 

The story goes like there was a Giant who controlled the river. If you were unwilling to pay the toll he would cut off your hand. One day a sailor, Silvius Brabo, challenged the Giant to a dual. Brabo won and cut off the Giant's head and hand. He threw the hand into the water, which is #Flemish for hand throw or "#handwerpen". That is how Antwerp got it's name ! 

I have been here in the day as well during the night time. Hands down!!!, the building looks amazingly beautiful at night as they are lit up. You should come here both day and night to compare for yourself!

If you’re on a short tour, It's a quick stop but is definitely a worthy to visit and spend some time over this wonderfully-crafted building and on the river side cafes, pubs, relaxing spots around it (the area is called as #GroteMarkt). You’ll not be disappointed! 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

ZOO Antwerpen

#ZooAntwerpen is just next to my office. And my company allows all their employees to take lunch from the Zoo cafeteria on cheaper rates. So we occasionally go to the zoo for lunch :). Otherwise, I am not a big fan of Zoos!.

It is one of the oldest Zoo's in the world and has a very decent variety of animals to look around. The elephants are the most popular animals, especially since the birth of #Kai-Mook (Belgium's first ever baby elephant). Apart from them, you can take a glimpse of some strange animals such as aardvarks, armadillos, tree kangaroos and koalas to name but a few (I haven’t seen them anywhere before; learnt these words only after going there).

The Zoo is just next to the central station, that makes it as the first tourist attraction to most of the visitors of Antwerp. However, the smaller area keeps much of the creatures locked up in small cages. They are not befittingly kept :(. I guess Antwerp should relocate the zoo to some other bigger place outside the City and make a better use of this central area.

This is a good place to go in Antwerp, especially if you have kids. I haven't visited that many zoos, but this is one of the good ones that I have seen so far. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tulpenpluk 2015

Well, this weekend we went to Berendrecht #Tulpenpluk (translated as Tulips Pick) and  I must say, "We just loved it".

It’s a fantastic initiative by the City of Antwerp. Every year during November time frame, the district commune of Berendrecht plants thousands of tulip pulps on the meadows near the Berendrecht Port. And all these pulps bloom beautiful during april., and be opened up to the public to come and enjoy!

This year Berendrecht meadow was filled with 160,000 colorful tulips and we’re all allowed to pick upto 10 tulips per person and take back to home :)

We went from Antwerp Central to the Berendrecht by public transport; from then there was about 15minutes walk to the tulip meadow.

 By the time we reached, the crowd had already turned out well over and we joined-in over the long queue. But it was not that bad, the queue was fast moving.; and in about 20mins of queue, we got straight into the meadows !

The meadow with all colorful tulips looked so beautiful, under the bright spring sunshine. We snapped hell of nice pictures and grabbed a  few beautiful tulips for home too.

Furthermore, there was a lot of nice events such as a ducks ‘parade, children's village, hay stack maze, kids painting, picnic area  ...etc. 

After spending a good amount of time, we returned home, and our house got brightened by the beautiful bouquets :-).

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Aquatopia - Aquarium Of Antwerp

It was a little rainy weekend, wanted to plan something of indoor sort. Aquatopia was a perfect fit for the day. We visited aquatopia and were pleasantly surprised !

The aquarium is in a prime area just next to #Antwerp central station. It has a huge collection of underwater species. we got to see so many of them that I can’t just list. It accommodates more than 10,000 fish and a large quantity of reptiles.

The key attraction is the big shark tank. With a capacity of 360 000 liters of water, I guess this is the biggest shark aquarium of Belgium. Visitors can walk through a thick glass wall tunnel or over a bridge that hangs above the tank.

Another very special (but little scary to me :P ) was the reptiles section. It’s open and there are some that climb up the tree and jump on you! The snakes section was also open but with a door that can be only opened or closed with switch. Still it was scary too!. But I'm sure they cannot be dangerous as all precautions would have been taken by the aquarium.

Overall, it’s a very nice place to go for 3-4 hours indoor. Especially children would enjoy hours of everything that #Aquatopia offers.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Getting Around Antwerp - Public Transport

Public transport in Antwerp is amazing. The city has trams and buses for getting around town.

De Lijn – the transport company has a dense network of buses, trams, and pre-metro connections in the city and wide area around it. The main bus station - Franklin Rooseveltplaats, is at a walking distance of about 5 minutes from the Antwerp-Central Train Station. Buses and trams are well connected to almost all the corners of the city.

The network is very easy to use with well-signed stations, schematic route maps and aboard the trams the electronic display announces the stations as you arrive.

