In the days when I wasn’t getting a train to somewhere else I did more exploring in Antwerp and although two of the museums I really wanted to visit – the main art museum and the Fashion museum – were closed for renovations, I did manage to visit some other smaller places.
This is Rubenshuis – the actual home that the painter Rubens (who is the local great painter) lived. The house is also partly under renovation but a lot has been done and it is a lovely place slap bang in the Centre of the city.
The area I was staying at for most of the time I was in Antwerp is called Het Eilandje and is where the old port used to be. One Sunday I downloaded a street art walking app and wandered around the docks and port – they have done an excellent job of restoring the area including building parks and a spectacular Port building.
Back to the old I visited some more churches on my last day in Antwerp. Firstly St Paul’s Church – which like many houses works of Rubens but for me it was especially cool because it’s garden has hundreds of stone carvings depicting the last days of Christ – it is all a bit spooky.
Woodwork and stonework in St Paul’s church
Then to another house of the former mayor from the 16th century – the Rockoxhuis. He was a very wealthy mayor who made his money in brewing and also he liked his beautiful paintings and furniture too. He was also generous to the poor and bequeathed his house to the state after he died.
And final stop at St Jacob’s Church which is where Rubens is buried and where restoration is also happening and they are finding some fabulous murals as they are cleaning the walls – only visible on film at this stage but more to be displayed to the public in future.
Ruben’s tomb plus items from the Treasury of St Jacob’s church
For my last couple of days here I moved into a very funky hotel in the Centre of town – the DeWitte Lelie – my bedroom is the one with the Mohammed Ali screen prints in it.
Farewell to Belgium (and Rotterdam) – very much enjoyed staying in a place that is not overrun with tourists and that has a cool vibe to it.