Friday, October 22, 2004

Antwerp, or McDonald'sville

Well, I woke up to an absolutely beautiful fall day--sunny and crisp.  I made plans to take the last trip to Cologne, which I'd been planning for some time.  I had planned to go alone, but Adam said he'd go along with me.  Aaron was going to Aachen, so we planned to meet him on the train.

However, we missed the train by a couple of minutes.  I was so mad at myself.  I don't think I've ever missed one leaving Verviers before.  I was upset because I really wanted to make it to Cologne, and I hated leaving it to the last day.  What if it was cold and rainy tomorrow, and not good for pictures?  What if something came up?  Well, if it had been just me, I would have goofed around in Verviers for a couple of hours and caught the 14:13 train and just gotten back late, but Adam was with me and didn't want to do that.  He wanted to go to Antwerp, so we caught the 12:32 train for Liege.  I had rather have gone to Maastricht, but Antwerp was fine.  We were stupid and didn't realize that Anvers in French was Antwerp, so we took the long way around and went to Brussels and then on to Antwerp.  One there, we just walked around the main streets, went to a good used bookstore (of course--apparently we two can smell them out) we had heard of, and ate at one of the seven McDonald's on that street.  It was amazing, really--we would pass a McDonald's, and almost immediately see a banner attached to the lamp post saying "McDonald's--four minutes ahead!".  At some points, we could look in both directions and see a McDonald's.  And yet, they all seemed to have customers in them, even though they were only a five minute walk between them. And these aren't mini-McDonald's; they are regular, full-size ones.

The Antwerp train station was one of the most elaborately decorated ones that I've been through, and I've been through a lot of them by this point.   I don't think I'll ever get tired of the opulent old grandeur of so many public spaces in Europe. 

We took the train back directly to Liege, but it turned out the be a local train that stopped at every little town and wide spot in the road along the way.  We discovered a couple of Liege stops we'd never even heard of.   It took forever, but we finally made it.

When we got back, Dr. Taylor asked us what all we saw, and apparently we just missed the giant sculpture of a hand that is famous in Antwerp--it was just a little further along the road we were on.  And we could have went down to the port and looked around, but oh well.  This is why you should research, but we had a nice day the same. In the end, I'm glad we went, because I wouldn't have spent much time on Antwerp otherwise. 


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