Instead of watching the Eurovision Song Contest yesterday evening, which honestly I didn’t mind missing even though the Eurovision BBQ last year with lots of Greeks and French people was really nice, and despite O and I meeting at a Eurovision party 6 years ago (21st May though), we headed to Antwerp. No, not as two friends (hej Lia!) thought I said yesterday on the phone… Amsterdam!
We were meeting up with four of my friends from my master’s year (we graduated 10 years ago in September!), a Flemish couple who lives in Antwerp, a guy from Ghent and another one coming from… Amsterdam! The locals had suggested that we meet at the new museum, Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) as it was being inaugurated yesterday.
The abbreviation MAS is a play with words as the river running through Antwerp is called Maas in Dutch (Meuse in French and English), and the museum is dedicated to the interlinked relationship between the river, the city of Antwerp and the port (2nd largest in Europe).
We did the mistake of using the GPS to get to the museum – our GPS was inherited from O’s brother (who was not happy with it!) so the maps are old and the streets in Antwerp are new… or rather the whole network of streets have been redesigned with new tramlines etc. On top of the fact that we couldn’t turn where the GPS wanted us to turn, it took us through the centre of Antwerp instead of around it – the way we would have gone if we hadn’t trusted the navigator 😕
When we finally arrived, a little frustrated and annoyed (lesson learnt, do not trust the GPS when you think that you know where you are going!), it turned out that our local hosts were late. So we walked around the museum area, and enjoying the sunshine despite the wind.
However, we were told that there would be a so-called “flash mob” of dancers performing at 18.00 so we found a sunny spot and waited. We could spot the dancers by their shoes… (see photo below)
Once our friends arrived, we visited one small exhibition with an aerial view of the whole port system of Antwerp (impressive!) and then it was time for dinner. The locals were on bikes, but we took the car and got lost (again!) a few times before arriving late to the Italian restaurant Primo where we had a lovely meal together. Of course catching up on news / gossip about other mutual friends, and discussing match-making and internet dating among other things.
O and I finished off the evening with a star-lit stroll across the poetically named Dageraadplaats (Dawn square)… before heading home to Brussels. The “stars” are acually small lights on a grid above the basket ball court on the very cosy square!
When entering Brussels from the motorway, we were stopped in a police control – heavily armed police men were stopping every car to check papers and alcohol levels. A bit intimidating to see police holding machine guns, but they were friendly enough and didn’t give O a fine for forgetting his id and driver’s license at home (opps!).
*) And apparently the name comes from “high beeches” in Dutch (höga bokar in Swedish!!)