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Review: Antwerp



How Antwerp got its name!

  • By SilverTraveller Rowsie

    136 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • Jul 2013
  • Adult family

135 people found this review helpful

My sister and I often visit our cousin who lives in Rotterdam but we wanted to meet up somewhere else in Europe for a mid week break. We chose Antwerp as we had never been there before. My sister and I got the Eurolines coach from London, Victoria and endured a 10 hour journey! In fact the coach was quite comfortable and considering how cheap Euroline tickets are it was well worth the long journey. (We did however worry about the fact that on both the journeys there and back the drivers hardly spoke a word of English! Had any of the English people on board had a problem it would have been very difficult to communicate with them.)

Our cousin, Janet, drove from Holland and we all met up at The Leopold Hotel in Quuinten Matsijslei. This was a small city hotel but the rooms were very comfortable and the staff were especially friendly and helpful. The hotel overlooks the city park (Stadspark) which is a lovely green oasis in the middle of the town. It is also near the diamond district and the central shopping area so we were very well situated.

Antwerp is only a small city but there is quite a lot to do. We found the beautiful square Grote Markt which has the impressive Stadhuis (Town Hall) and the most wonderful, but somewhat gruesome, statue of a man throwing a severed hand high into the air! The story behind this is that, according to legend, a giant called Druon Antigon settled on the Scheldt river demanding a toll from passing boats. Any captain brave enough to confront him had his hand cut off as punishment. One day he met his match, Silvius Brabo (a Roman soldier) who slew the giant, chopped his hand off and flung it into the river! The dutch words "hand werpen" mean "hand thrown" and these were eventually shortened to the name Antwerp! Water runs from numerous parts of the statue (including the severed hand) and it is a wonderful place for children to run under to cool down. (In fact my cousin Janet, finding the weather rather hot, also cooled off in this way!)

We discovered that the Belgium reputation for certain foods is indeed true! Mussels, waffles and French fries are amongst their specialities and were eaten enthusiastically! And of course we had to sample the beer and chocolate and there were many little bars and cafes where we could indulge ourselves.

The Cathedral of Our Lady is well worth a visit with its spires seen from every point in Antwerp. Up close it is just as impressive with its Rubens paintings inside. There are also lots of museums. One we visited was the Rockoxhuis which was originally a house owned by a 17th century mayor who was a friend and patron of Rubens. There is a delightful courtyard here which was a delight to sit in out of the sun for a while.

One day we ventured outside the city to the Middelheim Sculpture Park which was easily reached by bus. This huge park had both traditional and abstract sculptures by people such as Rodin, Henry Moore, Jean Arp and many more. You could easily spend a day here and they had a wonderful little café that served excellent food.

Antwerp is a great place to visit for a short break. Now we are busily trying to get rid of those extra pounds….far too many waffles and french fries I'm afraid!!

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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