Belgium for Thanksgiving 2012, Part 3.

Still Antwerpin’ it up! Until I went to Antwerp’s Grand Place, I did not know how the city got its name.

See that statue in the middle? That is my new favorite statue. One, it’s got a fantastic creepy skull-head dragon at the base.

At the top is a guy throwing a hand. Here’s the myth: There was a giant guarding the harbor of Antwerp, and if a ship couldn’t pay the entry tax, the giant would pick up the boat and put it on the land, thereby screwing up everything. One day, this young guy on the statue chopped the hand off the giant and flung it far away. “Ant Werp” means “Hand Throw” in the oldey-timey Germanic-based language. Go ahead and tell me that’s not awesome.

Also, at the bottom of the statue is the giant lying with his stump of a arm and there are tiny metal tubes coming out, which makes me think that in the summer water comes out his severed wrist. AND there are lungfish with gaping mouths on all four corners of the base. Therefore, this is now my favorite sculpture.

The fountain-makers were not afraid to make fountains come out of all kinds of places. There’s the famous Manneken Pis (who they dress up for various things). And I saw this one in a museum. I originally took the photo because I loved that the horse had fins on his hooves like a aquine-clidesdale*. Then I noticed that the woman at the bottom was presenting a boob like it was a tray full of pizza rolls and there was a spigot coming out of it.

• | • | • INTERMISSION  • | • | •

In Brussels I saw a lesbian couple taking their ferret out for a walk on a leash. I feel like that’s the beginning of a joke, “Two lesbians were walking a ferret…” I got a pic of the ferret as he scampered by.

• | • | • INTERMISSION OVER  • | • | •

After seeing the Grand Place, we went to the major cathedral in Antwerp which was ridiculously beautiful and had some neat features.

Have you ever been to Notre Dame in Paris? If you have you’ll notice that the walls are naked stone. That’s not how it was when it was made in 14-something-something. All the walls were polychrome, meaning they were painted with wallpaper patterns and crests and scenes from the bible, etc. These walls have their polychrome still on them which was lovely to see. In addition, my friend B. once told me that it is difficult to make purple glass, really purple-colored. He said it tends to be milky and dusty. I noticed that there was quite a lot of purple glass in the windows, which makes me think either they put two thin layers of transparent glass together, one pink and one blue, so your eye perceives it at purple, or they are painted with some kind of glaze. Considering how old these cathedrals are, either technique is pretty impressive.

On the floor near the pulpit there’s a brass line going down the floor. It seems to be arbitrary, but nope.

High above it is a stained glass window. If you look carefully all the way on the left edge about a fourth of the way down, you’ll see a hole. When the sun shines through the hole and lights up the metal strip on the floor, it’s noon. SCIENCE!

There are paintings hanging off all the columns. Each one was commissioned by a guild, so often their trade will be highlighted in the painting. This one was sponsored by the weapons guild, so tons of spears and swords and other pointy weapons.

And this one was sponsored by the baker’s guild, so… loaves.

And since I was over there during Thanksgiving break, when I saw this turkey carved in wood on the lectern, I had to take a picture of it.

Two more Antwerp things: We walked through the lower-class medieval area and it was TIGHT. Beautiful, but two people cannot walk abreast through these streets. I cannot imagine these were nice when people didn’t have hygiene and were heaving poop buckets out the windows and whatnot.

We came across the greatest building while trundling around. Why is it the greatest? Two words: boat balcony.

*See? See what I did there? A horse is equine, but I made it aquine because it’s a oceanic horse. I’m very clever.

Tomorrow, some Brussels and some Bruges. Get ready for chocolate and dead animals.

3 Responses to “Belgium for Thanksgiving 2012, Part 3.”

  1. snorth says:

    More! MOAR!!!!

  2. Kate says:

    That boat balcony looks photoshopped… are you sure you’re not messing with us?!?

  3. Rothbeastie says:

    Not photoshopped. Crazy amazing in person.

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