The river Schelde ... it was the first thing I saw in the mornings and the last thing I saw before I went to bed because I was so lucky to live right at the river Schelde with a terrific view over the river. Waking up in the morning and hearing a boat or a big ship passing by are some of my best memories. I was living right under the roof in the top floor of a typical Antwerp house with its narrow staircases. If you move into such a house remember that not every furniture will fit! There are two ways to bring your furniture into the flat - the staircase or the window. So window-sized or staircase-sized furniture in an Antwerp flat! ;-))
Fondest memory: Walks along the river and the views. Seeing the fireworks at the river Schelde. Eating out at a restaurant at the river, feels like being on vacation. There is a tunnel for pedestrians that leads you to the other side of the river where you have nice parks and you can go for long walks. The tunnel is called the Sint-Annatunnel and the entrance is at the Sint-Jansvliet. If you are claustrophobic, you better not go there - it takes you approx. 10 minutes to get to the other side.
Favorite thing: For the best view over the city, you have to cross the river. Go to the St Anna pedestrian tunnel and walk to the other side. From there you can have a great view over Antwerp. You'll see the Cathedral, The Boerentoren and many other buildings.
Favorite thing: When you're in Antwerp you almost have to take a walk along the Schelde. It's the major river that runs through Antwerp. Besides the river banks you'll also find some nice buildings here like The Steen Castle. If you're in Antwerp by night this will make a lovely picture.
Favorite thing: Since there are no bridges in Antwerp, you'll have to go elsewhere to get a good view over the river. The terraces are the answer. There are two of them, one on the northside and one on the soutside. The Northern Terrace is located next to The Steen. It's a paved walkway, just like the beginning of a bridge. It ends up at a sort of look out platform. You'll get a great look over the Schelde.
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
Fondest memory: 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.
We made a citywalk on a sunday morning! as we walked near "Het Steen". We saw a terrace where you were able to walk along the Schelde. At the end of this terrace a little cafe was situated. The Noorderterras. We sat down on the terrace and watched the beautiful riverscenes.
Walk up through the gate of "Het Steen" and follow the terrace to the end.
Everyone should once in his life visit a VT meeting in Antwerp! Not only is it nice to see your VT friends, and make new VT friends, but also Antwerp is the place to party.
See the travelogues for the story!
A sure not to missing thing is a walk along the river!
Especially when the sun goes setting, although she seems to be more setting on the pics then in reality `-)
This could be an off the beaten path tip as well, but I liked to keep the story of Aadil's visit rather together!
Fondest memory: In Summertime these little mushrooms `-) are very favorite spots for people who like to sit and read a book, or people who come there playing on their djembé (chasing away the ones who were enjoying the quietness and reading a book hehehe).
Some people get sooo attached to their "seats" they start to personalize them.
I think this one is Luis's :-)
Favorite thing: Stroll along the river front on the raised pedestrian walkways. There is one going from the square in front of 'De Steen' to the pedestrian tunnel. See pic. And the second one starts in 'De Steen' towards northern Antwerp.
Favorite thing: Antwerp the lovely and lively city has a lot to offer: when you visit please take a look at Groote Markt & Groenplaats before seeing the rest ;o) These are the best places to be, you can't leave Antwerp before seeing this! ;o)
When it gets dark and all the lights turn on, the harbour becomes a bit fairy.
There is a famous song about the lights of the Schelde, but pls don't ask me to sing... I only know the first lines `-)
It is such an idylic spot `-)
It took a bit of persuation but I could convince Aadil would look nice on this mushroom!
With the soft back light of the setting sun I think the picture came out ok