Antwerpen and Brussels

My schedule on weekdays again – Eat-work-sleep, Tick-tok-tick. clockwork ..

 

On Saturday, we had been to Antwerpen for the second time. We visited the Diamond Divas, a diamond exhibition. Tickets -15 Euros (which included a free ticket to the Mode Museum and Book Museum), worth?? 100%

This is supposed to be the biggest diamond museum of the world; they had displayed original diamonds from Hollywood movies, like Marlin Monroes golden diamond, diamonds worn by Kate Winslet (Titanic), Halle Berry, Monica Bellucci (Matrix) and many more. We also saw diamonds that belonged to Kings/ Queens from all parts of the world, many of which belonged to the Indian kings.

 

—The Diamond Divas, Diamond Museum—

 

After the diamond museum, we visited the other 2 museums; and as we headed back to the railway station, we heard ‘digchik’ music from loud speakers nearby. We followed the music; MTV had organized a charity fashion show A naked ramp walk. We had a nice time watching the ramp walk ;-)…

 

—One of the few decent Pics from the ramp walk—

Few facts for the travelers (Antwerpen):

Antwerpen, (also called as Anvers) is a harbor. The city is also the diamond capitol of the world, Anvers had hosted Olympics in 1920.

It is a nice and calm city, which has many big architectural buildings.Indians (Particularly Gujjus) dominate diamond business here (Overtaking the Jews, who used to dominate before). So, you can find all Indian glossaries here, including the spices, vegetables, fruits, pickles, dhal…

Places to visit: Diamond Museum, Antwerpen Zoo, City Railway Station, Harbour, and a brief stroll exploring around in the city.

 

Our next outing was on the very next day-Sunday, to Brussels. Our plan- Go to Brussels Zuid and do a bit of shopping at the Market. Then go to Brussels Centraal watch Grand place, Mannacans Pis and later if possible go to Atomium, Mini Europeetc. As usual we got up late, took train tickets to Brussels and reached Zuid Market at around 10. A crowded Sunday market it was, where you can buy stuff like electric gadgets, home needs, groceries, jackets, shirts, shoes, fruits.. I purchased a jacket for 22 Euros, and few gifts for my friends back home. There were a few Pakistani shops among them as well, selling stuffs at a very low price.

Then we left for Brussels Central, the main attraction here is the Grand place. It is a big open area surrounded on all the four sides by grand palaces, all the four sides have magnificent architecture. Whenever you see tourism video or an article on Belgium, the first thing you see is the grand place. After spending sometime in the Grand Place, we roamed around in the city till our stomachs started growling; luckily we came across an Indian Restaurant Feux-de-Bengale close to the Grand Place. We had a fine expensive North-Indian lunch overthere.. 

As we walked back towards the grand place, I saw Tintins paintings on the city roads and apartments.

 

—Tintin paintings on the apartment walls—

Tintin has been my favorite comic hero since my schooldays [I have a nice collection of Tintin comics and have read them hundred times]. We came across the official Tintin shop, and I bought posters and toys of characters from Tintin from there. We were told that the official house of Tinin was on the same street. And Herge (Author of Tintin series) stayed somewhere near.

Then we started looking for the Manakin Pis for a while searching here and there, and finally few travelers pointed us a direction, on following the direction, we found circle; we were confused where to go next. But on looking around we found that we were right next to the Manakin, it was just so small and on a small corner, we could easily have missed it if it had not been for the number of people around taking pictures. Manakin is a small statue, whose avatar keeps changing now and then, it pees all the time and sometimes pees on visitors.

 

–In front of the Manakins Pis—

After the Mankin, we walked till the Brussels palace along the Brussels Park. We saw the Automium from far off, since we were running short of time, had to prepare dinner at home, and also had a busy schedule at office the next day; we had to head back home without visiting the Automium.

Destination Belgium

I boarded my flight at the Bangalore Hindustan Airport on 5th April at 9.30 PM. I had my transit in Mumbai. A long flight it was (12 Hrs journey it was); I met an Italian businessman on the flight. We had nice conversation.

We reached Brussels airport at 7.40 AM, I had to answer a few questions regarding my stay in Belgium to the Immigration authorities. And I collected my baggage, exchanged 1000 Euros worth Travelers cheque and came out of the airport to get a taxi and woala it was around 2 degree temperature. I felt frozen in no time. We hired a taxi (BMW :-)), and drove towards our new home : Mechelen. 82, TenderStraar, 2800 Belgium.

 

We were welcomed by my 2 colleagues who already stayed at that place. We spent sometime talking, had breakfast and decided to play cricket , [On a turf field which had a WACA like Pitch, which was called MCC- Mechelen Cricket Club ]; later we did a bit of shopping at Carrefore. Both of us decided to stay in the same service apartment and everything got settled here.

Weather here is chilled, around -3 to 8 degrees. Ive never come out of my thermals ever since ive landed here..There was a snowfall on Sunday but only for a few minutes. Sunrises at 6.30AM and sunsets at 9.30 PM here… Yes!! , we have sunlight till 9.30 PM. But if you come out of your place after 8, ull be frozen. We have room-heaters at every corners. We get 24/7 hot water in taps, and have thick blankets on beds. Time difference b/w IST is 4 1/2hours.