We had a bit of a late start on Day Three. Jet lag was setting in big time! However, we were out of the hotel before noon and headed to the train station for a day trip to Antwerp.
I am still amazed by the architecture of the train stations in the cities we visited. I could get lost in the details for days.
Upon arrival, we met up with one of the DH’s college friends and his family. We spent a little time at a local park for the kiddos to
burn off some energy get acquainted, then headed off for a shopping trip on De Meir, Antwerp’s premiere shopping district.
Later we braved the rain to check out the Grand Place, surrounded by statuesque Guild houses of course.
At the center is a statue of Brabo. Legend has it that the giant Antigone terrorized the people of Antwerp by taxing them ruthlessly. If anyone refused to pay his tolls, he would cut off their hand and throw it into the river. One brave young man decided to end Antigone’s reign of terror. Encouraged by a revelation from the Oracle, and a little assistance from the gods, Brabo defeated Antigone in a days’ long battle. After slaying the giant, Brabo cut off Antigone’s hand and threw it in the river. On the heels of his victory, the locals named the city Hand-Werpen or Throwing Hands, which evolved into Antwerpen. Brabo fell in love and settled in the area, becoming the city’s Duke.
Antwerp became a thriving port city and remains one of the most important harbors in the world today… thanks to Brabo. 😉
Following our history lesson, we wandered over to the harbor. I was tickled pink to spot a ship registered in The Bahamas.
Located on the harbor is Steen Castle. It is a medieval fortress that has served many functions, including a maritime museum, but is currently a “question center for visitors.” It was late evening by the time we arrived and the question center was closed. However, we were able to walk around unimpeded. On the backside are viewing telescopes which the kids used to take in more of the city.
Sidebar: Did you notice the windmills in the previous photo? There were windmills everywhere!
After a great many photo ops, we wrapped up our day in Antwerp. The DH enjoyed catching up with an old friend and the kids and I enjoyed making some new ones. And of course, none of us will ever forget learning about the legendary Brabo, without whom our trip would not have been possible. 😉
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