Greetings from Amsterdam, the land of bikes and channels :)
Our arrival in Antwerp was tough, from sunny Portugal we moved to a big storm, including rain, cold and windy Antwerp! We were not motivated at all but as soon as locals said this is normal we had no choice but being happy with what we got and just hoping the rain wouldn't show up for the next days.
Antwerp is pretty nice, the second most international city in the world (total of 174 nationalities, Amsterdam is the first with 177 and New York has 150 nationalities.) Imagine the different cultural quarters in the city, you can travel the world inside the city! And the best way exploring is definitely with the bike. You can go anywhere and the city is well prepared with bike lanes, great to waste less time in traffic jams, less pollution, it's free (no gas or paying for parking) and you live like a real local. If they live 30 minutes away from work they will cycle instead of using the car.
I couldn't believe in my eyes when I saw bubbles coming out from the shop, I looked like a kid playing around. I actually like a lot of shops here, they are so pretty and creatively decorated.
You can listen music from this old cart, pretty awesome when you are walking the streets and listen to traditional music that come out from a piece of carton with tiny holes on it.
A bunch of events were going on, the amusement fair was so fun, way more options than in Portugal and also bigger. We also been in food markets, concerts, small festivals.
I met my belgium friends Laure, Nele and Anouk who are currently living in Antwerp. They were in the same Social Work exchange program in USA as I and we haven't seen each other for about 5 years, so it was pretty awesome to see all these pretty faces and catch up. Anouk is getting married and I feel so happy for her! (They are going to spend Honeymoon in Cuba and I'm green of "healthy" jealously)
Found some fascinating street art. It's one of my favorite things to photograph in cities. And there are many talent artists out there. Such a shame when people ruin the graffiti with their tags.
Cool thing to do is to go the MAS Museum and watch the panorama part, it's free of charge and you get a great view to the Pier. It's in the area of Red Light District, I thought it was only in Amsterdam but they also have a small one in Antwerp.
There's a blue and white city map where you can find tips of places to visit by locals, you get these maps in some hostels. In this map you have a walking tour you can do by yourself, is not so amazing but you still pass through interesting buildings and parks.
Hitch hiking from Antwerp to Amsterdam was easy and the last driver was a funny situation. First he pulled over the car, asked us where we wanted to go, he aked his 8 years old daughter if she agreed, she star at us for 5 seconds, we froze, she said ok! Haha the driver was a big guy of 2 metres and a big fan of Hip Hop music. He said "Now if you don't mind I'm gonna listen some music". Loud cool Hip Hop. After many Yo! Yo! Yo! we were safe in Amsterdam and I finally got to see my princess Ana, missed my best friend so much.