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Antwerp, Belgium
Welcome to the new, and improved version of Heaven in Belgium. I am Jientje. "Jientje", like the boys name Gene, followed by "chu"? "Gene-chu", that's how you pronounce my name. Yes!!!!That's it!! So now you know huh? I am an addicted blogger. I was born and raised and am still living in Belgium. Yeah, the "this-is- Tuesday-so-this-must-be-Brussels" kind of Belgium .. There, you see? Maybe you couldn't find it on the map, but at least I'm trying to change that a little by sharing lots of pictures. I really love to cook and create new things, like this blog for instance. I am a mother, not a grandmother,I don't know if I'll ever be, but I'll let you know in due time! Oh and um ... I am a wife too! They say I'm a traveler, and a photographer. Well that's just what they say, I love to make pictures, but I am far from professional ... If my English is not perfect, that would be because it's my second language. I do hope you'll forgive me any possible misspellings or strange vocabulary ... Now, as a result of all of the above, I get way too little sleep and my days are always much too short!

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Heaven is in Belgium

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Like Old Friends …

When I first talked to Gattina on the phone the other week, I immediately knew we were going to get along just fine. We set a date to meet each other in Antwerp. I would pick her up at Antwerp Station at eleven, and when I walked to the station, it was raining. All week, the weather forecast had announced 90% chance to get rain for Thursday so I was not really expecting sunshine and blue skies. I hoped at least we would manage to keep it dry and go for a walk around town. I wanted to show her some of my favorite places, and no matter how beautiful a city is, it’s just not the same when you’re hiding under an umbrella all day!
There was never any shyness when we met at the station. I recognized her immediately and we hugged each other, walked arm in arm under our umbrella’s.
Like old friends.
First thing on the agenda was to find a place to have a good cup of coffee, the best way to get to know each other a little better and avoid the rain at the same time.
Gattina HAD to ask the waiter to take pictures of us. Ewww, I dread that! Posing for a picture is pure torture for me, but the man was a professional, he did a great job.


When we continued our walk after that, the rain had stopped. We put our umbrella’s away, and we even got some blue skies and sun later in the day. We both had our camera’s but we had so much to talk about, we did not really take a whole load of pictures. And when we did it was like: “ Look, a Ruby Tuesday! or “there is a nice Window Views!” “ That would make a nice Odd Shots!


I took her to the not so obvious places, like the beguinage, a place where time has stood still. I showed her the hidden places where you would walk right past if you did not know of them. The Madonna’s on the corners of the streets, and other places I’ve discovered while I was out on one of my photo walks the past two years.

It was past noon, and it was time to find us a place to have lunch. Again, I hate ending up in a tourist trap, so I wanted to find something nice. My first two options were all closed. But then I spotted a place called “ ‘t Goe Leven” which means “the good life”. Now with a name like that, you can’t go wrong I figured, and the place looked very homely and cozy. Good music too, from a genuine Wurlitzer juke box which I HAD to photograph by the way!


You can have tapas there and other small servings of classic dishes like Bouillabaisse or salade Niçoise. The food was delicious. And it must have been interesting to eavesdrop on us. We had geek conversations, we talked about blogging and photography, we shared stories from our lives, and it all came so natural! It’s so weird when you meet a blogger, how well you know each other and how familiar everything sounds. It’s like catching up with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while. The conversation was laced with remarks such as “ Oh yes, I know, I read that” or “I saw that in a comment” stuff like that. Hard to believe it was only two hours ago we first met in real life!

Time fled by, and we never had any awkward silences in our conversation. I wanted to show her my favorite place for coffee, and we could even sit outside!


Before we knew it was past five in the afternoon, so it was time to walk back to the station. We were not just around the corner like she thought we were, we had another half hour walk ahead of us. But I still could not resist dragging her inside some “must have seen” places like the Vlaeyckensgang and the Antwerp Festive Hall.




We arrived at the station just in time for her to catch the train back. We said goodbye, but we both knew it would not be the last time we get together.
We’ll do this again, and I can’t wait to visit Brussels and discover the hidden places she has in store for me!


PS: Read Gattina's post on our meeting here.

