zondag 12 februari 2017

This town has dragged me down

Having lived in Antwerp for nearly 15 years and been commuting to it for another 23, has somewhat dulled my senses to the city's charms.


On sunny days, my daily commute can be a small delight, the sunlight spotlighting even the ugliest of buildings, so that I'm itching to take out my camera and start snapping away.


Even the sometimes grating juxtaposition of old and new, the result of years of madness and bad planning, can look charming when the timid morning sunshine is casting its soft glow.


On dark winter days, which are numbing the mind, it's much harder to find charm in my day-to-day surroundings.







The dirty concrete, the endless stream of traffic, the clanging trams and honking cars and the plaintive wailing of emergeny sirens aren't exactly soothing for the soul.

Then, it's a hostile world out there, on which I would like to close the curtains for a day.












But negativity doesn't get one anywhere so, even when the rain is falling down in buckets, I often use my camera as therapy during lunch break.



If you care to look, and look hard enough, there's beauty to be discovered everywhere, even in the most boring of shopping centres.




If I'm having a rubbish day, the next best thing to some vintage shopping is taking my camera and walking around the city streets, playing at being a tourist, trying to see it all as if for the first time.




Never venturing too far away, though, as I only have a 45 minute lunch break!









Just a five minute walk takes me to Antwerp's Gothic cathedral.

Here, I am joining the hordes of tourists admiring the magnificent carvings above the main entrance, depicting the Last Judgment.

Amazingly, they were only added between 1903 and 1906.


A less than ten minute walk in another direction takes me to one of Antwerp's exclusive shopping areas, which is dominated by the Bourla theatre. This neoclassical building was designed in 1827 by city architect Pierre Bourla, its construction finished in 1834.



As I was having a bit of an off-week, I was glad that Friday finally came around. In spite of the weatherman's promise that it would be sunny, the day was as grey as its predecessors, and we were even treated to a light dusting of snow.


But I had the afternoon off, and met my friends Inez and Kris for coffee at our usual haunt, De Lantaren, a cozy coffee shop tucked away in a side street not far from Antwerp's Grote Markt.

After a quick catch-up on each other's lives and a good old-fashioned gossiping session, Inez and I said goodbye to Kris, and continued the afternoon with some vintage shopping.

It was the first day of the sales at Think Twice, our favourite chain of vintage shops, and everything was 30% off.



Nevertheless, I only bought two items: an almost pristine pair of shiny black open heeled shoes, and a short-sleeved green Tricel jumper closing with a zip at the back. Look at those cute little bows on the front!






Here's to hoping for a more sunny outlook next week, and some blue skies outside my office window.

Until then, I seem to be providing the only bit of colour in a sea of grey ...



30 opmerkingen:

  1. I totally agree about 'photo therapy'. Another aspect about trying to find interesting shots is looking skywards and discovering things you've never even noticed before. Coffee with friends in a cosy café followed by a Think Twice sale sounds a perfect way to end the week. Even though you made only two purchases, they are lush! xx

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    1. I'm always looking up in search of photo opportunities. I'm surprised I didn't have any major accidents yet, but I often see people looking up too, to see what I am looking at ... xxx

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  2. I always find posts about people's home towns really interesting, especially finding out about fascinating buildings like those in your post. Those black shoes you brought are gorgeous - I'm envious! xx

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    1. I like reading posts like that too! And Antwerp really is an interesting town, which I guess will provide me with the necessary subject matter for another couple of posts ... xxx

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  3. Oooh, so pretty! I loved seeing your journey around! I am the same with my camera! I love finding interesting things to photograph!

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    1. Thank you Kezzie! I guess that walking around with your camera makes you look at things differently. xxx

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  4. Oh it is so grey at the moment isn't it?, it makes me feel so flat. Definitely a good time to reach for the colour.

    I know what you mean about not seeing your city anymore. I have worked in Oxford for 30 years now and it took doing a walking tour with some prospective students to open my eyes to the beauty again. Mind you we have some pretty hideous concrete too, good old 1970s planners!

