Twerking in Antwerp

Ok, I didn't actually twerk in Antwerp - I just think the two words kindof sound a bit similar.

(To those living on another planet, or who are over the age of 30 - here is an explanation.)




A little day-trip to Antwerp to clear my head



(and also because I still hadn't been there - even though I had been living so close-by for years! - and it was on my list of places to go...)


(By the way, I found this music on youtube 'Antwerp- Yupik' - strange and dischordant, but I really like it) :



For only 14 euros return from Maastricht, I thought: 'why not?' 

During the day I took some photos, videos and scribbled little thoughts and sketches and ideas between wandering the streets and exploring new places (and new coffee hangouts...-surprise, surprise).

video


I also took the time to write some slightly pretentious flowery stuff in the train - here you go:


It's a rainy morning, the grass still sodden from last night's down-pour, and the water droplets on the rain-speckled train windows begin to disperse into little converging trails as the train gathers speed. 
I always found the journey from the Netherlands to Belgium an interesting one.
As soon as you cross the border, you are immediately confronted with the difference in housing, roads, trains.... you become acutely aware of the prevalence of differences in social class, it's role exceedingly present.
Another thing too is striking however, and that is the sudden switch to French or Flemish from Dutch within the space of about 5 minutes. The announcements will switch languages every so often and the influx of passengers will alternate between a hubbub of French or a spattering of Flemish (although it is not uncommon to hear German, Dutch, English or something else entirely). 
A rather comprehensive plan of shops and cafes to visit is safely crumpled away in a pocket, and my trusty camera sits reassuringly as my companion.
Just before we accelerate into Belgium, a rather comically-dressed conductor (or should I say conducteur?) tottles through the carriage, wafting 'Bonjour' s and 'S'il vous plait' s over the few morning passengers.

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The best way to describe the Belgium that you first glimpse out of the window on the train route is of brownish roofs that are shoved together like bockety after-thoughts.

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video


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 Antwerpen Centraal Station


I feel every photo that I took there tells a story, I think there is something about stations and airports that allows you to see a little slice of life - people loving and leaving eachother, or meeting eachother, finding eachother or on the way to somewhere they would rather be...












A while ago there was actually a station flash mob in Antwerpen Centraal - which was quite cool:



#OnlyInAntwerp

This couple had clearly just bought a pair of chairs (hence why they are still in the wrapping) and were probably waiting for a friend or something so just decided to sit down in the middle of the high street.

I love the way that everybody just continued to walk past as if this was the most normal thing in the world....








Some more 'serious' photography:























Places Visited:


I came across this rather nice travel concept store, with more back-packs and un-necessary travel items than you could ever think of.... (you can find them here http://www.connectionstravelstore.be/ )  - Connections Travel Concept store on Schoenmarkt 16-18, Antwerpen.





(Sorry about the image quality - I had to be a bit more sly with taking photos in the shop so had to use my phone camera...)


There seemed to be a little theme of having poetry painted on walls around the city...






The Next Level - coffee labs

The Next Level can be found at Lange Klarenstraat 19, Antwerpen.


(in the foyer were these posters, which I thought were kindof cute - they are promoting Antwerp as the new business 'start-up' city)






I absolutely loved this place. It was so ridiculously hipster, but I really liked how it also seemed really family-friendly, whilst being a student hang-out aswell. It was a relaxed atmosphere, cool arty types and one or two toddlers doing their thing - being half-watched by parents but allowed to roam. It was fantastic. I really hate places that are full of screaming brat-lets and fussing mums with special fancy baby foods etc. Here it was just a bunch of people from students, to work-a-holics of their laptops, to (what looked like) retired artists - all drinking coffee and fresh healthy-ish food in a nicely designed and chilled environment. Would quite like just to bring a bed next time and live there forever.

and a nice review of it is on here: This is Antwerp -hotspots and here: New Places to be - Antwerp




and check out their website! http://www.idealabs.be/coffeelabs (or on facebook )


 The Lomography shop

Kammenstraat 55, Antwerpen.


I want it all. But I am a student. Enough said.


Jutka & Riska

High-end vintage stuff - and nice jewelry. 


Your - a sort of arty 'mini-mall' - includes a hairdresser!



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Antwerp is more city-ish than I had imagined it would be, and parts were somewhat seedy. I adore the Belgian-Flemish accents and really like the way the people there dressed in comparison to the Netherlands.

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My coffee addiction being satisfied in Antwerp:

video






I somehow ended up with a bit of a photography theme of shop windows - there were so many nicely designed shops and I went a bit mad taking photos of them, but I didn't manage to get them all, and even the ones I did get, I sometimes didn't even go in because I knew that all the lovely stuff would be so out of my price range and just depress me... (wow that was a long sentence - but I feel you need to say it in your head in one breath to understand the desperation of the situation).

[random shop photos]




















I somehow always end up with a bag full of leaflets - I always get obsessed with the design of some of them, or want to go to some of the events, but usually just end up smothering my bedroom walls with them...


I bought two things at the vintage 'Think Twice' store:
(you can find Think Twice at Kammenstraat 85, Antwerpen and also Lange Klarenstraat 21, Antwerpen.)

A cardigan (15 euro)





and a scarf (4 euro)



So at the moment I am wrapped up warm in the library in my new purchases while writing this article inbetween studying (and hiding from the rain!!).

I found most of the recommendations on where to visit from:

http://www.use-it.be/_files/inlineuploads/pages/vinyl_screenview.jpg

http://www.use-it.be/antwerp/map/

http://www.yelp.co.uk/search?find_desc=hipster&find_loc=Antwerpen

and some other blogs that I will list here asap.


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