As for the fare prices: There are a variety of ticket options – Although a single ticket is a bit expensive €3, other discount options like, day passes €6 and 3-days pass €12 are really economic. These tickets can be bought from vending machines, newsagents, supermarkets, De Lijn offices, tourism centres… or even directly from the drivers (but at slightly higher cost).

Personally, Tram is the favourite of me & my daughter!!!. They are more convenient, quick, and comfortable.. above all it feels so nice to see these cute trams running around the city!! Even if we move to any other city in future, wherever we see a tram, we are sure to remind about “Antwerp” J

Saturday, March 28, 2015

"French" Fries or "Belgian" Fries?

I always thought that French fries belong to the French. But it’s not – it’s actually a Belgian!!!.

People here claim that Belgium is the origin of the fries and it’s true that the fries has always been in their food culture. 

The story (?) is that the American military troops had a chance to taste these fried potato stripes in Belgium, during their World War -1 stint ; and they named it as the “French Fries” since majority of the Belgian soldiers spoke French. Till then it'd become a part of American food too, and they made it popular as the French fries !

I also hear from some of the French speaking friends that " it’s just a story" created by the Belgians and the fries were originally invented by the French men only. Also, there’s a talk that the Spanish too claiming the “pride of the fries origin”. 

Whatever it is…, who cares from where the fries came from. We just love tasting the crunchy, salty, tasty fries :P . Is in it ?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Belgium: "One Country - Many Cultures "

Belgium may be just one country in the world map, but you’ll get to see a lot of invisible lines dividing the country into pieces linguistically and culturally!.
It’s mainly due to the numerous invasions all through it’s past. The Belgian land has always been occupied by either one of their neighbors; start from the Roman Empires to Spanish, Austria, France, Holland, Germany…. and the list goes on!.

The first and the big dividing line that I noticed is the Flanders-Wallonia border.
The northern half of the Belgium is called as “Flanders””, bordering the northern Netherlands (Holland region) and north-west France. Dutch is the main stream language here. This includes the main cities such as Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and Leuven.

To the south is the “”Wallonia””, predominantly French-speaking. Wallonia was rich with Metals and Coal., and was the more prosperous half of Belgium till the World War II. After the WWII, the weightage of heavy industry came down sharply, and there by the Flanders surpassed Wallonia in Wealth.

This difference in economy status & growth has made a huge difference among the people of respective region. I don't find any Flander appreciating the Wallonia, or vice versa.. They are always feel separated :(

Brussels is the capital of the country, which is located on the Flanders side, but most of the people here are not Dutch speaking, it’s primarily French :P . There's also a little German-speaking crowd in the city!.!!!

So naturally, all of these differences make out an extremely complicated government system. There’s a King in Belgium, at the same time it’s a democratic country with a huge parliament!. There are three regional governments, with jurisdiction over the French, Flemish and German areas.

It's actually a bit more complicated than that any alien could think of :) .

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Stadspark, Antwerp - “Something for everyone”

The park is located in the heart of the city and very close to my apartment,..

It’s one of the nicest parks that I have ever seen…. an oasis of calm ... especially after a busy day/week, you’’ll sure to unwind in this beautiful and quiet city park. . The park has a beautiful lake with cute ducks, swans, thousands of pelicans and pigeons. And a fenced part of the lawn gives residence to a number of sweet little bunnies!

You could see many localities come here regularly and  enjoy a leisurely walk or a jog. Kids going wild on the playarea, which features a variety of fun games. Some Daredevils performing a sneaky show with their skate. Some good old couple laying in the grass with a book and headphone. 

The park carries a long history behind. Heard that the park is a leftover from Herentals Fort, a stronghold of the sixteenth century city wall. It was also once the place where the German forces had their Belgian headquarters during the second war. The remains of the bunkers is now burried under the park grounds. There are a few World War memorials and monuments are still standing tall and stunning here.
We love the Stads Park verymuch . It truly has “Something for everyone” #tour_antwerp

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

TRAVELOGUE-BELGIUM

Well!.. finally we are in Belgium now :)

We live in “Antwerp” - a city known for its diamonds, its best brewed beers and  ofcourse for the world’s most delicious chocolates!!!. It is also a place that averages a mere 1320 hours of sunlight a year, which translates into slightly over 4 months. It is about 40 minutes drive from the capital Brussels, and the second largest city in country next to Brussels.  

As always, am excited to know about the new place, new people, new culture, history…etc. I wish, I should write the whole story of my Belgium trip, starting from the work permit/visa procedures to the day-today life here. But, this time work is too hectic, not sure how well I could fulfill my wish ;P.

I already have a big list of interesting stories to write about, so I'll try to post often. Keep reading the stories at the label TRAVELOGUE-BELGIUM