After our gorgeous day in Paris, we headed back towards Amsterdam and wanted to hit some towns along the way. Our first stop was Ghent, Belgium 🇧🇪, which is a little town we stayed at in March. Adorable town a fun to explore. We only stayed a couple hours there, ate and hit the road to Antwerp, Belgium.
Antwerp is somewhere I have never been and is the diamond capital of the world. I have always heard how gorgeous it is so we wanted to check it out. It was along our route back to Amsterdam so perfect reason to spend an evening there.
We pulled into town pretty late so we didn't explore until the following morning. But as we were pulling into town, we noticed massive amounts of Jewish men and boys, in their full regalia, walking the town. Like hundreds of them! All of them with traditional hair locks and elders with large fur hats.
The next morning as we were heading out, again there were droves of Jewish families out and about, men in groups, and children in groups. Not very many women. We asked the wonderful host of our b&b about the groupings and such. She explained Antwerp had Jewish extremists that were concentrated in certain areas. She explained about the partial use of electric, how children move thru town, and a little bit about them in the community.
The fascinating thing about the groupings were how the children were moved from place to place. It was the responsibility of the eldest child in the group during their travels across town. So an example would be we saw a grouping of 5 children walking thru town. The ages ranged from probably 2-10 at the oldest. And they were alone! No adults...the eldest was in charge. If they was a child in the pramm a caretaker or mom was present.
Again, this is quite a site seeing hundreds of men in full regalia and herds of children roaming the street alone. So as Shannon and I were leaving our b&b, a large grouping was headed down the street. Of course, we try and capture many things that are parts of our trip, including traveling to Antwerp on the Jewish new year! Shannon has her phone out and is taking a couple pictures of the street scene and the groupings walking down the street when two teenage boys pop out into the street to block us! The one came to my window and started questioning us. "Why are you here? What are you taking pictures of? Why are you on this street?" We started to answer and then realized...why do we need to? What authority did they have? The boy then asked Shannon for her phone, saying he wanted to see her phone and pictures. He wanted her to go thru her pictures to see what were on there. When he started demanding her phone, Shannon said "just go!" The kid heard her and grabbed onto car and we basically took off! He started radioing somewhere and hollering as a few more teenage boys came running and chasing after us. We got off the block extremely quickly and took off to get the heck out of there. I will say, the stoplight at the corner may have been the longest stoplight ever!!!
So...moral of the story is...do NOT take pictures of the Jewish men, and that a majority of the diamond shops are owned by Jewish in Antwerp and trying to visit during their new year isn't very smart. 80 percent of the diamond stores are closed for their holiday and because of terror attacks they increase their security which means army walking around with machine guns and big armored vehicles. A little disarming so we were okay with moving on.
Antwerp wasn't our favorite stop and we can probably say we have been there done that and cross it off our list.
I'm coming up on our first Friday art walk so sadly we must head back to the states and be responsible. I'll try and post about our final days soon but hope to see many of you this coming Friday! Love so many of you follow along on my crazy adventures....
One could not ask for a more gorgeous day all around! It was perfect for us to explore Paris and get to see the sites. Although we all started our day out around 4, we couldn't have asked for a better time with friends.
Last night Shannon and I were able to meet up with our friends, www.zachharmon.com, who are playing a European tour and were at their stop in Paris. The played a jazz club and had packed the house. After their show, all of us went to probably one of the most memorable bars I have ever been to. It was a Cabernet variety show, basically underground in one of the most amazing stone basements, with cave like rooms filled with energy and people. I honestly could not begin to tell you how much it was like what one see in the movies, or begin to describe it, but it was just wow. Singing, dancing, dancing on tables, bottles of champagne, cheering and chanting....it is a memory we won't forget!
Since the bar didn't close until 5 am, we were there until four, and by the time we got back to hotel and such 6 am here we are...thus, our late start of our adventure today. We rounded up three of the guys and they headed out with us to explore. Slim, www.texasslim.com, Chris, Ralph, Shannon and I took off to enjoy the weather and sites. Of course our first stop had to be the Eiffel Tower.
We walked around, took our pictures, ate crepes and hotdogs and then made sure to go by other sites, did some souvineer shopping and then decided to find a park and enjoy a cafe and people watch. We talked and gabbed and just had a ball when we planned to walk back to car and go see the sites at night. Well...our plans got a little delayed.
As we walked up to our car, we quickly realized we were not leaving anytime soon. As you can see police were involved, they tried to push cars out, bump back and forth and there wasn't any luck. Two hours later and 4 desserts, 5 Jameson, 2 espressos, a Coke and a milkshake were great time killers. We sat at the most hospitable cafe and enjoyed the night while waiting for the bad Mercedes driver. All things happen for a reason because it was wonderful to sit, relax and enjoy the company.
Not sure where the wind will take us tomorrow. We don't have anything planned so who knows where we will end up. But will try and share when can!
Lots of love,
I once had a friend post that I did a great job "adulting", and that may have been one of my most favorite things. I took it as I embrace my life as an adult and enjoy it! Well, not too many could say they started out their birthday in Amsterdam and finished it in Paris! I am enjoying this adult life thing.
We landed in Amsterdam on Thursday and have had an absolutely wonderful time having nothing that we had to do. We shopped a few open air markets which is one of our favorite things which we love. We have had amazing food and some of the best people watching ever! 😜
Last night we went to dinner in a little area of Amsterdam that is two blocks of street blocked off, so the street is packed with people!! And, then tend to be very entertaining since quite drunk and quite stoned. So we love to find a table with chairs to sit back and enjoy. You see all kinds of things!
We ended our night by stopping in a city square that was full of entertainment. We found a wonderful bar that had outside seating and it was game night. After Shannon trying to teach me backgammon, unsuccessfully since she couldn't remember how to play, we switched to cards and had a ball. Gorgeous weather, great people watching, and playing cards when it hit my birthday here. I told Shannon this was the best way to celebrate because I got 7 extra hours for my birthday celebration!
We are currently on the road to Paris to spend the evening there. Small world that friends of ours that have played Serendipity happen to be touring here and are playing this evening. So we are looking forward to that and enjoying some great music.
Have loved and appreciated all the birthday wishes. You know how to make a girl feel loved...
The children on bikes and motorcycles here is just crazy! I captured a few fun pictures...from cart with kids on way from from school, mom holding up kids head while he was out cold in car seat, and three year olds riding scooters.