Hello there Beastie friends! How are you keeping? Would you care to step outside of wherever you happen to be sheltering in place, and join us for a Beastie’s eye view of Antwerp? Come on then!
Explorer Beastie is waiting for us in the Old Town.
“Hey, let’s go and have a look at that!”
“That” is the Cathedral of Our Lady, the largest Gothic church in the Low Countries.
As tends to happen, there’s been a church here since 1124, but work on the incredible building you see above only began in 1352 (only!). The original design was for the cathedral to have two towers of equal height at the front, but as you might notice in the first photo, the nearer one is coming up a little… short.
Well, by 1521 the building work was almost done… They just needed to finish the rest of the south tower. Unfortunately, the whole place was gutted by fire a few years later, in 1533, and the powers that be thought it might be better to focus their energies on rebuilding and repairing the existing building before moving on to the towers. And because Europe has had quite a colourful history ever since, the church has never really had the chance to catch its breath and be finished to the architect’s original specs. I’m not sure when exactly they decided “Ah, sure it’s grand as it is” – maybe they will finish that tower someday – but I actually like it all the more because of this.
It was also most pleasant to wander the streets of the Old Town, which wind away from the Cathedral square in all directions. This place looks nice!
There was also more street art to enjoy…
… As we made our way to our next destination – The MAS (Museum aan de Stroom), down by the river.
And then, we found ourselves in Japan!
Careful, Explorer Beastie! That samurai on the right looks like he’s inviting you to join the fray!
The MAS has loads of excellent and varied exhibits, and after a bit of bad luck museum-wise early in the trip, we struck gold… On the day we visited, all exhibitions were free to enter! So we headed straight to “Cool Japan”, and found…
I’m not sure who is the more surprised in this photo. That “mermaid” appears not to have encountered a Beastie before.
There was also a whole lot of kawaii craziness to see!
We also took a trip to the top floor to see the city from on high!
The viewing platform is free of charge all the time, so it’s worth dropping by even if you don’t visit the galleries. And there’s plenty to see on the way back down, too!
We were surprised by how big Antwerp is. It has a full working harbour, and a lot of far-flung districts we will have to visit another time!
Now, what’s next? Something to eat, maybe?
Let’s head back to that place we spotted earlier. Wow, look at the inside! The whole interior is covered in old religious statues and some pretty gruesome gargoyles, too.
And look who’s here! Fancy meeting you, Garcia Beastie!
I’ll spare you the pictures of them glugging ale and stealing my chips.
Unfortunately, that’s the end of our holiday photos… And we won’t be making any new ones for a while! Stay tuned though, because we’ll be back on Friday to revisit another past Beastie project, and then it’ll be adventures from closer to home next week. As of today, we can expand our wandering range to 5km from our homes, and that’s got to be worth celebrating!
So stay safe, keep washing those paws, and we’ll see you soon!