Antwerp: Brabo Who and for How Long-?
Brabo (Armando’s countryman, grin) chopped off the giant’s hand and threw it into the sea, saving the villagers from tyranny. Thus: ‘ant’ = ‘hand’ and ‘werpen’ = ‘to throw away.’
There’s a great graphic fountain in the city center square with him holding up a severed hand that gushes water. At his feet lies the fallen giant, with more water sprays spouting from his stump. You’ve gotta love the Belgians.
Antwerp is famous for: its diamond scene and its publishing history. We opted for the less-traveled route, circa the 1930s and the Zomerfest going on now.
They do have regulations for what you can wear, for gents speedos or lycra shorts. Ladies lycra bikini or one-piece. The reasoning behind it is that it was an Olympic pool and they still maintain the cleanliness standards of 1933. Baggy shorts bring in too much bacteria. 4 Euros.
The AntwerpZomerfest: Sometimes in travels, it’s all about timing. We were lucky enough to be in Antwerp to enjoy part of the Zomerfest/Summerfest. They created an outdoor free film festival on the canal under a hangar, on a man-made beach.
We opted for ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’ For those of you that haven’t attempted watching it, it’s nearly 4 hours long. There was free soup/soep for the intermission, but we were dying by that time and headed home. We still don’t know what happened to Ali.
The pedestrian tunnel is the longest underground tunnel, from the 1930s. The escalators are made of wood and the entire span has period white and blue tiles lining the lower walls. Not to mention the nice fact when it’s sweltering out it’s possibly the coolest place to be in Antwerp.
Other Places to Check Out:
The Photo Museum: (FoMu Waalskai 47, €7) The photography here is popular with professionals and tourists alike, with the diverse offerings and progressive shows.
Plantin-Moretus Museum: Not just for lovers of the printed word, it’s a brilliant glimpse into the history of print in all forms.
In all, we grooved on Antwerp. The parking area next to the canal was one of the best we’ve stayed at; meeting Niki, Veronique (thanks again for the books) and Demona; learning about Belgium was fantastic fun; and despite being quiet we liked Antwerp’s nooks and crooks.