Yesterday was a public holiday, so we went to Antwerp and visited the zoo. Over the course of the day, Macsen got hold of my camera and started snapping. Here are the results.
It’s been a couple of months since I looked at what was on my camera, but I have finally gotten around to copying the photos to my PC and sorting them into folders. This, then, will probably turn out to be the first of several posts as I go through by backlog of snaps.
And where better to start with the trip we took to Antwerp zoo back in February, where Macsen discovered he had a real talent for stamping train tickets.
So after the beer, we went on for dinner. And when you’re in a French restaurant in Antwerp, what better way to round off the meal than with an authentic Irish coffee.
The blue flash in front of the chef is the flame…
And it was watching him pour the cream that convinced us to give it a go…
We were in Antwerp yesterday and, on stopping at a rather nice bar across from a French restaurant to which we later went, I was rather impressed to be served a tankard of Keizer Karel in an authentic pot.
The story, in case you hadn’t heard it is as follows…
In Olen there was an inn famed for selling good beer. When Emperor Charles visited Olen on his annual hunting expeditions, he would never forget to partake of a tankard of that good beer. He would canter up to the front door on his horse, order, and wait for the woman to come outside with the foaming brew. But she always held the tankard by its handle, so that the Emperor could never get a good grip of it.
“Woman, by next year, get thee a beer tankard with two handles, for that will make it easier.”
“Yes, my lord,” replied the woman.
Next year came and again Emperor Charles stopped off at the inn. The woman had indeed bought a beer tankard with two handles, but she held the tankard with her two hands, so that again, the Emperor was unable to get a good grip of it.
“Woman, it is still not good. By next year, get thee a beer tankard with three handles, for that will make it easier.”
Next year came and again Emperor Charles stopped off at the inn. The woman had indeed bought a beer tankard with three handles, but she held the tankard with the third handle pointing towards her breast.
“Woman,” said the Emperor, “it would be still no easier than last year, were I not to know that a third handle there is.”
And so saying, he reached under the tankard and grasped the third handle firmly.
“Behold, a clever trick there is,” proclaimed he.
And the inn where this merry story happened all those years ago still exists in Olen. And the famous three-handled tankard is still preserved there too.
– From “Van stroppendragers en de pot van Olen” [Of Rope Wearers and the Tankard of Olen]
Everyone’s heard om Manneken Pis, but did you know that Brussels also has a Jeanneke Pis?
It was made by Denis-Adrien Debouvrie and erected in the mid-1980s and endowed with its own instant legend, the better to amuse strollers. This half-metre-high statue of blue-grey limestone depicts a woman with her hair in bunches, squatting and urinating, apparently very contentedly. It is located on the east side of the Impasse de la Fidélité / Getrouwheidsgang (Faith Alley), a narrow dead-end street some 100 metres long leading northwards off the restaurant-packed Rue des Bouchers / Beenhouwersstraat (Butchers’ Street). The alley also hosts a café where around 2000 different kinds of beer are served.