Talk to the hand...its over there...
Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
58Trip End Dec 01, 2006
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It is really interesting and unbelievable how different the people consider themselves to be even though they are less than an hour from each other. For example the people in Antwerp have a crazy dialect compared to the people of Brugge and I am told that if a foreigner learns Flemish from one particular city, they wouldn't be able to understand what the other people are saying. The Belgians from the east speak a mixture of Dutch and German and the people of the south speak Dutch with French mixed together and the north speaks more pure Dutch
Antwerp is much more like a real city than Brugge, because there is such an emphasis in Brugge on keeping it like the original medieval city for tourism, rather than having any major industry. It is situated on a massive river and it's main attraction is walking along the river, which everyone does. There are different sections that people live in and according to this tourism guide, they don't like to mix around with each other. On one side of the city, there is the city centre with the bell tower and the church (like every European city) and on the other side, the newer section with housing and other stuff that cities contain. Connecting them under the river is a 500m long tunnel that is meant for large flows of pedestrian and cycling traffic
The beers in Belgium that most people drink are like middies in Perth and they call them 'pinches' (not sure about the spelling). It is just a 250mL glass of the regular pilsner or lager. Most places have Maes, Primus or Jupiler and it was in Antwerp that I saw Stella Artois for the first time in Belgium. I think that it is more of a Walonia (southern province of Belgium) drink, simply because it has a French sounding name. The great thing about pinches is that they are small enough to drink for all night because the time that you spend waiting for the next beer is enough to ensure that you don't get too pissed. A pinche is also always an easy drinking beer that isn't too heavy in taste or alcoholic content. Jupiler is one such beer that is considered 'light' in alcoholic content by Belgians. For your information, Jupiler is 5.5% alcohol.
I would really like to go to Antwerp again, but at night because I can see that it has some really cool bars and clubbing districts. One of the big attractions for tourists is the red light district. I walked through it for a while whilst trying not to laugh. It is a copy of the one in Amsterdam with big buildings with lots of glass doors
In Antwerp, there is a statue/fountain where a guy has been slain and another dude is standing on top of him, has severed his hand and is about to throw it. Because of the colour of the statue, it doesn't really come out in the photo, but is really weird - out of the stumped arm, there are lots of water jets coming out and the head is the same - quite a violent thing to have in the main square. Just down the road, I saw a restaurant with a statue of a man beckoning you in. There are a few identical ones in Perth outside of The Greek and Valentinos except this one has had his hand severed, just like the statue.
Completely non-specific to Antwerp, but really cool were the basins of a bar I went to
After visiting Antwerp, I came home to the going away drinks of some of my workmates. They were/still are a lovely Canadian couple with a quirky sense of humour that complemented mine nicely - we had a good time chewing the fat on various occasions. Sad to see them go, but I might go meet up with them somewhere and they are also coming back to Belgium some time in the future. A couple of days before I left, Ellen (Canadian girl) cut my hair when we were drunk and I think it came out surprisingly well, all things considered. You can tell that it wasn't done by a barber, but it has a nice scruffy look to it I think.
In the apartment now there are five Australians out of a total of six inhabitants. The other is a Canadian lady - ooh yeah, go the Commonwealth! We have done the right thing and hung an Australian flag in the window, so people know we are here haha
I am really looking forward to the world cup: can almost smell it.
Other than that, nothing major to report.