03 January 2015
Greetings from a grey Madame Paris
Every time I come to Paris I find that I am excited about the trip here and conflicted when I finally get here. So after a 2 hour train ride from my beloved Antwerp, we arrived to a grey and wet Paris. I was already moody from the weather. The apartment we are staying at is a bit larger than the one from the previous trip in Le Marais, but I still find myself feeling like a stranger to Paris, which is the opposite of how I feel in Antwerp. To me Antwerp feels like home, a warm hug after a long day, while Paris feels like a moody lover, whom I have to cuddle up to for her to reciprocate the attention.
We are sitting in the smoking outside area of La Royal brasserie on Boulevard de Filles du Calvaire, feeling as moody as the weather, I find the Parisian cafe culture and people watching are the perfect antidote to my grey state. I always say to friends who want to visit Paris because of its portrayal in the media (movies, music) that Paris is not a place you come to once and feel that you know it and love it, I have always believed that bit by bit she unfolds herself to you, quietly, slowly and unapologetically introducing herself. I like Paris, but whether I love her or not is maybe a feeling I am yet to discover.
17 December 2014
Greetings from a cold, cloudy and windy Belgium
Christmas for most of us means family, and since my husband is from Belgium we decided to spend Christmas with his family this year. This is my 3rd time in Belgium so I am a bit familiar with the country, language and people. Most of the time we stay at the Coco-mat Apartments, the Penthouse, which has the most beautiful views of the cathedral and overlooks the lively Keyserlei.
(photographs source: antwerp.coco-mat-hotels.com)
It is winter here but this apartment and its views makes up for the cloudy and cold weather, and so does all the shopping along the Meir.
Today we took a walk to the Antwerp train station which in my opinion is architecturally one of my favorite buildings in a long list of adaptive reuse buildings. The reuse of the old carcass to house a state of the art modern railway station is the ultimate new meets old, which is my first love. My husband’s cousin who is a civil engineer worked on the reuse project and it’s fascinating the amount of change that took place whilst retaining the original essence of the train station, every time I am in that train station I fall in love with it,with my career, as well as the juxtaposition of old and new architecture…what can I say…I love that station (and trains are very romantics, no?!)
I mean take a look at these pictures, is this not just the most beautiful train station…
Tomorrow we might go to the zoo, there is a Chinese light festival that my son is dying to see. I would love to document it if I get a chance. I am writing this siting in a pub with over 300 beers and I am in heaven, a day well spent ending with an amazing Karmeliet Tripel beer.