This is a perfect example of a lazy post. Why? Because I was looking for an excuse to post a photo.
This photo was taken from my car, as I approached the Cathedral and Groenplaats and the only reason I like it, is because of the tram lines and the geometric pattern they describe against the clouds, as the tram turns right to head into the centre.

To the left, you can make out the spire of Antwerp cathedral, the nave stretches out to its right (see building in centre of photo).

As I regularly work for the tourist office, and am even featured on one of their websites as an expat living in the city, I never eschew an opportunity for some blatant promotion. And since Lonely Planet recently voted Antwerp as one of the ten cities you must absolutely visit, here is their take on --A--.

"Even the New York Times agrees – Antwerp (Antwerpen in Flemish, Anvers in French) is Europe’s place to be. Appreciated by mode moguls, club queens, art lovers and diamond dealers, Belgium’s capital of cool and the country’s second-biggest city once again revels in fame and fortune.

Antwerp has a rollcall of drawing cards. Start with its manageable size and timeless quality. The old city centre, built around the country’s most impressive cathedral, is as beautiful and intimate as it was centuries ago. Tucked away in cobbled lanes and backstreets are thousands of restaurants and bars, antique shops, art galleries, exclusive chocolate out­lets, designer boutiques and diamond shops where Antwerpenaars enjoy spending money.

The whole city is something of an architectural museum, from the medieval riverside fortress to modern waterfront creations and the famous Cogels-Osylei, where architects ran riot. Most distinctive is its Gothic and Flemish baroque architecture; it was the home of Pieter Paul Rubens, northern Europe’s greatest baroque artist. A visit to his home and studio in the city centre gives fabulous insight into the painter’s personal life, after which you can track down some of his most acclaimed works in churches and museums dotted around the city.

Antwerp’s role as a celebrated fashion hub means it’s a magnet for shoppers. For a city of its size, it boasts an astonishing number of world-acclaimed fashion designers and many have set up boutiques here. Designer-led stores buzz with shoppers looking for the latest in hip clothing and accessories.

On the backbone of the fashion and growing gay scenes, Antwerp’s club culture has expanded. The city runs on party time. Club extravaganzas burst out in summer and the nightly scene in the regenerated docklands to the north and south of town beat to the coolest vibes.

It doesn’t end there. The world’s largest diamond-cutting industry operates behind discreet fa├žades in the Jewish neighbourhood. In the sailors’ quarter just north of the city centre, bored women sit framed in red lights while itinerant Philippino, Sri Lankan and East European seaman wander the seedy streets. Turkish, African and Chinese communities live northwest of Franklin Rooseveltplaats, ultratrendy style victims have taken over the fashion district, and businessmen and upper-class Flemish hang out around Koning Albertpark.

Cosmopolitan, confident and full of contrasts…Antwerp’s an essential stop on your Belgium itinerary."

So go ahead and visit. I'm sure you will enjoy it.

8 messages:

UrbanVox said...

That could be interesting!!!
fashion hub tho... would be dangerous to take Vic!

Milo said...

Sounds like a fun city!

luscious said...

ok, I just have to counter all that Antwerp-lobbying...
Ghent has been voted third on the National Geographic list of the world's most authentic cities (or something like that).
that being said, the missus and I were in the Metropole last Tuesday when we paid a visit to the last day of the Boekenbeurs...

Lula de Montes said...

@Milo: London rules too.
@UrbanVox: yeah, it will do a number on your credit card
@Luscious: I know, I translated the press release!

luscious said...

@lula: you did, did ya... pity you didn't bump us ahead a few spots while translating;)
I agree with you on London, which is by the way the best city for all your wedding proposals--I should know!

Lula de Montes said...

chuckling at Luscious' remarks. I did my best, but they wouldn't let me change the source text.

Vic said...

As if it would be dangerous to take me to a fashion hub...

Sven said...

You must direct me to your new virtual abode. Sadly I am more likely to visit that than Antwerp any time soon (although it does sound lovely).

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