After the Brussels conference ended, I decided to stay on a few days in Belgium to do some more exploring and be an official tourist. The conference was over on a Wednesday, and I spent Thursday attending the mid-year meeting for the Fulbright Schumann scholars, meeting with a new contact in Brussels, and traveling out to Leuven to stay with one of the Belgian Fulbrighters.
Friday, I took an early train back to Brussels to meet up with Brendan, one of the Fulbrighters in Spain, for a day trip to Antwerp.
Antwerp, like Leuven, is in the Flemish part of Belgium. Given that Brussels is French-speaking, it was nice to get to see the other side of Belgium. We had a whole day to tour around the city, and it felt very different from Brussels. Where the Brussels architecture was all gray and lit up, Antwerp was very steepled. The rooftops were an incredible sight.

The train station. Lovely. We also got good waffles here.

So, in late morning, we arrived at the beautiful Antwerp train station. We then visited the Peter Paul Rubens house, which was beautiful and hosts a museum of his works and life. He modified much of the house and gardens himself, so seeing it is seeing his inspiration.

A fireplace in the Rubens museum, which is set in his home.

A Rubens curio cabinet.

The outside of the house was incredible. This part contains his studio.

The Rubens gardens, which were incredible.

Rubens designed and added this gate himself, and then placed the two figures on top.

From the museum, we went to the Antwerp cathedral, then got lunch at a small cafe near the cathedral. The cathedral is right now host to an art exhibition of altarpieces created for the city by its various guilds. It was pretty incredible.

Inside the Cathedral.

Part of the choir seating. I LOVE that window.

These were the seats owned by various patrician families in Antwerp when the cathedral was built. They're all behind the main altar, where they would have the best view without being well seen themselves.

After lunch, we walked around the city, saw the lovely town hall, walked down to the seaside to look at a castle, and then went to the Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS). We officially concluded that Antwerp has the strangest statues of any European place we’d visited.

This is the town hall, with the oddest of all the statues. This one represents the story behind the name of the city. According to legend, a giant living in a nearby river would take a toll from everyone who crossed, and for those who couldn't pay, he'd take a hand instead. Eventually, the giant was killed by a young hero who took his hand and threw it into the river. Under said young man, however, is a young woman, a boat, a fish, and a seal. It was something to see.

This guy (and his friends) was outside the castle.

Me and Brendan, my travel buddy.

This is the MAS, which is divided up by floor. Each floor has its own theme, and the roof has an incredible view. It was a great museum, and well worth the visit.

And for my last day in Brussels:

The peeing boy was all dressed up!


Dopo la conferenza di Bruxelles è conclusa, ho deciso di rimanere qualche giorno in Belgio per fare ancora un po ‘esplorare e di essere un turista ufficiale. La conferenza era finita in un Mercoledì e Giovedi ho trascorso frequentando il meeting di metà anno per gli studiosi di Schumann Fulbright, incontro con un nuovo contatto a Bruxelles, e viaggiare verso Leuven a stare con uno dei Fulbrighters belgi.
Venerdì, ho preso un treno presto ritorno a Bruxelles per incontrarsi con Brendan, uno dei Fulbrighters in Spagna, per una gita di un giorno ad Anversa.
Anversa, come Leuven, si trova nella parte fiamminga del Belgio. Dato che Bruxelles è francofona, è stato bello andare a vedere l’altro lato del Belgio. Abbiamo avuto un giorno intero per girare intorno alla città, e si sentiva molto diversa da Bruxelles. Dove l’architettura di Bruxelles era tutto grigio e illuminato, Anversa era molto steepled. I tetti erano uno spettacolo incredibile.
Così, in tarda mattinata, siamo arrivati ​​alla bella stazione ferroviaria di Anversa. Abbiamo poi visitato la casa di Peter Paul Rubens, che era bellissima e ospita un museo delle sue opere e la vita. Ha modificato gran parte della casa e giardino se stesso, così vedendo che sta vedendo la sua ispirazione.
Dal museo, siamo andati alla cattedrale di Anversa, poi ottenuto il pranzo in un piccolo caffè vicino alla cattedrale. La cattedrale è in questo momento ospita una mostra d’arte di pale d’altare realizzate per la città dalle sue varie corporazioni. E ‘stato davvero incredibile.
Dopo il pranzo, abbiamo camminato per la città, ha visto la sala bella città, scese al mare a guardare un castello, e poi è andato al Museo Aan de Stroom (MAS). Siamo ufficialmente concluso che Antwerp ha le strane statue di qualsiasi luogo europeo che avevamo visitato.


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