Saturday, April 27, 2013

Antwerp in a Day

I caught an early train from Amsterdam and headed down to Antwerp for a few days while my daughter worked.  This is the first time I've travelled around Europe on my own, and had to keep my wits about me to make sure I got on correct trains/trams etc...  I arrived in Antwerp at about 10am, wandered out of the station, read the instructions on how to get to the hotel, and jumped on the correct tram and even got off at the correct stop - although that was more good luck than anything else!

I found my hotel within several minutes, checked in, dumped my bag, and armed with the map the hotel gave me, set off to explore.  Initially I was going to just get the trams here there and everywhere but in the end I decided to walk. These are the sights I saw on my walk..

First up is the Royal Museum of Fine arts.  I didn't go in, decided to keep on walking...

Wide Streets with tram tracks down the middle.

Spring hasn't quite arrived with the trees still heavily pruned awaiting the green leaves to come...

Everywhere there were bikes, but probably not as many as in Amsterdam!

I loved the name of this restaurant...

I arrived in the market square to find.... Chocolates.  Every second shop was a chocolate shop with fine high quality Belgian Chocolate.  I tried one or two but they were expensive so didn't buy. Some didn't allow you to take photographs!

In the main square is the city hall.  Lots of people around, including a police presence.  I asked and was told that there was a delegation of five people talking to the mayor, and the others were waiting for them to come out of the talk.

The main square and the buildings around it.  The Australian flag was flying as they were expecting the Australian Ambassador to visit that day.

The Notre Dame Cathedral...

Inside it was very beautiful...

I particularly liked the name of this store...

I walked on to the MAS - Musseum Aan de Stroom.  Impressive brand new building and only newly opened. It was recommended that I visit.  There were exhibitions but I chose to only walk around the building inside.  There are escalators going up each floor around the outside.  The windows are plexiglass and it gave you wonderful views.  

This is up one set of escalors looking out to the front.  The Plexiglass is curved all away around...

After going up 9 floors by escalator, the last floor was by stairs.  I loved that half way up, it told me I was 9.5 floors up!

From the top you could see for miles in all directions.  From here I could see some of the old buildings I visited on my walk..  They had little round cut outs in the glass where you can poke your camera lens out of to get the best photo with the glass in front.

After my long walk, I caught the train back to the main station and got a 'disabled' ticket into the zoo!  My deafness comes in handy at times!  The zoo gardens were beautiful and spring was definitely in the air.  The grass was beautifully mowed but you weren't allowed on it!

White Magnolia trees...

Beautiful planters full of spring bulbs..

A lot of the animals I hadn't seen before - so here's a few...  Firstly the Golden Poison Frog..  the enclosure was 'closing' to the public (end of day) so these were hurried and some didn't turn out. Kicking myself that I didn't check the image before moving on.

Another one but I didn't take the photo of the name, so I've forgotten already!!

The meercat I have seen before but I am quite pleased with this image so putting it up anyway!

A lovely Heron - this actually was wild, and not part of the zoo.  It was waiting by the seals, obviously about to do some easy fishing when the seals got fed!

More spring blossoms!

The rare and endangered Amur Tiger...
And finally the Yellow Mongoose of which I've never seen one before!

After the zoo my foot was agony, so I popped into the supermarket and got a cheap meal, caught the train back to the Hotel, ate dinner,  did some photos and hit the sack early. Antwerp - was stunning - I really enjoyed exploring the city.

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