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    1. Joining a walking tour, even in your home town, sounds like a wonderful idea. When we were in Oxford, we set out on our own, but I'd found a really good, detailed guide on the Internet, which made you look at things you would otherwise have missed. We did indeed see some ugly 1970s concrete too ... xxx

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  5. You had me running for the hills Ann, I don't do towns/cities really, apart from an odd visit. I'm so glad I don't have the daily slap of working in one.
    That's a great idea though of going out with your camera when you are a bit cheesed off
    I hope this week is better for you. We've started with fog and wind and bitter cold so it doesn't bode well for a Monday does it
    Lynn xxx

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    1. Oh, I'd run for the hills too, Lynn, only there aren't any hills to speak of here ... I'd love to live in the country, but I love the thrill of the city too ... I would never be able to live there again, mind you. xxx

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  6. super cute jumper! and in green!! <3
    thanks for sharing your photographing therapy with us! you snapped some pretty cool pictures!
    i hope you´l get some sun this week! huge hugs! xxxxxx

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    1. Thanks Beate. As you know, I'm a sucker for anything green. It just screams, buy me! We did finally have some sunshine and today was almost spring like ... xxx

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  7. It's so true that you become blind to your usual surroundings. I keep saying I'm going to have a good look around in my home town to see what's new and visit some old favourite places. You've inspired me!
    Your cathedral is stunning, I could spend hours in there!

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  8. Antwerp has some gorgeous architecture, sometimes you just need to look up and see what is above street level. Great bike shot, and those patent T bar slingbacks are gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks Claire! Those bikes are city bikes, which are stationed at various places. You can buy a pass (even for just one day if you like) to use them. xxx

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  9. I totally agree, there's beauty everywhere, you just have to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate it.
    Antwerp looks wonderful and the juxtaposition of the old and new keeps it real. I'm a big fan of cities, the thought of having to live in the countryside fills me with dread.
    Love the slingbacks and the green top! xxx

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    1. Of course, in a real, living city, old and new have to live side by side. Unfortunately, in Antwerp, they pulled down quite a lot of beautiful old buildings and replaced them with concrete monstrosities in the 60s and 70s. xxx

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  10. I really love the cathedral, but then I'm a sucker for religious buildings. I love the juxtaposition of new and old, London is fantastic for this too xxx

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    1. I love religious buildings too, even though I am not religious. I can't resist having a peek inside a church. xxx

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  11. It's a spirit-sapping time of year, isn't it? Getting out with your camera is definitely a good plan.

    That green top is ace. I'd fight you for it ;-)

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    1. I love being out and about with my camera! That green top would look lovely with your hair! xxx

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  12. I know what you mean about dark winter days and finding it harder to find charm in your surroundings. I live in the countryside and during the winter months everything's just wet, muddy and bare but in the spring, summer and autumn it just comes alive with colour and beauty. I cannot wait for the leaves to start forming on the trees and the flowers to pop up from the ground. Won't be long now! xx

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    1. I don't mind winter so much, but it's just taking too long. They should change it to one month only, and then let us have a little bit of snow around Christmas time. I don't care much for the wetness and darkness ... Indeed, not long now. Today it was almost like spring here ... xxx

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  13. When I started blogging, some years ago, I decided to share the best sides of my country and my life. Of course I also see ugliness and bad things in my real life but I would like to take some positiveNess to my followers' lives. I understand your feelings and like you I think that "there is beauty to be discovered everywhere "!
    It would be nice to meet you one day...

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    1. I try to stay positive, especially in my blog, which I call my "happy place". Oh, and it would definitely be nice to meet one day ... xxx

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  14. I live in what I would say is a truly truly ugly area. Down trodden section of an industrial city. In my neighborhood garbage is often just thrown on the street and not in a can. But you are right if you look close there are always little bitty areas of beauty. Now your city looks gorgeous to me! I also think we both bright cheer to even the dreariest surroudings with our wacky clothes

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    1. Poor you, living in such a place. Of course, the best way to beat this is wearing our "wacky" clothes! You are right: Antwerp really is a beautiful city, overall. xxx

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  15. Pretending to be a tourist is something I'm used to do too!, I think it's our own way to find some beauty even in dull days!.
    It's delightful to meet some Friends for some thrifting and coffee!, and those shoes you've purchased look fabulous!, I like the Green top too, such a lovely piece!
    Glad to see you dressing up your gorgeous personality, looking fabulous and adding some color to a grey city landscape!
    besos

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    1. Thank you Monica. I guess in dark winter days, it is OUR job to provide some colour ;-) Besos xxx

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