10 December, 2018

Off to Antwerp

Somewhere between holidays and studies, I thought I would combine the two options in visiting the AMSC, which would give me the chance to broaden my knowledge on emergency situations. Additionally, I would have the opportunity to see my favourite Belgian town again, re-visiting some old gems and discovering new places. 
As it is for fall, already the journey would be one between grey and blue skies, from rain and cold straight into paradise. And as much as I can't seem to like the feeling of being glued to the seat during take-off...
... there's absolutely no place that could compete with being above the clouds and marvel at their shapes and sizes.
With a little luck, even a lovely glory phenomenon will come to sight.
Are we there yet?
After a quick and easy ride from the airport (Ljubljana, watch and learn!), I could once again say hello to what was once the most beautiful train station to me - until I found my new favourite in Prague.
Welcomed by a mix of wind and showers, I decided to just stroll around until I'd be able to move into my room, unpack my things and try my first hostel experience.
And while the following days would be filled with lectures and workshops, there would still be plenty of time to explore the city: the Antwerp cathedral, as beautiful as ever...
... Mary statues on literally every corner...
... the most beautiful Grote Markt, dominated by guildhalls, the city hall, and Brabo's fountain...
... the old city center with its lovely streets and hidden corners...
... a flashback to one of my favourite childhood cartoons...
... and a perfect way to end a late summer evening: enjoying the sunset from the MAS museum, where the views get better with every storey.
With interesting lectures, new insights and colleagues from all over the world, the week passed in a blink, and already, it was time to head towards home.
Not without a peek into Antwerp's white beauty, though. 
To my surprise, I found it to be full of art this time - just as it used to be before the masterpieces have been moved to Paris and later returned the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
Other than that, it's the wood carving that is part of the magic...
... as well as the high, white ceiling...
... the colourful windows of stained glass...
... and, of course, the magnificent paintings of Peter Paul Rubens, which - in a beautiful coincidence - lit up in the afternoon sun just before it was time for me to leave for the airport. 
Not with a carriage though ;)
And since I arrived at the airport more than just in time on time, I had plenty of opportunities to get annoyed by crowds of tourists, nagging children, and get through security obligations without having to rush. With the chilling lecture on the 2016 Zaventem attacks still in my mind, I decided to pay extra attention to what is happening around me - no paranoia, just in case.
But then again, being early not only means having a little bonus time but also having a *little* too long interval from the last snack. 
Was it hypoglycaemia or just my thoughts wandering around? Probably a combination of both that made me forget about my change after purchasing some yummy sushi on the way to my gate.
Realizing my mistake rather late, I was left with two options: forget about the whole thing, or head back through the entire airport, hope to get my money back, and try to make it back in time.
With little hope, I headed off, eventually got my money thanks to a wonderful employee, and - with lots of coughing and puffing - made it back right at boarding time.
Shall I plan even more time next time to avoid running late or less time to make sure I won't have the chance for hunger feelings and off-road temptations? Or maybe I should just pay more attention to my own actions rather than everything that is happening around me?

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