Thursday, February 25, 2010

Time To Finish Up These Europe Posts: Antwerp

Sorry, folks, I've been terrible about finishing up the Europe blog posts.  I've been home for nearly a month now, and need to post pictures and commentary from Belgium and France.  I guess reality hits when you get home from such an amazing trip and there is a gigantic pile of catch-up work waiting for you, and suddenly a blog doesn't seem so important.  Now that I'm feeling a bit more caught up, I'd like to finish the Euro-tour off, starting with Antwerp...

After my two day "vacation" in Amsterdam, I caught a train into Belgium, as I was playing the next two nights in that lovely country.  First off was Antwerp, the former diamond capital of the world, where I was playing a house concert series called "What's Cooking In Jeruzalem?", which usually takes place in Ghent.  The hosts were nice enough to move some things around for me and it was an extremely well-run and attended concert.  A wonderful listening crowd and one of my favorite gigs on the tour.

The next morning my new Belgian friends Attila and Ruben showed me around the city before it was time to move on.  Here are some of the pictures from that excursion...

Antwerp's train station, probably the most interesting and beautiful station I have been in anywhere in Europe.

A champagne bar in a shopping center in downtown Antwerp.  Notice: its shaped like a champagne glass.

A giant hand.  More specifically, a giant's hand.  More specifically, the giant was Antigone, and he was the scourge of Antwerp until someone cut off his hand.

A downtown cathedral and town square.

Really dig these old row houses that you see in Belgium.  Most seem to be from the 17th century, and I saw many more in Ghent.  Coming soon...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tour Break in Amsterdam

After my last gigs in Germany (Hamburg), I had a two-night break before the next gigs in Belgium.  One major city was perfectly situated for a couple nights off, between Hamburg and Antwerp: Amsterdam.

I stayed at a hostel in Amsterdam, my first one in many weeks, and it was located in the Red Light District, with coffeeshops, headshops, and prostitutes galore.  Its actually not that seedy of a Red Light District, though, except for the streets where prostitutes actually sit in windows and make faces at you, that was pretty damn seedy.

A monument to remember the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam during World War II.

One of Amsterdam's many canals, with a tour boat zipping along.  Some call Amsterdam the "Venice of the North".  I call it not nearly as warm, but at least not sinking.

Some cheap rental homes on the canal.

I really enjoyed the charming, seemingly slapped together homes that line the canals.