I'll show more pictures in tomorrow's post and in the next few days, okay?

22 comments:

Nicole said...

That food looks more than delicious.
It's so good to meet bloggy people and get along so well.
And it's for sure great to have a "local" tour guide at hand *grin*
:D

EastCoastLife said...

Nice to see you in person. :)

I came from Gattina's.

Your city is beautiful and you take lovely pictures. Wish I was there. Happy weekend!

Wanda said...

I always savor your photos as long as I can...in the last shot, I noticed there were no vehicles, only bicycles...is this a special day, an avearage street or someplace special...off limit to cars etc....Antwerp is beautiful as are you and Gattina!

2Thinks said...

It is just dandy that you arranged to see Gattina! What a fine idea. I wonder how many other bloggers actually get together and meet each other? I think a big blog party somewhere would be fun. I bet we wouldn't even need to wear nametags, everyone would recognize each other from the blog photos. You would be in charge of finding the restaurant- you pick 'em good!
Heidi

Gattina said...

Exactly ! you said it all ! when I got your comment I had already finished my posts for tomorrow and was off shopping, now I just cut the grass before it rains again, lol ! What a nice day we had together !! soon I drag your around in Brussels, be prepared for the worst !!

moneythoughts said...

Great pictures and lovely verse, it was so nice of you to share the day with you both.

While I can't hop on a train and visit, I so enjoy the beauty of your country. It is truly heaven.

I can't believe the American C.I.A. hasn't shut your blog down. :-)

Lilacspecs said...

Looks like you had a great day!

Melli said...

You two had TOOOOOOO much fun! Oh now I worry! I HAVE no hidden places! Nope... not a one! I better go find some!

Willow said...

Isn't it fun to meet a fellow blogger?!

ladyfi said...

That looks fun - and delicious too! Love that shot of the cup of coffee.

And oh, only bloggers would be stopping every few minutes to photograph everything! ,-)

Becky said...

How lucky the two of were to meet up. Sounds like you both had a terrific day. Great company, good food and a divine looking cup of coffee, can't get much better than that!

Melissa said...

Jientje,

I promise I have not forgotten the beautiful award you gave me.

I need to find time and post about it soon.

Truly, I still believe that your blog is the most beautiful one out there in Blogland.

Love Melissa

Neas Nuttiness said...

I've been dreaming of finding a way to get to Belgium to meet up with you. Your stories are filled with such wonderful photo's and descriptions of your home...your travels...your friends and family...your memories!
Thanks so much for sharing with us.
Cheers to you, my dear friend!

Rebecca said...

Looking forward to the next few posts! And that coffee looks wonderful and I don't even drink coffee!

ellievellie said...

I can't decide which one makes me drool more - the coffee or the toast coming with the soup! Yummy! The mural on Paradise Street is a lot of fun - you captured it perfectly as always! Glad you had fun and sun :) I'm on my way to check your friend's side of the story!

Cherie said...

What a wonderful day! I've met up with people I know from on-line a couple of times. The dynamic is very interesting. It's kind of strange at first to be able to talk about all kinds of detailed things to someone that you're seeing for the first time. Because, of course, they're not exactly as we imagined them. (Not better or worse, just slightly different.) Glad that you had such a successful day. :)

Doug said...

Good for you two. Everything looks just so.

Eve said...

How fun for you! I want to sit down and eat that meal you posted the picture of. It looks so good my mouth is watering.

Robynn's Ravings said...

Thanks for including us in your visit, Jientje. What a great time, yummy food, and I love it that you're connecting. Some people are SO warm when you talk with them and others are wierded out that you know so much about them. HELLO! It's on your blog! :)

Thom said...

What an excellent picture of the both of you. I just love it and I so want to go there now. It sounds like you both really hit it off from the start which is excellent. Love this post :) Aloha

quilly said...

What fun! And I love that photo of the two of you! I am so glad you had a wonderful time. I have loved all the bloggers I've met. (One of them so very much that I now live with him!)

Mar said...

What a wonderful meet-up, I am happy for you two. It's such a unique experience to meet a blogfriend in real life!!

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