You want to take home a souvenir for yourself?
You like liqueur?
'Elixir d'Avers' might be just what you are
looking for. It was brewed the first time in
1863 and the recipe needs 32 different
species of plants from all over the world. And
maybe that makes it more 'Antwerp' then
anything else.' F.X De Beukelaer' , the brewery
is still located in Antwerp and is
also 'purveyor to the royal household '.
Brewing this drink goes in 4 steps and the
last step is letting it rest in oak barrels. It
takes about 5 months to make.
How does it tast?
Hard to discribe. A bit sweet , with a lot of
flavour in it. A lot of spices. It is said to be a
great digestive and that it helps when your
having cramps in your stomach.
You will find it in a lot of places and it is
an ingredient for 'coffee d'Anvers'
(if you are wondering Anvers is
the French name for Antwerpen)
ANTWERP, daughter of the River...
ANTWERP, daughter of the River Scheldt is the second largest city of Belgium. It has the second largest harbor of Europe (after Rotterdam), and is also the diamond center of the World.
The history is also represented by the numerous paintings of Peter Paul Rubens who lived in the Antwerp of the early 17th century.
Be out there when the sun starts shining
As soon as the sun comes out the people will come outside and enjoy a great belgian beer in the sun.
This pic is taken at february 22nd, it was the first good day of the year. And although the sun was shining the temperature was not high, that is why everybody is wearing a coat.
Peter the great in Antwerp
Peter the Great is reported to come here as often as possible.
In fact, he was interested in shipbuilding. This led him to go incognito to Antwerp, see the shipbuilding works.
This statue of him was built as a memory of his stays in Antwerp.
My guide, Dannie, told me that at some times, Russians who live in Antwerp use to decorate the plaque on which the statue stands with flowers. This is a kind of well-kept secret. Though, it witnesses the past of this city.
L' Entrepot du Congo
L'Entrepot du Congo used to be a general warehouse, now turned into a trendy bar.
It is located in the quays along the Schelde river. Also in the same area, you would find modern space or lofts, like those in NYC or London. They used to be grain silos or old warehouses in the past.
Side note: I remembered joking and telling Dannie something like... "Mmmm... L'Entrepot du Congo... This is one of places where Belgium used to hide plunders?"... She laughed. I suspect she was surprised by my joke. Well, what did she have to do with that? She was not even born at the settling time...
Yes, Congo is rich.. of people, of natural resources, of kindness. Yet, like many countries in the area, Congo and Congolese people were victims of this plea that enabled only a handful of persons (locals and foreigners) to benefit from this wealth... I wouldn't give any name on it for it involving many practices that are inter-connected to each other. Dictatorship? corruption? bad management? large-scale looting?
Not only that plea but tribal divisions and wars too. Plus, it has been housing some wars that involve the neigbouring countries, and not the Congolese anymore. Weird situation is that, no? Like having Italians and Spaniards fighting on France territory, without the war involving the French ...
Now, the quays... those refurbishments sure gave the area this modern and (post-)industrial touch with those buildings with sailing- related themes. Sometimes, though, you will spot here and there some places that hadn't changed facade yet their functional design has changed.
L' Entrepot du Congo
De Burburestraat 2 While passing in front of this building, along the quays, I couldn't help but noticing that this should be one of rare French names there.
In fact, that is not the most striking though...
L'Entrepot du Congo ... The Congo Warehouse. The name itself evokes Belgium's past...
Congo was settled by Belgium and gained Independence in 1960. Still, effects are seen in the making up of Belgian population.
Congo and Belgium were, are, and will be tied for a long time (if not forever), I guess. Not only regarding governmental actions towards the ex-"daughter" Congo but also for young Belgians being of Congolese origin.
Many of them are from families that fled Congo decades ago. Some are making up the poorest layers of society, living in social housing, jobless. Others managed to find their way to success in Belgium... Academics people in private companies, others in public services. Some are doctors, lawuers, artists, sportsmen, businessmen(women) involved in many sectors. Just like any community living in Belgium, in fact. Like the Asian, the Maghrebian communities...
They are part of Belgian society too. A relatively important community amongst "minorities" since Belgium hadn't had that many old colonies: "only" the big Congo and the small "sisters", Burundi and Rwanda.