Thursday, January 26, 2012

Diamond Day – 20 January 2012

Today had to be diamond day so we set off in good time for the 11a.m. tour of Diamond Land which, when we got there we discovered was not running, we could just browse around by ourselves. There are various displays and facts and figures about the diamond trade in Antwerp and through the windows you can watch the experts mounting the diamonds in special jigs to hold them against the polishing wheels.

Naturally, you had the opportunity to purchase the end product should you desire but since this was the first place we had looked at we browsed and moved on, heading for the Diamond Museum. Between the two is almost wall to wall diamond dealers with more bling in their windows than one could imagine.

Clearly being in the vicinity on a diamond anniversary we could not let the opportunity pass us by and eventually succumbed before heading to the museum which we discovered was closed until February. We consoled ourselves by window shopping at the many diamond shops in the central station.

Not too far away is the Rubens' House museum where a collection of artwork is displayed in the house that Rubens purchased. Although not much of his original house remained, it was painstakingly recreated from plans and sketches, but a portico that he had built in the garden is original. Unfortunately is was raining steadily so admiring his garden and portico was off the agenda and we went to the movies instead.

On the way to the movie theatre was a shopping centre called Stadsfeestzaal in a fabulously gracious old building. The cafe overlooking the atrium was a great place to fortify ourselves for the afternoon and we discovered where all the locals that were missing yesterday, shopped and lunched.

As French, Dutch, English and probably German are all spoken in the city, movies are simply played in their original language and since the one we wanted to see was an English movie we were well catered for and the locals had to be content with subtitles in French and Dutch.

Having successfully filled in a rainy afternoon we went back to the old town to find another cute atmospheric restaurant for dinner.

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