On Tuesday 4th December, Niels' sister Soetkin acted as our tour guide for Antwerp (as she goes to uni there). She took her job very seriously and gave us a wonderful walking tour of the city. The day was very cold (freezing in the words of Sarah and I but Niels said it doesn't count as freezing unless it goes under zero degrees) and the wind was brutal.
Antwerp Central Station (voted the 4th most beautiful in the world)
Soetkin showed us many of the historical buildings in Antwerp including the tallest building in Antwerp, the Cathedral of our Lady, which was supposed to have two spires of equal height, but the second one never got finished. We visited the main squares and the Statue of Barbos who, legend has it, cut of the hand of a giant and threw it into the river, as this is what the giant was doing to the towns people when they wouldn't pay a toll for crossing the river. We walked past Antwerp Castle and made our way to a 572m pedestrian tunnel that goes under the Scheldt River, connecting old Antwerp with new Antwerp.
Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of our Lady)
Statue of Brabo and the giant's hand
Carolus Borromeuske Church
Het Steen Castle (literally means 'The Stone')
The pedestrian tunnel under the Scheldt River
The old wooden escalators that lead you underground so you can walk through the tunnel under the river.
As the light disappeared, we found ourselves in the main shopping strip and I paid a visit to the Disney store (we really need one of those in Perth!). We stopped for coffee at the 'best coffee shop in Antwerp', according to Soetkin. It's a slightly more interesting one, compared with all the run-of-the-mill coffee shops as you get lots more options, Belgian style. I had a hot chocolate with Toblerone which was essentially hot milk with a bar of Toblerone in it. Unfortunately, it melted before I had time to get a photo, but Sarah and Soetkin had latte's with crushed Maltesers on top (which I did have time to get one of).
Coffee with Maltesers
Back home, Niels decided to make vol au vent and home made frites. Unfortunately, home made frites means hand-drying every single chip, something which was our designated job once Sarah, Soetkin and I returned from Antwerp. It is the kind of job that brings to mind the 'one Powerball and I'm out of here' advertisements.
Soetkin and Sarah drying frites
Vol au vent
After a delicious dinner, us three girls had some fun with our hats and my photobooth app and then watched The Cabin in the Woods.
Photobooth fun :)
Attempting to swap each others hats before the next picture was taken. We could never quite do the 3rd one in time!