I like this town! Here are some of the reasons I’ve discovered in the first two days:
- The people are very friendly
- Everyone speaks English
- The ancient architecture of the town is beautiful
- The 21st century architecture is exciting
- There are a great many good restaurants, and the prices are great!
- The city’s leadership is obviously forward-looking and has been for some time.
So, in case you’re wondering why I have written these things, let me explain the good day I had in the cold rain today.
The people are very friendly. While eating lunch today I noticed across the street a doorway in a very old building leading into what appeared to be a courtyard. When I asked a young man standing there if I could enter he very enthusiastically said, “Yes! This is a 16th century street.” The picture at the top of this post shows what I found.
Everyone speaks English. You may know that Belgium is a country of two languages: French and Dutch. Antwerp is in the Dutch-speaking region; in fact, it’s on the border of Holland. Dutch and English seem to have very similar roots and many words are the same. This is true of both old traditional words and modern American and English popular expressions. I’ve seen English words used on businesses of all types, and then there are “Dutch” words that seem familiar:
The ancient architecture of the town is beautiful. Here’s another example:
The 21st century architecture is exciting. There’s a new 10 story museum in the revitalized port area. I think it illustrates my point very well but it’s certainly not the only creative modern architecture in town.
There are a great many good restaurants, and the prices are great! Let me tell you about the lunch I had today! It was in an Italian restaurant employing only people from Italy. I ordered cannelloni and it was the best I’ve ever had. It was a large dish, about twice as much as I could eat. I also spontaneously ordered a glass of red wine. I almost never drink at lunch (especially when I’m alone) and I really don’t like red wine, but it seemed just right with the ambience and my choice of food. It was good and it cost $2.75. The total bill was under $13.
The city’s leadership is obviously forward-looking and has been for some time. I say this based on the two new museums I visited today and the great changes going on in this old port section of town. I’ll write about the museums on another day but I’m excited about what I found. I’ve shown you the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom) building. The interior is just as cool and has a number of innovative programs. I also went to the Red Star Line Museum this morning. Its subject is emigration in general and the great wave of migration from Europe to North America, It’s focus is also as up-to-the-minute as the wave of people who fled floods in China last month.
More to come about my two museum days in Antwerp soon.