Europe

Excursion to Antwerp, the pleasant surprise of the trip

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We continue with the stories of trip to Flanders of the summer of 2013. This day we move from Ghent until Antwerp to visit the city during a day. If you are thinking of what to see in Antwerp in one day, this post will solve your doubts.

A little more than fifteen minutes walking from our apartment in the Ghent center, the Gent-Dampoort train station and there we went to take one of the numerous trains that connect Ghent with the city of Antwerp. Upon arrival, the magnificent Antwerp Central Station He welcomed us and we quickly learned that visiting this city would not disappoint us. Antwerp Central Station began construction in 1895 and finished its construction ten years later. When you get off the train, the glass roof is surprising and, once inside the lobby, the large dome in the waiting room leaves you speechless.

We headed towards the city center taking a walk through the Keyserlei Avenue, a wide boulevard with terraces and shops, and those that attracted the most attention were those of diamonds. Antwerp is world famous for diamond carving and near the central station you can already see dozens of shops with beautiful bright in their shop windows.

He historic center of Antwerp It is only about fifteen minutes walk but, instead of heading to the cathedral or the Grote Markt, we start visiting the beautiful conscienceplein square, the first pedestrian square in the city, named after the writer Hendrik Conscience. The square is full of lime trees and some small restaurants with terraces where you can sit and have a quiet drink. A building in the square stands out above all: the church of San Carlos Borromeo, an imposing baroque church that hides 43 paintings and numerous sculptures created by the famous painter Rubens.

In fact, Antwerp and Rubens They are almost holding hands. In addition to the church of San Carlos Borromeo, we can also find masterpieces of the painter in the Cathedral of Our Lady. This is the building that stands out in the center of Antwerp, as it has no less than seven ships and the bell tower is 123 meters high. They say that from above you can see the Brussels Atomium.

For us, the Antwerp Cathedral it brought us childhood memories, since we saw the series of drawings The Flanders Dog, which was about a very poor boy named Nello who had a dog named Patrasche. He liked to paint and his greatest hope in life was to see the painting The descent of the cross of Rubens. The poor man goes through a lot of trouble, but he finally manages to see the painting in the cathedral, although the story ends up having one of those outcomes that make you end up traumatized. However, upon entering the cathedral and contemplating the works of Rubens we understood why Nello insisted on crossing half a country to see them.

A few meters from the cathedral is another of Antwerp's nerve points: the Grote Mark or Plaza Mayor. This square oozes charm on all sides. On one side stands the town hall, which is a beautiful Renaissance building. On two other sides we have the typical guild houses flamenco, in this case built in the s. XVI and XVII, and, in the center, the Brabo statue at the central source that reminds us of the legend of the hand of Antwerp.

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