Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Going to the docks

It was Jos's birthday in the last week of September, and just like I did last year, I'd taken the day off so that we could spend it together.

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!


32 comments:

  1. We've syncronised our posts again!
    What a lovely birthday day out! I love the modern harbour, what fabulous architecture and brilliant blue skies. the grotto is wonderful, something I only see when I'm in India!
    I love your cape and Jos's fantastic new coat. men's coats are a tough find, they tend to wear them till they fall apart, don't they?
    xxxx

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    1. That harbour area used to be really grotty when I was a student. There was one warehouse which had been turned into an alternative party location, which we often frequented. These grottoes are actually quite common here ... They're tacky, but nice! xxx

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  2. A Happy Belated Birthday to Jos. What a lovely sheepskin coat too. Looks warm.

    What a beautiful city!

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  3. Happy Belated Birthday to Jos! He scored nicely with that sheepskin coat. You did quite well yourself. A birthday gift for him and you too! Ha!

    Looks like the perfect day out.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. Thank you Suzanne! I quite despaired of finding him a coat in a thrift shop, but I'm glad we persevered and didn't have to revert to retail ... xxx

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  4. I love it how you celebate birthdays. A day off and a wonderful day trip. We celebtrate with the whole family and I have to cook for 20 people. Puh :)
    What a wonderful day and I enjoy the harbour pictures so much. Great find for Jos. Winter can come.... but not so fast. :))
    A very huge hug, Tina

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    1. Poor Tina, did you have to cook last Saturday then? Indeed, Winter can come, but not too fast. At least not before we've been to Zeeland ;-) xxx

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  5. A belated happy birthday to Jos! That's a lovely coat he bought. I remember your post from last year, I thought the museum looked fab. Sounds like you had a lovely day. Wonderful accessorising with that frock! X

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    1. Thank you so much. The day really was kind of a copy of last year's, but then again it's such a fabulous location! xxx

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  6. It's so amazing that we're bracelet sisters, isn't it Ann!;) Thanks so much for the mention! I haven't worn mine for a while, but it looked so fab on you that I'll have to wear it again soon! Your dress is lovely and I love all of the turquoise accessories too.XXX

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    1. You're welcome, Sasha. Yes, we are bracelet sisters ;-) xxx

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  7. Jos scored well with his birthday sheepskin, looks like you had a great day all round. I bet some of those personal messages received by the whispering sculpture are hilarious!

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    1. Unfortunately, I only found out about the messages when I was researching this post ... Will have to go and have a listen some day ... xxx

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  8. I love the interactive art installation. The whole district looks fascinating and it sounds like you had a fun day out.
    I love cosy and unpretentious eateries too. I haven't been out for a meal for ages, maybe it's time I did.
    Sending a belated Happy Birthday to Jos.
    Have a lovely weekend. xxx

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    1. We don't really go out for a meal much either, only on special occasions and when we're on holiday, actually! And certainly no fancy restaurants for us! xxx

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  9. happy birthday to jos!!
    last night i dreamed of antwerp - had to leave berlin on the run and then took the train from brussels to antwerp....have no idea why ;-)
    is it a real sheepskin? they are incredible warm and cosy - so jos will stay warm even in a siberian winter.
    your new cape is sooooo chic!
    hugs! xxxxxx

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    1. Thank you Beate! Maybe your dream originated from all that talk about "die Wende"? Anyway, I'd be prepared to hide you when you're on the run, always welcome ;-) xxx

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  10. Happy birthday, Jos!

    I loved your outfit and think the pale blue jewelley and jacket set it off beautifully.

    I loved the climbing/whispering sculptures; what fun it is to see buildings with these quirky and interesting additions.

    The fur cape is simply gorgeous - you'll be so snug and warm in it.Jos' coat too - what a great find!
    xxxx

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    1. Thank you Veronica! Can't wait to wear that cape in Winter, although that can stay away for a while ... xxx

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  11. Ooh, I saw some climbing sculptures like that when I was in Rome a few years ago. Love that sheepskin coat! I can't see your cape (my work is blocking that very-unsafe picture, ha ha), but will check it out tonight.

    What a lovely day you had - Happy Birthday to Jos!

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    1. Who would have thought my cape would be considered unsafe? It did remind you of your unsafe polar bear, though ;-) xxx

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  12. This sounds like a wonderful birthday celebration. That sheepskin coat is such a score and a wonderful gift. That ornamental gate is a lovely architectural piece and adds so much to this post.
    Sending love from new York.
    ♥️♥️♥️
    Elle
    https://theellediaries.com

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    1. Thank you Elle, and sending love right back from Antwerp! xxx

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  13. A lovely day out for Joss's birthday! How cool to have a crane museum at the harbour! Love Joss's new coat, and your blue dress is just lovely:) XXX

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    1. Thank you Linda. We've yet to visit the main part of the crane museum, which I think would be very atmospheric in Winter! xxx

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  14. The harbour looks stunning and very interesting. It sounds like a lovely relaxing way to spend a birthday - and to top it all you both found some lovely outerwear.
    xx

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    1. Thank you Hazel! I do love how they've upgraded the old harbour here in Antwerp. xxx

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  15. A belated happy birthday to Jos! I'm glad that you had a fabulous day out, enjoying these urban landscapes (I love so much your pictures!) and finally, finding a perfect coat for the birthday boy (and also a cute cape for you!)
    Your dress is stunning, I love its print and your accessorizing: the cute brooch!, the bracelets!. And Jos looks really elegant!
    besos

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    1. Thank you so much Monica, you are really too kind. I love it that you love my pictures! And I've been calling Jos my elegant husband ever since I read your comment ;-) xxx

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  16. Ooh, the docks are superb!!! What a great place to visit and I LOVE your photos!

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  17. Happy belated birthday to Jos! It looks like splendid weather for a day out.

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