We caught an early train (825) and roughly two hours later, we were there. The train station was gorgeous with from the turn of the last century-a mix of industrial and art nouveau.
We started with the long walk to the center,
with a quick stop in a fancy shopping center, Stadsfeestzaal, circa turn of last century for yogurt and tea.
We continued following the next part of Rick Steves' walk
until we reached Rubens house.
Peter Paul Rubens, a famous flemish artist circa late 1500s early 1600s. His house was partially decorated and full of art.
We started in the kitchen,
(Picture of dead birds over the kitchen fireplace...appropriate)
Before heading through the rest of the house. Rubens was famous in his day and wealthy, so his house was pretty fancy.
They were actually having an event today, and ladies in Venetian costume s and masks were circulating in the courtyard.
Next we walked to the next museum house on our list,
(meanwhile stopping for quick Belgium pralines at the Chocolate Line, a recommended place by Rick Steves)
the Plantin-Moretus museum.
This family owned a printing press next to their home (circa 1600). The home was very old feeling with lots of heavy dark wood. We started in some of the fancy rooms to show the family's wealth in the main house.
The owner was a friend of Rubens, so he also commissioned some of his paintings. Next out to the courtyard,
on our way to the shop,
(I think this is where editors would review manuscripts)
(Close up of the leather wall coverings--very intricate)
next we cross over to the printing press
into a library,
and some additional fancy rooms.
From there we had planned to have Belgian waffles at a (busy) place , but realized the main cathedral closed early on a Saturday. We scarfed down the coffee and tea we ordered,
before dashing to the Cathedral of our lady.
I loved the Rococo pulpit
From here we headed back out,
before stopping for a pizza lunch (I'm pretty sure this was Katherine's idea...)
before continuing Ricks walk.
And then it rained and we had to find covering. After waiting a bit, then walking, then having to wait a bit more for some more rain, we finally reached Antwerp's harbor.
There was the shell of an old castle there, but it was covered in scaffolding. After a quick stop at the old Vleeshuis, Butcher's Hall,
we started the long trudge back to the station.
We finally got that first Belgium waffle in the station for dinner while waiting for our train.
I had mine with chocolate and whipped cream. Umm, dinner.
King's Day in Amsterdam
Two hours later, and we were back in Amsterdam.
We got off the metro at Neumarket (a square not far from our hotel I could see some of the Kings day merriment.
I really liked Antwerp! The big move is tomorrow morning to Bruges. We'll see how it goes!
Trip Note: The fact we went back to Amsterdam messed with my "efficient traveler" mode. King's Day complicated our planning since we weren't sure what to expect--we were worried about leaving with our luggage since so many people would be coming into the city's train station and metro to celebrate, but we also didn't want to spend the whole day dealing with the crowds. We also wanted to see Antwerp and couldn't figure out how to fit it in, so decided on the day trip. We left early enough that the crowds hadn't arrived yet, so we could have just taken our bags with us and stayed in a hotel near the train station. I would definitely recommend doing that instead if you like our itinerary. Although, if you are interested in day trips from Amsterdam, it is very doable.