2023 Week Notes - Week 41

I was off work again this week, instead spending the working week in Antwerp (Belgium). Becka and I got the Eurostar from London St Pancras station to Brussels-Midi/Zuid station and then hopped onto another train from Brussels-Midi/Zuid station to Antwerp Central. The journey was about 3 and a half hours and included a time zone change so my maths might be wrong here.

We stayed at the NH Collection Antwerp Centre hotel, which was next to Antwerp Central station. Aside from our journey into Antwerp, we walked everywhere during our visit though there were a lot of transport options around the city.

Some of the places we visited:

  • Chocolate Nation. One of the best things about the visit to this chocolate museum was that at the end of the visit, you are given a spoon so that you can try all the flavours of chocolate that are sold in the gift shop.
  • Plantin-Moretus museum. One of my favourite things about our trip to this museum was that they were bragging about how many type faces that this family owned. It was somewhere around 900 but likely higher. I think this was similar to the number of typefaces web developers go through before deciding to use system fonts.
  • KMSKA - Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp. I don't know anything about fine art but we walked around this museum and thought it was interesting.
  • The observation deck at the top of the MAS Museum. Entry was free and there are great views over the city.
Five chocolate tasting machines, each with a description of the chocolate they contain hanging on the wall above them. In front of the machines is a large chocolate fountain with caramel coloured chocolate.
Chocolate tasting.

Some of the landmarks around Antwerp we walked past on our way somewhere else. Brabo's fountain, the Cathedral of Our Lady, the statue of Nello & Patrache, and Antwerp train station, all fall into this category.

The MAS museum. In the bay of water in front of the museum is a tennis ball advertising the tenning tournament being held in Antwerp.
The MAS museum.

Some of the places we ate:

  • Fish A'Gogo. A tiny restaurant that has a handful of tables. We ate mussels and chips here.
  • Meat Factory. Round the corner from Fish A'Gogo, we had steak and chips here one evening.
  • Compagnie Belge. Belgian waffles.
  • Have a Roll. Cinnamon rolls.

We had a rather strange ending to our stay in Antwerp. I mentioned that the hotel we stayed in was right next to Antwerp Central train station. On the day we were due to travel home, Antwerp Central station was closed due to two suitcases being left unattended in the train station. We were initially unable to leave our hotel due to its close proximity to the train station, and we had armed police outside the front of the hotel updating us on the situation. Eventually we were allowed to leave the hotel with police supervision but we were not allowed near the train station. Kind of annoying when your travel plans were heavily dependent on rail travel. We made it on a bus that took us to Brussels-Nord train station and managed to get to Brussels-Midi/Zuid station in time for our Eurostar train back to London.

The hotel staff could not have done more in that situation. They were really helpful in trying to find us alternative transport to Brussels, constantly kept us updated with information, and somehow managed to keep calm throughout.

On reflection, I'm not surprised that I felt really tired by the end of the week. Also, for anyone keeping up with my week notes, yes that is the second time in as many weeks that I've been escorted by police in a European city.

The Antwerp Central train station building at night. The facade of the train station is lit up with white lights that reflect off the gold fixtures on the extorior of the building. The dome at the top of the station is illuminated with a soft yellow light.
Antwerp Central train station.

What has changed on this site:

  • No changes this week.

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