Sunday, December 14, 2008

We love Antwerp

L and I love Antwerp! It's only an hour and a half train ride away from The Hague, and I can't believe it took us this long to discover it. 

First on our agenda when we got there was to do the touristy thing, of course. We visited Peter Paul Reuben's house from the seventeenth century, very ornate and imposing:

The whole town is built around the Grote Markt, in the center of which is the largest Gothic church in the Low Countries, built in between 1350 and 1520, known as the Cathedral of Our Lady:

The church is filled with masterpieces from the seventeenth century. Here's the impressive altar, with Ruben's Assumption of the Virgin (1626):

A tabernacle made by Picavet, Verbrugghen and de Potter based on the Ark of the Covenant is riveting, illuminated by a beam of light from the colorful stained glass windows:

Right outside the Cathedral is one of Europe's famous Christmas markets, where they sell food, drinks, and Christmas trinkets (just like other Christmas fairs all over the world!):

At around 3 p.m. we met up with RT and SW and we had a great time bar hopping and sampling different Belgian beers and liquers. I like the Jenever - a juniper based and strongly alcoholic traditional liquor of the Low Countries, from which gin evolved. I took three shots - apple, kiwi and hazelnut - and for this reason, I wasn't able to take any pictures from that point onwards. 

We ended the night well - we had really good dimsum (Dimsum!) in Antwerp's Chinatown. We made a mad dash for the 10:59 p.m. train back to The Hague, and were sleeping soundly back at home at 1:00 a.m.

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