The Misty City
After the cozy charm of Bruges and the warm festivity of Brussels, arriving in Antwerp was somewhat of a disappointment. The weather was cold and damp, and the high street was full of uninspiring chain stores, decorated with gaudy Christmas lights. It felt a long way from the twinkling charm of the previous two Belgium cities we had just visited.
Having read some brilliant things about Antwerp, we persevered and wandered towards Copyright book shop. A beautifully designed store with an incredible glass panel entrance, this bookshop contains a huge variety of coffee table reading material. Set over two floors, it’s peaceful atmosphere and inviting displays make it a great place to while away an hour or two. Reading the books felt encouraged and it was nice to be able to pick up and flick through books which in other stores are often wrapped in plastic.
Encouraged by this, we began to wander further into the smaller streets. Away from the mainstream chain stores and generic Christmas markets, Antwerp’s true character began to shine through. The mist which had made the city appear somewhat bleak when we first arrived now added charm and personality to the quiet streets. As we headed to the harbour we went past several coffee shops boasting independent roasteries, as well as independent galleries and print shops. All it took was a short walk along the harbour to the top of the Museum aan de Stroom for us to decide that Antwerp was by far our favourite city in Belgium, that it had a hidden charm we had not experienced before, and that the one day we had set aside to wander around it’s sights was simply not long enough.