Antwerp, Belgium

Hard to believe that sixteen years ago, Nils and I lived in Antwerp, Belgium for a bit before moving to Provence, France then he onto Barcelona and I back to Boston for a period.  Then 9/11 happened and he moved to the US.

Here we are on New Years Eve at The Irish Time Bar.

16-yearsago-in-antwerp

We lived in a flat on the top two floors of the house on the left – Oude Koornmarkt  & Pelgrimstraat or a few months.

This was our view daily!

His father lived in Antwerp in  2010, so we are pretty familiar with it so when thinking of places to visit today, it was an easy drive and just under one hour.

The city centre is based around the Groenplaats and the Grotemarkt and the Cathedral, which is golden in the sunlight and is so beautiful.

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While it’s been 6 years since we were there, a few things changed but a lot is still the same.  As normal, I love the architecture but I always found Belgium a bit dirty.

Bodrum my favorite Turkish restaurant on De Pret Straat is now a butcher – a very nice one too!  Turns out the Bodrum Palace which we passed got great reviews – perhaps they moved!  Grr.would have rather ate at Bodrum but nonetheless got our mixed grill/shaorma fix while here. Sebaba was closed and a lot of new building a but Pelican Bar, StadsCafe, International Magazine Store, and other places the same.
We ate Shoarma at De’oude Stad.. Good but not as good as Bodrum!

The Christmas Market was in full force with two skating rinks and tons of stalls and due to current world events loads of added security present yet never felt 100% safe.  Clearly either I have watched too many TV shows like Homeland and 24 or I was a detective in my previous life!

The kids rode the slides three times each!

Now that we have our fill of Antwerp, we can visit in 10 years or so…..No need to rush back.  I would never want to raise my kids there or do I have the desire to ever live there again.  I am sure it’s great for some families, just not us – we’re happy over the border in the Netherlands.

Saturday Afternoon Beach Day

Yesterday had partly sunny skies and a high of around 10 degrees, we headed to the beach with buckets and spades and sunglasses.   When the sun was behind a cloud and the wind hit, it was a bit chilly, but not too bad.  Slowly, we’re finally getting some warmer Spring weather. Today is supposed to be 19 (66 degrees F) so we’re hoping to head to the Cromer Pier for our first try at Crabbing!!

We knew low tide was at 2:30 pm, so we headed down and it was just so calm and sandy.  Hard to believe this was the coast of North Norfolk vs a beach with the smooth sand some place tropical.
After walking down and hanging out for a bit, Nils took the kids up to the playground area before heading home for Maebh’s nap.   Poor guy had to carry Maebh and hold Soren’s hand and walk up all those steps!

I stayed back and walked the beach collecting sea glass and interesting shells/rocks.  Funny there were others walking looking down for things too, but they had large bags so I’m not sure what they were picking up – perhaps interesting stones or trash?  Soren really likes my collection and helped find a large piece of glass today.  Later  helped me lay it out, clean it and put it in the jar.
Later on, the kids did a little watercolor painting.  One minute they are best friends, the next minute they are fighting over who has the big paintbrush.  Clearly, I have to get them another set of paint and brushes, as they are really loving painting pictures.  Maebh found it fun to dip her napkin in the water and squeeze it out on her paper.