Written by: Nadia
There are two cities that stole my heart. One of them is New York City and the other one is Antwerpen. They are very different and my feelings for each one of them is also different. Antwerpen is just like that ex you still have feelings for and New York is more like a platonic love, or like they say nowadays, a crush. I guess that’s because I’ve lived in Antwerpen for two wonderful years and it’s now in my past and my time in New York lasted for only one month, although I’ll love to spend a few years there too.
I will tell you my everlasting love story with New York later, because this post is fully dedicated to Antwerpen and it’s quite personal. I’m going tell you why I’ve fell in love with it, with its people and why it is so special for me.
I’ve graduated in Translation and Interpretation and I was lucky enough to study two full academic years in Antwerpen thanks to an exchange program. It was so difficult to get the scholarship, but after tons of paperwork, I was finally awarded.
I went all by myself and I didn’t know anybody in the city. In addition, before leaving everybody told me Belgian people were very closed-minded and that I would hardly find any friend so I should better get in touch with Spanish people living there.
That was nonsense. From the very first day, Belgian people embraced me so warmly. I’ve met lots of people at the uni and everybody is so kind, fun and smiling. They took me out for a drink, we partied…
During those two years, I’ve met wonderful people and our friendship lasts beyond time and distance. It’s already been eight years since I left the city, but I go back every year or every two years because part of my heart will always remain there. And every time I go back, I meet my friends and we spend the afternoon together. Really, Belgian people are wonderful, they are polite, elegant and sensible. I’ve learnt a lot from them.
But I didn’t meet just Belgians, I’ve also met some Spanish people that gave me the time of my life. In particular, a girl from Madrid as crazy and adventurous as me. She’ll always be part of my life.
As for the nightlife, Antwerpen is all in. By day, it’s already vibrant but by night, the pulse rises on its terraces, clubs, pubs and festivals. And not just for the weekend, even on a Tuesday night, Antwerpen is full of life, no matter if it snows. And during the summer, people jump to the streets and if there’s no free room on the terraces, they go picnicking to the riverside with some cheese and wine.
I’ve also fallen in love with the city because of its architecture. Houses, squares, the cathedral… And even the train station. Everything seems from a fairytale. There’s even a castle on the middle of the city.
But I think Cupid fired the arrow at Christmas. I am a Christmas lover and I already get excited about the very few Christmas lights we get in Spain, so I was flipping out when I saw Antwerpen Christmas Market. It’s just like living in Whoville. Lights, markets, a Ferris wheel, an ice skating rink, more lights, people, lights again… I highly recommend you to visit Antwerpen in Christmas at least one time in your life.
And as for the food… Those waffles, those mussels, those cheeses, fries and… CHOCOLATE! Oh my gosh…
Know what? There’s so many things to tell about Antwerpen that we’ve got an idea: We are making two guides of the city. Rodri will write one for tourists so your trip to Antwerpen will be unforgettable and I will write a more complex one, for exchange students or people moving there. What do you think?
Meanwhile, we post this article as a teaser and we start writing the guides. If you want to be notified when they are ready, subscribe and you won’t miss a thing.
May the wanderlust be with you!