The day was almost a carbon copy of last year's too, the sun shining just as brightly in a deep blue sky.
Admittedly, this was kind of a busman's holiday for me, as here we were waiting for the tram, which would take us into Antwerp.
I was still making the most of my Summer wardrobe by wearing this short-sleeved black frock with a Peter Pan collar, a row of sky blue buttons and loops and a striking floral and geometric print.
For some reason, this dress only seems to come out of my wardrobe this time of year, just before the big wardrobe changeover, as the last time I wore it was in September 2017.
Accessorizing is easy when there are so many colours to choose from. For my birds-in-flight brooch and necklace, I took the lead from the blue of the buttons, choosing more vibrant shades for my bracelets in turquoise and red with - again - a Millefiori design. I was tickled pink when I found out that all the way over in Australia, Sasha has exactly the same bracelet!
I had a hairdresser's appointment - which sounds uncannily like last year as well - and while ambling towards the salon, I took in some of the details which normally all but escape me. Would you believe these snaps were all taken in the street where my office is?
Just a couple of doors away from my hairdresser's is an Oxfam shop, which we went into as we were early. We were actually in search of a Winter coat for Jos, but no joy in the men's department: just a small rack of shapeless, tired-looking coats one wouldn't be seen dead in.
But then there was a mannequin wearing this delightful cape. Its label said Chartage by Luc Bex, whom I'd never heard of , but who, according to the almighty Internet, is a Belgian jewellery designer. Couldn't find anything about the cape itself, or even if he actually designed clothes as well. One thing is certain: there was no way I was going to leave this much fabulousness behind!
After Michel, my hairdresser, had worked his magic, it was time for lunch.
We'd booked a table at the same little restaurant we went to last year. Not only is it very cosy, with all its assorted junk a little reminiscent of Dove Cottage, the food is delicious, and it's quite unpretentious, which is just how we like it.
Afterwards, we went for a browse in a second hand shop we'd passed earlier. Much to our delight, there was an extensive selection of menswear, including a wide choice of coats. After trying on a gorgeous leather jacket, which sadly was too big, we finally found this sheepskin coat, which fit the bill (and Jos!) perfectly.
Walking towards the River Scheldt, we passed this ornamental, neo-classicist gate, which was constructed between 1859 and 1862, and belongs to St. Paul's Church (Sint Pauluskerk).
The church itself was completed in 1639. Originally, St. Paul’s Church was part of a large Dominican monastery. It was consecrated in 1571 as a replacement for an earlier church. A new Baroque steeple was built after a ravaging fire destroyed the church in 1679.
While the main entrance of the church is around the block, this gate, which for once stood invitingly open, leads to a secluded garden complete with Lourdes grotto, in the shadow of the monastery ruins.
Nearing the river bank, I was struck by the plentiful architectural references to Antwerp's maritime tradition.
Thanks to its location at the upper end of the tidal estuary of the River Scheldt, Antwerp has become what it is today: a metropolis with an international seaport, and the city's fortune has always been closely tied in with that of its port.
We strolled along the river's quays up to 't Eilandje (Little Island) with the impressive MAS Museum, which opened in 2011, as its focal point.
It's where we ended up last year as well, but now, instead of walking up to the viewing platform on top of the museum, we just walked around the docks surrounding it.
This formerly abandoned dockside district has been turned into an attractive neighbourhood. Its rundown historic warehouses have been refurbished and its grubby cafés frequented by drunken sailors have made room for hip coffee bars.
I love how the museum's undulating glass panes resemble waves, another tribute to Antwerp's relationship with its river.
Just a short walk along the quays from the museum is the world’s largest museum collection of harbour cranes and, right in front of MAS is its real showpiece: the oldest crane in the collection.
This is a ten ton manually operated crane from German manufacturer Stuckenholz, which was purchased by the city of Antwerp in 1884 for handling heavy loads and mounting shore cranes.
The four larger than life sculptures which seem to be climbing on top one of the renovated warehouses (top right) are part of an interactive art installation called the Antwerp Whisperer (de Antwerpse Fluisteraar). The sculpture on top of the roof whispers general and personal messages that are received by a fifth sculpture, which is positioned below near the dock, but not pictured.
Apparently, you can record your own message for € 1,99 by using a free App. An idea for Jos's next birthday, perhaps?
All too soon, the afternoon was drawing to a close, but before taking the tram home, we stopped for coffee in the museum's café.
And finally, better late than never, I am linking my black frock to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style!